21
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the purpose of using ping pong balls on top of a Sous Vide Bath?

I recently saw a picture of expert Douglas Baldwin with his sous vide equipment in this article. One of his immersion circulator baths was covered with ping pong balls. What is the purpose of ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Does water that's been left to sit and then reboiled taste different from fresh water boiled once?

This may sound like a silly question, but I've always wondered: If I boil some water and use some of it and leave the remainder in the kettle, and then a few days later boil that same water again, ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Shaken, not stirred…but why?

Most people are probably familiar with line from James Bond, "Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred." What I have never figured out is "why would it make a difference?" I have tried making martinis both ...
21
votes
2answers
751 views

What is the chemical process behind the way you cook a risotto?

Cooking risotto seems to differ from regular rice in two important ways: you stir the risotto regularly you only introduce liquid a little bit at a time What is the effect of these two steps ...
21
votes
3answers
974 views

What research is there on tea preparation?

I'm a fan of modernist cooking, and its emphasis on precise measurements and consistency. I'm curious how to apply this to tea preparation - in particular, several things: It seems to be well ...
21
votes
3answers
83k views

How do I know if food left at room temperature is still safe to eat?

If I left food out of the refrigerator for some period of time, is it still safe? If I left it out too long, can I salvage it by cooking it more?
20
votes
16answers
4k views

Books that explain the science of cooking?

I have been cooking for a while now, but its mostly what I picked up watching others cook. I usually experiment with ingredients, try out a few things, and learn from there. In short, there is nothing ...
20
votes
11answers
2k views

How might I roast coffee at home without investing in an expensive roasting machine?

Tired of the bland supermarket beans and too poor to sate my thirst at the local roaster, so I've ordered 20lbs of green coffee beans online... But, now what do I need to do to turn them into The ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Honey changing into unusable, hardened clump

I buy raw, unfiltered honey from the grocery store in jars sold/packed directly by the farmer. When I had used the last jar to about half, I noticed the honey beginning to dry(crystalize?) to the ...
20
votes
6answers
9k views

Cure for burns from hot peppers / capsicum oil?

So, I foolishly ignored advice about wearing gloves while handling hot peppers. I thought since they were "just" anaheim peppers I'd be fine... I was wrong, and I repent. Does anyone know of a way ...
20
votes
10answers
8k views

How do you cook grass-fed beef so it is not tough?

I recently went to a farmers market and bought some grass-fed beef. I went with what we normally buy, and got a couple of bone-in thick cut ribeye. I typically prepare this by liberally applying ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How does one invent a cookie recipe?

My cookbook has dozens of cookie recipes and I can find hundreds more online. But... If I want to invent my own cookie recipes how can I go about doing it, without wasting tons of ingredients on ...
20
votes
5answers
13k views

Ways to learn to season food correctly?

What is a good way of learning how to season food correctly? Are there some foods which are particularly bland until seasoned correctly that can be used to 'educate' your palate as to what is ...
20
votes
11answers
101k views

How long should I keep a cut onion?

Since I only cook for one or two, I will tend to buy an onion and only use part of it, and then keep the rest in the fridge. Sometimes it will be a while before I use the rest. Is there any guidance ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Does the “German” in “German chocolate cake” refer to the chocolate or the cake?

A friend insists that the "chocolate" is the German part of German chocolate cake, the evidence being that there are no palm trees in Germany (for the coconut frosting). Is this correct?
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Buttermilk substitute?

I've got a recipe that calls for some buttermilk, but none on-hand. Is there some way I could use some common ingredient(s) as a substitute?
20
votes
11answers
27k views

Should tomatoes be stored in the fridge?

Storing tomatoes in the fridge tends to make them last a bit longer, but I've heard that the flavor is negatively affected. What is the best way to store them?
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Cutting boards: What are some general tips on purchasing and using a cutting board?

I have heard various debates on the merits of wood versus synthetic cutting boards, and their affect on food safety, knife edges, and ease of cleaning and storage. What are the pros and cons of the ...
20
votes
7answers
13k views

Does adding salt help water boil faster?

I've always heard adding salt to water makes it boil faster. Is this true? If so, why? If not, why do people do it?
20
votes
10answers
21k views

Does kimchi go bad?

I bought some kimchi a few weeks ago, ate half the jar, and then forgot about it. I found it in my fridge yesterday and tried it. It tastes the same, but there isn't a date stamped on the jar. Does it ...
20
votes
4answers
43k views

Is it normal to see flames inside my self-cleaning oven?

I spilled some sauce, cheese, and pepperoni in the oven last night while trying to transfer some homemade pizza from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone, so I decided to clean it today. I wiped the ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Achieving perfection via manual drip-brew coffee method

Every time I make coffee it seems to taste different, and I've found there is a lot more room for error with the manual drip-brew method than using a Moka coffee maker or an automatic drip-brewer. ...
20
votes
8answers
20k views

How warm must dough be in order to rise?

While making some focaccia this afternoon, my wife said, "sure the house is 'warm'; it'll be fine." One hour later, no rising. It may be worth noting that our house is 66F. So we stuck it in a warm ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you properly clean a cutting board and knife to prevent cross contamination?

I have one very nice cutting board that I like to use with my chef's knife. Because I only use this single cutting board and chef's knife, if I have a recipe that calls for cutting raw meat as well ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it possible to preserve color in steamed vegetables?

