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

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0answers
25 views

Why don't other grain proteins behave like gluten?

There are many excellent explanations here (and elsewhere) of what gluten "does." What I haven't seen anywhere is an explanation of what makes gluten so special. Where do its marvelous elastic ...
2
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1answer
144 views

What makes lye food grade?

I've been looking around for lye to make pretzels and found few solutions for food grade lye. I want to continue using lye in my baking and would like to make my own lye going forward. The process ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Why commercial gummies do not melt?

I've noticed that commercial gummies do not melt, even when they are left in the sun, while home made gummies melt even at room temperatures sometimes. What is the secret ingredient? Sugar?
6
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3answers
3k views

what makes red tomato sauce turn orange in colour?

I have noticed that tomato sauce (having started with deep red tomatoes) can turn orange. The colour change isn't from mixing in an ingredient of different colour such as cream. It seems to occur in ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

When do you hear the Ping sound of the lid sealing?

I am new to canning. I made applesauce this morning and I pulled them out of the water bath and put them on a towel on my counter to seal, but I never heard the "ping" sound of them sealing shut. When ...
5
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3answers
895 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 ...
11
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7answers
18k views

Why doesn't chocolate go bad?

After all it has oil and sugar in it. Why doesn't bacteria love it? Thanks!
7
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5answers
1k views

How do I stop my pans boiling over?

Yesterday the wife and I decided to boil some potatoes in a normal non-stick pan. We added salt, potatoes and boiling water. We put this on an electric hob, with no lid at maximum heat (marked at ...
4
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1answer
145 views

What is bearnaise sauce thickened by?

As from the title, what is Bearnaise sauce thickened by? There are a few different ingredients in bearnaise sauce that helps in thickening such as egg yolks, but how is it thickened and what other ...
3
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1answer
100 views

How does irradiated beef spoil?

So I usually buy irradiated beef. From what I understand, the beef is packaged, sealed, and the absolutely blasted with radiation. I'm a nuclear engineer for a living, so I know that most things ...
4
votes
1answer
31k views

What causes curdling and how can you prevent it?

Some sauces are more at risk to curdle than others. What exactly (ingredients, techniques, temperature...) causes this curdling? What can you do to have the curdling risk at minimum? I'm not asking ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a Miracle Thaw work?

Miracle Thaws are utensils for rapidly thawing foods. Put an ice cube on one and it melts before your eyes, yet the whole thing stays cool to the touch. How do they work? (Inspired by this ...
11
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2answers
1k 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
86 views

Does the freshness of the ingredient impact the longevity of the cooked dish?

Using ingredients that aren't fresh will generally negatively impact the flavor of the dish, but does it impact how long the cooked dish will last before it goes bad? For example, if I make two pots ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

steam oven vs conventional oven

I am in a debate as to whether diced, marinated pork shoulder cooked in a vacuum bag in a regular conventional oven gives the same result as the same pork, cooked in a steam oven. The bagged pork had ...
2
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2answers
73 views

What is the purpose of heating agar powder

Is agar powder heated so that it will form a gel when it is cooled? if not then what is the purpose of boiling it?
3
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3answers
3k views

Why does broccoli turn brown when steaming?

I steam my broccoli until it's 'al dente' and some buds turn brown. I've done a small search, but haven't found anything. I'm thinking maybe the steam is too hot or I'm steaming too long. What do ...
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4answers
4k views

What alternative gelling agents can I use for jam and marmalade?

Rather than using natural pectin from the fruit being used or added pectin I am looking for an alternative setting/gelling agent that will enable me to get more jam from my two principle ingredients ...
35
votes
12answers
12k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Why is it that caramel sauce should not be stirred after it has boiled?

The internet says swirling is fine, but not stirring. Why is that so?
42
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2answers
42k views

Why can applesauce be used in place of oil?

In many recipes, mostly desserts, it is suggested that you can substitute oil with applesauce to reduce the fat content. But why applesauce? Is there something special about applesauce or are there ...
12
votes
2answers
8k views

What does beating eggs actually do (chemically speaking)?

When I look at a lot of recipes, any eggs usually have to be beaten before they're added. If it's all going to be mixed anyway (and well, in dough for example) is it really necessary?
21
votes
3answers
20k views

How does a splash of vinegar help when poaching eggs?

What does splashing in a shot of white vinegar to the simmering water do when poaching an egg? Is it for taste or is it supposed to react in some way with the albumen?
6
votes
2answers
149 views

Is sugar a thickening agent?

