Real world example: when I thaw frozen meat in 5L of warm water vs 20L of cold water, it thaws roughly in the same time for me (note, the warm water is not kept warm) - Which I guess means that the same amount of thermal energy is transferred to the meat over an equal time period. Does it make a difference for the freshness of the meat if I thaw it in warm water vs cold water, if it takes in the same thermal energy over the same time period? And do the bacteria that make it go bad care more about absolute temperature, or thermal energy?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems more about physics or biology (of bacteria) than cooking.
    – Erica
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 13:24
  • 1
    Bugs just care about temperature and time. I would go with the 20L of cold water.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 13:42
  • 1
    @Erica What's cooking if not biology and physics?
    – user48884
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 14:16
  • I don't think this is off topic for the forum, but I do believe it is, in essence, a duplicate. We have several questions/answers on thawing. Microbial growth is influenced by temperature, pH, oxygen (or lack thereof), nutrients for the microbes, to name a few significant variables. Temperature is probably the most important.
    – moscafj
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 14:47
  • also cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/36999/…
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 15:06


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