When I steam green vegetables, like broccoli, they come out bright green. A few minutes later though, and they have darkened and dulled. Is this a symptom of cooking them for too long or is there some ...
20
votes
9answers
87k views

How to quickly soften brown sugar

I had some brown sugar that didn't get properly sealed and so now it's solid as a rock. What's the quickest way to soften it up and get rid of the clumps? Folks have suggested leaving an apple with ...
20
votes
7answers
340k views

What is a substitute for mascarpone cheese?

I've found mascarpone cheese can be pricey. What would be a good (in taste and price) substitute?
20
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the differences between different types of onions, and when do you use them?

I used a recipe for a mean black-eyed-pea salad this past weekend which called for a red onion. Since I wanted extra onion flavor in the salad anyway, I decided to pick up a Vidalia onion to throw in ...
20
votes
3answers
977 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?
20
votes
5answers
3k views

In peanut butter cookies, what is the criss-crossed pattern on the top good for?

I've been making peanut butter cookies, but skipping the step of pressing the top of the cookie down with a fork. What does this step do for the cookies?
20
votes
5answers
19k views

Does microwaving destroy nutrients in food?

After answering this article, I did some research on microwaving killing vitamins and nutrients in food. I very quickly learned that this is a touchy subject, even among nutritionists, and nobody (at ...
20
votes
3answers
802 views

When, if ever, are dried herbs preferable to fresh herbs?

Sometimes I see a recipe call for dried herbs. If I have access to fresh herbs, should I go fresh instead? Is there any benefit in using dried herbs with some recipes?
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How does the way that I cut my garlic affect the taste of my food?

I've seen recipes that called for coarsely chopped garlic and recipes that called for finely chopped or minced garlic. What affect does that cut have on the final taste of my dish? What about crushed ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the purpose of seasoning a skillet?

I've seen a couple questions on how to season a skillet, and this may be a dumb question, but why do you season a skillet? Does it impart flavor onto the food? For how long? (which I guess is one ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I ensure that pita forms a nice big, even pocket when baking?

I have the opposite problem as Amir's question about thick, fluffy pitas. Whenever I make pita, it's nice and thick and fluffy, but the pocket is small or nonexistent. I would like to use my pita for ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

What causes water to boil over?

What are the mechanics of water boiling over? How can you stop it from happening? Is it more likely to happen with certain ingredients? Which? How does the amount of water effect the likelihood of ...
20
votes
3answers
13k views

Why would I use Arrowroot instead of Cornstarch?

I've heard that arrowroot can be used just like cornstarch as a thickening agent. If I have both ingredients on hand, under what circumstances would I choose one over the other?
20
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I freeze roux?

Is it possible to prepare a (large) batch of roux and then freeze it, or will the texture and flavour be destroyed in the process?
19
votes
10answers
3k views

How do I separate egg white?

What are ways of getting only the egg white from an egg? Can it be done after the yolk is broken?
19
votes
12answers
11k views

How do I flip an egg when preparing it “over easy”?

I tend to break a lot of yolks when preparing eggs over easy. I also can't do it too fast, making it hard to cook multiple eggs at once (they tend to overcook). Sometimes the spatula I'm using ...
19
votes
8answers
13k views

Proper ratio of Water to Rice

When making rice, what is the proper ratio of water that I should use?
19
votes
9answers
24k views

transfer pizza onto stone without sticking

After I have made my pizza and put the toppings onto it, I find that I am unable to transfer the pizza on to the pizza stone in the oven. When I try to do it the pizza goes out of shape, gets folded, ...
19
votes
3answers
28k views

What happens when you mix whiskey and water?

It is sometimes said that to best experience the flavor and aroma of a good whiskey (or whisky), one ought to add a bit of water. This practice is said to release flavors somehow. Is there any truth ...
19
votes
10answers
17k views

What can you surmise about coffee beans that have oil on them at the time of purchase?

I find myself favoring the purchase of coffee beans that have visible oil on them. My inference was that this bean had some extra flavor or awesomeness. Am I right, are beans 'better' if they are ...
19
votes
12answers
56k views

Is there a substitute for tahini in hummus?

If I don't have tahini is there anything similar to use to make hummus?
19
votes
2answers
12k views

Why did my Turkey Stock turn into gelatin?

We took our left-over turkey carcass and parts and simmered them for a few hours with water in a pot with some herbs and veggies. After removing the solids, and separating the fat, we placed it in ...
19
votes
12answers
2k views

Timing cooking: methods / workflow

I'm looking for methods to improve timing or workflow during cooking. How to multi-task effectively, getting the maximal amount of differing dishes on the table, for each course, etc. A multitasking / ...
19
votes
11answers
207k views

How to make extra crispy and crunchy breading like KFC?

I'm wondering how I would go about making extra crispy chicken breading like they do at many places like KFC and the like. Is there a certain ingredient that makes the breading like that? Any ...
19
votes
9answers
6k views

Can raw eggs be frozen?

If raw eggs are nearing their expiry date, can they be preserved in the freezer? Would there be any issues with them after taking them out of the freezer?
19
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it worth tearing lettuce for salad?

I have read that cut lettuce is more likely to brown on the edges than torn lettuce. The stated reasoning is that the lettuce leaves will tear between cell boundaries whereas if they are cut the cells ...

15 30 50 per page