All about the scientific theories behind food. Cooking myths debunked here.

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17
votes
7answers
5k views

Can food be boiled “extra fast/hard” in water?

Once water is boiling you can either leave the heat on quite high, or turn it down a bit so that it just keeps boiling. Apart from extra water vaporating, does this have any effect on the taste of ...
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Why does food spoil in the freezer?

Many recipes suggest storing perishable food, such as left-over chicken stock, in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Why could one not store it frozen for longer, surely bacteria and mould cannot grow ...
0
votes
1answer
101 views

How to have my solar system stick that would be edible

I am doing a solar system project in my science bell. I have the choice to make edible food. So I wanted to make cookies for the solar system. Here's the problem, I can get all the colors I need with ...
-1
votes
1answer
47 views

Which factors determine the absorption levels of foods? [on hold]

I wonder if there are some general rules for primary food groups (meat, veggies) that a cook can use to increase/decrease the amount of oil, water, and other compounds uptaken by the target ingredient ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Do pan “pores” exist, what are they, and what are their effects?

There are a number of common cooking lore techniques which revolve around the idea of "pores" in the surface of a pan. Two of the ones I've heard most often: (1) When heating a pan where sticking is ...
5
votes
1answer
307 views

Does cooking nopales with a copper coin actually neutralize the mucilage, and if so, why?

While looking around at different ways of cooking nopales and okra that dealt with the mucilage, I found a few references to cooking nopales with a copper coin. Some people seem uncertain whether it's ...
14
votes
5answers
21k views

How does soaking liver in milk work?

Soaking liver in milk is said to be a common technique that supposedly helps to remove impurities, softens flavour, and tenderises the liver. I tried it, and the liver turned out alright, but it got ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did my soy (Silk) milk suddenly become as viscous as rubber cement?

I used about half of a quart of Silk Milk and returned it to my refrigerator. Two days later the remaining liquid had been replaced with a colloidal mass with a gooey consistency not unlike rubber ...
2
votes
3answers
551 views

Can the duration of the whistle determine if food inside a pressure cooker is cooked

Building upon this question, I was wondering if the duration of the whistle can be used to determine if the food inside a pressure cooker is cooked. As suggested by a couple of answers in the ...
14
votes
1answer
9k views

Why don't dry bread crumbs spoil, when bread does?

Why don't store-bought bread crumbs spoil? Can you make your own bread crumbs and save them for later use? Will homemade breadcrumbs mold?
2
votes
1answer
775 views

Liquid glucose in marshmallows

What does liquid glucose do for a marshmallow? Has anyone replaced liquid glucose with golden syrup or any other syrup for that matter? What are the effects of using alternatives for marshmallows? I ...
2
votes
2answers
248 views

Does soaking dry beans before cooking prevent flatulence?

There are all kinds of opinions on whether or not soaking beans helps decrease flatulence. Some say adding things like baking soda, lemon juice, salt, or other things to the bath helps the effect. ...
25
votes
2answers
8k views

Resources that explain the science of cooking?

I have been cooking for a while now, but its mostly what I picked up watching others cook. Now, I am an engineer by profession, and it seems there ought to be a reason for cooking food the way it is ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Sweet and Sour?

In comments related to this question, there was discussion about pH, fructose concentration, what compounds a fruit contains, etc. influencing or determining "flavor". Much more recently, I had a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it incorrect when someones says you can lower acidity with sweetness?

It is commonly known that if your food is too acidic, you lower the acidity of the food by adding something sweet. Is this correct? Acidity can me measured by pH. Does the sweet actually raise the ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Will meat taste okay if I cook it in a pan where the leftover fond seems burned?

I have found that after 2 batches of chicken breasts, the fond is in the pan for enough time to start burning, so the third batch gets a little black and starts to taste burned. Does it mean that I ...
1
vote
1answer
178 views

Can you live indefinitely on bread? [closed]

I just watched the third episode of the Netflix documentary, "Cooked". In this episode, Michael Pollan quotes Bruce German a food scientist as UC Davis as saying, one could live for a while on wheat ...
37
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do tomatoes get so hot?

Ever noticed how certain foods seem to get a lot hotter than others? I almost never burn my tongue or mouth... except on tomatoes; Pizza sauce, tomatoes in panini sandwiches or spaghetti sauce. ...
6
votes
4answers
928 views

How do you season and cook to palates and preferences different than yours?

Often times the dishes I am the most disappointed with end up being a hit with my family. It is almost as if our tastes contrast each other. Given that, how can I cook something that appeases a ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

Why do my egg whites separate after whipping?

Every time I try to whip egg whites, I seem to end up with the same problem. After a good bit of strenuous beating with the whisk, the egg whites finally reach the "firm peak" stage. I then go grab ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Light vs Dark Brown Sugar

Is there a practical difference between light and dark brown sugar? I ask because I've seen many recipes specify one or the other. Do they really behave differently in some way?
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Cure #1 in Brine for Brisket

I'm trying for the first time to cure a second cut brisket (1.8 lbs.) to make pastrami (after curing the meat I will smoke it and then steam it). I followed a recipe from the Stanley Marianski book ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Coffee foam vs. Tea foam

One sign of really good fresh well-roasted coffee beans is foam. When you pour hot water into the French press, it foams, often forming a head up to 2" high. And when you use an espresso machine, ...
5
votes
2answers
566 views

Baking soda accident in pretzel dough - Can it be salvaged?

I made a mistake and put the baking soda in the pretzel dough! Instead of using it for its intended purpose ( Boiling the pretzel dough in it before baking.) It was a box mix: Pretzel Creations ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Why my meatballs sweated all of their fat?