Is sugar a thickening agent? Palm sugar for instance? Let's say if sugar has a role in thickening liquid then how does it do it?
2
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2answers
111 views

Why doesn't my caramel sauce thicken?

The actual measurement of the caramel sauce is 50g sugar : 20g water. I divided it to 17g of sugar to 7g of water, but after following the necessary procedures the mixture doesn't boil, and nor does ...
37
votes
8answers
55k 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?
2
votes
4answers
15k views

What are the functions of vinegar in cooking?

I have used vinegar for flavor as a substitute for salt and noticed that it is used in salads, not sure why perhaps as preserver/flavour. But I have never realized that it could be used in much more ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Why should I use garlic making roasted potatoes?

A recipe of roasted potatoes calls for some garlic to be put in the oven with potatoes that are covered with salt and black/red pepper and rosemary. I don't understand what's the role of garlic here, ...
5
votes
2answers
283 views

Is it okay to throw the food, collected in the mesh in the sink, down the drain, if it doesn't contain plastic? [closed]

We know all food is organic (made of carbon). So if we throw organic stuff down the drain, it should get decomposed by bacteria and shrink. So why should we be worried about blockages if all the food ...
33
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5answers
31k views

Why does a brown paper bag speed ripening?

I often see this technique suggested as a way to speed ripening. Why does it? Also, is there any data available on how fast it ripens comparatively?
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Lemon dill sauce broke [duplicate]

When making a lemon dill sauce will limited ingredients due to Lenten restrictions, we found the sauce broke after simmering. The sauce was vegetable stock with lemon juice then thickened with a roux ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Is carob bean cooked when used as a thickener?

Many yoghurts contain carob bean gum as a thickener. Does anyone know if this is raw or cooked carob bean ?
18
votes
1answer
5k views

Garlic turning green?

When I try to make garlic bread or, in general, something where the garlic is not in a liquid, it sometimes turns green while cooking! It's worth noting that the taste doesn't seem to really be "off", ...
4
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
518 views

looking for edible paper

At some point I came across some edible paper. I don't know which company makes it or where to find it? I think I recall that it was possible to write on it. I encountered it back in the '80's. ...
2
votes
5answers
2k 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. AB recommends 3 cups of water for ~25 mins and then (1/2 cup of milk + 1/2 cup ...
20
votes
3answers
998 views

How can I tell whether an egg has been hard-boiled, through the shell?

At my workplace, there's a mysterious carton of eggs in the common refrigerator. Nobody I've asked knows whether they're raw or cooked. Is there a way to tell, without cracking one of the eggs open?
1
vote
2answers
265 views

How do I make instant chocolate powder from a chocolate bar?

I like the flavour of a certain brand of chocolate, is there a method to turn a chocolate bar into instant chocolate powder so I can quickly create a hot chocolate from it? I am aware I can make a hot ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Why or why not beat an egg before adding?

When adding an entire raw egg at the same point in a recipe (not separating the yolk and white), what determines whether it should first be beaten, or dropped in whole? I've seen some recipes call for ...
4
votes
2answers
3k 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?
3
votes
4answers
5k views

What are best practices for using Yoghurt as a Marinade?

I'm cooking for 30, Lamb Chops are on the menu and I want to do them in a Yogurt Marinade. I've done Yogurt Marinades with mixed results and I wonder if there are some best practices? specifically: ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Any cooking literature recommendation? [closed]

Salutation Seasoned Advice community. I'm just a college student learning how to cook. I wanted to check out some cooking books to expand my horizon in developing flavor and cooking techniques. I ...
96
votes
9answers
42k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
1
vote
3answers
395 views

Garlic Overflow — Why won't my olive oil stay in its jug?

I'm the kind of chef who chops up whatever the local bazaar has that week, adds a random amount of seasonings until the color suits my fancy and then cooks it. Somehow. Most days I don't go hungry. ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I cook with bay leaves?

I am an amateur hobbyist cook. So a lot of the time I will toss in a dash of something, taste the dish, and add a bit more. Experimenting sometimes with disastrous results... but I learn :) One spice ...
15
votes
2answers
977 views

What is the science behind Magic Cake?

Magic Cake has a seemingly simple batter, that is mixed and baked as a single entity. (See link for the full recipe and method). When it is baked, it separates into three distinct layers: A dense ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
25k views

How to make puffed/popped rice?

Is it possible to make puffed rice at home like the rice used in breakfast cereals? I have a hot air popcorn maker and have experimented with that with little success. I imagine the problem is to do ...
1
vote
1answer
72 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?
4
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4answers
3k 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 ?