Dry-heat recipes have a variety of options for low-slow vs. high-fast cooking. Techniques like searing, caramelization, smoking, etc. all contribute special characteristics to the end result.

For wet-heat recipes (steaming, poaching, boiling), would there be any such differences? As long as the food is properly controlled for internal and external temperature, does the process used affect texture, taste or appearance?

I can think of a few differences for delicate foods, where vigorous boiling would destroy the texture. But that seems to be more of a control and timing issue.

3 Answers 3


Not sure I understood your question correctly.

Yes there are differences. 1)soups and stocks. If you boil a chicken soup in will end up cloudy. If you simmer it will be clear.

2)rice. The proper way to make rice is to get it up to heat then cook covered on low heat. If you were to boil, the outsides would be destroyed/mushy and the insides would still be hard. I'm sure there are many other examples


Low and slow wet heat methods such as braising and confit give meats a fork-tender, fall-apart texture. Perfect for cuts with lots of connective tissue to break down. Fast, high-heat techniques would result in tough, chewy meat.


Having much water movement (rolling boil) vs very little of it (simmer) potentially influences speed of heat transfer: A piece of food, added cold, will cool down still water around it until convection replaces it. At a rolling boil, water will be moved around it quickly anyway, resupplying hot water (and heat) almost instantly. If there is already an equilibrium around 100°C (everything is at the same temperature inside the pot), rate of heat transfer still has an influence on how water inside the food will behave - if more energy is supplied, this water too will turn to steam more rapidly (with various side effects).

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