I have made simple meatballs with red onions, some eggs, drizzle of olive oil and chopped scallions. Put them into the oven at 220c (440f) and this is what came out: They sweated all of their fat ...
4
votes
3answers
922 views

When making fried rice, how does the amount of heat affect the taste of the food?

This answer talks about the amount of heat required for cooking fried rice which tastes similar to restaurants. I want to understand the science behind it. Please explain.
127
votes
11answers
77k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Commercial Sponge Cake Improver?

Many years ago (35+) my grandmother received a container of a 'sponge cake improver' from a family member whom was a commercial baker. She describes it as looking like a thick amber liquid or paste. ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

Does placing a metal spoon in an open bottle of sparkling wine (etc.. .) help keep its fizz?

Does placing a metal spoon in an open bottles of bubbles, sparkling wine & Champagne help keep its fizz ? If so why is this ?
9
votes
2answers
7k views

What determines how well cheese melts

I have had my fair share of eating cheese and experimenting with them. Sometimes they come out heavenly while other times, it turn out to be a huge flop. Usually when it flops, it's because I am ...
5
votes
0answers
147 views

Making pork pernil, and had a slight “lasagna battery” issue - is it safe to eat?

I am in the process of making the cook's illustrated recipe for pork pernil. For the first hour, you heat marinated pork at 450, covered tightly in a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Lo, pulling it ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do microwave ovens make bread rubbery?

Why does heating bread (cinnamon buns) in a microwave give it a rubbery texture, when a regular oven doesn't? What are the chemical or structural changes?
7
votes
1answer
6k views
0
votes
3answers
390 views

How to cook the food such that no acrylamide is formed?

How to cook the food such that Maillard reaction doesn't form acrylamide? http://sciencefare.org/2011/06/01/maillard-reaction/ When food is cooked quickly at a high temperature, the Maillard ...
57
votes
7answers
121k views

Cooking away alcohol

When you cook with wine or spirits, when does the alcohol cook away? Obviously high temperatures will do it, but how low of temperatures will work? Also, does it vary by the type of alcohol?
7
votes
8answers
12k views

Steel Cut Oats: cooking in milk vs. water

Most of the recipes I've seen (including Good Eats) recommend simmering the oats in 4 cups of liquid for 1 cup of oats. Alton Brown recommends 3 cups of water for ~25 mins and then (1/2 cup of milk + ...
3
votes
2answers
519 views

How do I thicken Advocaat without evaporating any alcohol?

To resurrect an 1-2 year old English Christmas dark fruitcake, I removed the icing and marzipan, infused it liberally with whiskey liqueur - then cut it into cubes. I then served it with cocktail ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

Bubbles on the Noodle surface

I observe lots of bubbles on the noodle surface after frying. What causes this and how can I control it?
23
votes
8answers
42k views

Will spoiled food always make you sick?

Kind of a strange question, but say something has spoiled, i.e. smells bad, tastes bad, etc. Will it actually always make you sick? Like for instance spoiled dressing, let's say it tastes sour, ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Why would pumpkin pie form a clear custard layer?

My PA Dutch grandma's pumpkin pie always had a thin layer of custard on the bottom. We have her recipe but none of us has been able to get the filling to separate... Anyone have any idea what might ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Does marinating break down proteins the way brining does?

Brining makes meat tender because the salt (and some sugar) breaks down proteins. Shouldn't a salty/sugary marinade do the same thing?
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there any advantage to adding salt to onion while frying?

Is there any advantage to adding salt to onion while frying itself rather than adding it the last? My friends say it removes moisture from onion. Is it true? Why is removing moisture from onion ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

How do food producers determine expiration dates on products and ingredients?

It is well known that food expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary. For some foods, they are much more important than others -- for example, you can pretty easily tell on your own if milk has gone bad ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

Why do my stored cashews smell like fish?

I have a 30 Oz plastic jar of Roasted, Unsalted Archer Farms Cashew Nuts. I've noticed that after having it 'open' for a week or two (i.e. the lid is tightly screwed onto the jar, but the initial ...
42
votes
13answers
28k views

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Every recipe says I should soak beans in water overnight before cooking. Why? I did some experiments. I have tried soaked and unsoaked beans from the same batch. There was no difference in cooking ...
7
votes
9answers
40k views

What happens if I brine my turkey for 2 days?

I have a logistical problem that leaves me with no fridge room for 2 days before Thanksgiving... I always brine my turkey, so I don't have any questions about that, but typically it's only an 8 - 10 ...
14
votes
10answers
31k views

What causes the difference between Maine and Canadian lobsters?

In a first-season episode of the US TV show Kitchen Nightmares, the well-known chef Gordon Ramsay states that there's a "big difference [in] taste and flavor" between Maine lobsters and Canadian ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Adjusting protien pH before cooking

Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for Sichuan pork where pork tenderloin is marinated for 15 mins in a baking soda solution (1t NaHCO3/ 8T H2O) and then rinsed before cooking. The goal being to raise ...
0
votes
2answers
618 views

Does whole milk or soy milk spoil faster? Why?

I'm doing a science fair project and I need some help. My question is does whole milk or soy milk spoil faster? Does anyone know which one spoils faster or if they spoil at the same rate? Please ...
0
votes
2answers
120 views

What made my pancakes taste fizzy?

I made pancakes a couple times recently, and they had a strange reaction to some frozen raspberries we had. When we put the raspberries onto the pancakes, they had a strange fizzy and sour taste. We ...