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I was watching a Jacques Pepin video on steak and pan sauce. In it, he mentions that having a pan with good heat transfer is important to make sure your fond doesn't burn, but instead crystallises.

In line with this, conventional wisdom (reading forum posts) seems to say that not having high enough heat will mess up fond production.

I'm trying to wrap my head around why exactly this is. Does any one have some kind of mechanistic insight behind why bad heat transfer can cause your fond to burn, instead of glaze?

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  • Are you referring to burning when the food is cooked, or burning after deglazing? It's best to make the question self-contained. – Mark Wildon Oct 17 '20 at 10:52
  • Burning while cooking. I'm interested in making the fond, the step before deglazing. Should I remove the deglazing tag? It wasn't clear to me what tags would be appropriate for such a question. – RTbecard Oct 17 '20 at 10:56
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I think it's a simple as bad heat transfer often meaning uneven heat transfer, leading to burning. Burnt fond won't deglaze successfully. Compare deglazing with making a roux: in both cases you want the proteins and starches to be browned (by the Malliard reaction and caramelization) but not burnt.

When making fond you want relatively high heat to promote these reactions and avoid the food (particularly some watery vegetables) from just sitting there in a lightly steaming puddle.

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  • That makes a lot of sense. I just misunderstood the context in which Pepin was using the phrase heat transfer. I think that thick french accent in the video was throwing me off! – RTbecard Oct 17 '20 at 11:44

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