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Thread: What *is* cooking exactly?

  1. #1
    Bill Guest

    Default What *is* cooking exactly?

    What goes on when we "cook" something?

    Background...

    -I modified a potatoes au gratin recipe to have a larger quantity.
    -I learned my oven was heating to the wrong temperature (too low).

    Problem: My potatoes did not "cook"!

    The previous recipe was for a shallow pan and this would "cook" the potatoes
    because the heat from the oven could easily reach the center of the pan.

    But with my large pot of potatoes, the heat obviously is going to take
    longer to reach the center of the pot.

    So the question is: What exactly is "cooking" when you are cooking potatoes?

    With a roast or turkey, you want the center to reach a certain temperature,
    and then it is done. And I assume this is mostly to kill bacteria, however
    it also makes the meat easier to eat.

    So with potatoes, do we want the center of the center potato in a big pot to
    reach a certain temperature and then it is done?

    Or do we want the center of the center potato to reach a certain
    temperature, and then stay at that temperature for a certain amount of time?
    (And it is being at this temperature for a certain time which "cooks" the
    potatoes?)

    Then if that is true, what is the temperature the potatoes should reach
    before setting our "beginning to cook timer"?

    I think my malfunctioning oven was around 325 degrees F. and I baked the
    potatoes for 90 minutes and they never "cooked".

    Then I raised the temperature to around 400 and they quickly began to "cook"
    and become tender!

    So why does 400 work and not 325? What exactly is happening when a potato
    "cooks"?



  2. #2
    Dimitri Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?


    "Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > What goes on when we "cook" something?
    >
    > Background...
    >
    > -I modified a potatoes au gratin recipe to have a larger quantity.
    > -I learned my oven was heating to the wrong temperature (too low).
    >
    > Problem: My potatoes did not "cook"!
    >
    > The previous recipe was for a shallow pan and this would "cook" the
    > potatoes because the heat from the oven could easily reach the center of
    > the pan.
    >
    > But with my large pot of potatoes, the heat obviously is going to take
    > longer to reach the center of the pot.
    >
    > So the question is: What exactly is "cooking" when you are cooking
    > potatoes?
    >
    > With a roast or turkey, you want the center to reach a certain
    > temperature, and then it is done. And I assume this is mostly to kill
    > bacteria, however it also makes the meat easier to eat.
    >
    > So with potatoes, do we want the center of the center potato in a big pot
    > to reach a certain temperature and then it is done?
    >
    > Or do we want the center of the center potato to reach a certain
    > temperature, and then stay at that temperature for a certain amount of
    > time? (And it is being at this temperature for a certain time which
    > "cooks" the potatoes?)
    >
    > Then if that is true, what is the temperature the potatoes should reach
    > before setting our "beginning to cook timer"?
    >
    > I think my malfunctioning oven was around 325 degrees F. and I baked the
    > potatoes for 90 minutes and they never "cooked".
    >
    > Then I raised the temperature to around 400 and they quickly began to
    > "cook" and become tender!
    >
    > So why does 400 work and not 325? What exactly is happening when a potato
    > "cooks"?



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooking
    Cooking is the process of preparing food by applying heat, selecting,
    measuring and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure for producing
    safe and edible food. The process encompasses a vast range of methods, tools
    and combinations of ingredients to alter the flavor, appearance, texture, or
    digestibility of food. Factors affecting the final outcome include the
    variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the
    individual doing the actual cooking.
    The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of the aesthetic,
    agricultural, economic, cultural, social and religious diversity throughout
    the nations, races, creeds and tribes across the globe.
    Applying heat to food usually, though not always, chemically transforms it,
    thus changing its flavor, texture, consistency, appearance, and nutritional
    properties. Methods of cooking that involve the boiling of liquid in a
    receptacle have been practised at least since the 10th millennium BC, with
    the introduction of pottery.


    --
    Dimitri

    Last minute grilled Cardboard :-)

    http://kitchenguide.wordpress.com.


  3. #3
    Phred Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?

    In article <fYBIm.6471$[email protected]>, "Dimitri" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >"Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]..
    >> What goes on when we "cook" something?

    [snip]
    >> Then if that is true, what is the temperature the potatoes should reach
    >> before setting our "beginning to cook timer"?
    >>
    >> I think my malfunctioning oven was around 325 degrees F. and I baked the
    >> potatoes for 90 minutes and they never "cooked".
    >>
    >> Then I raised the temperature to around 400 and they quickly began to
    >> "cook" and become tender!
    >>
    >> So why does 400 work and not 325? What exactly is happening when a potato
    >> "cooks"?


    It's clear that spuds can be cooked at 100C (212F) -- if that weren't
    so, then you couldn't cook them by boiling! But that doesn't say they
    can't be cooked at a lower temperature by longer cooking. (In fact
    people living at high altitude will have encountered this issue and
    have either found longer time is the solution, or they eat their spuds
    raw!

    Cheers, Phred.

    --
    [email protected]D


  4. #4
    Omelet Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Phred) wrote:

    > It's clear that spuds can be cooked at 100C (212F) -- if that weren't
    > so, then you couldn't cook them by boiling! But that doesn't say they
    > can't be cooked at a lower temperature by longer cooking. (In fact
    > people living at high altitude will have encountered this issue and
    > have either found longer time is the solution, or they eat their spuds
    > raw!
    >
    > Cheers, Phred.


    We used to live at 8,000 ft.
    Mom used the pressure cooker a lot! That solves the issue quite well.

    So does a fire pit or BBQ.

    Water may boil at a cooler temperature at high altitude, but a good hot
    fire still produces the same amount of heat. :-)
    --
    Peace! Om

    "Human nature seems to be to control other people until they put their foot down."
    --Steve Rothstein

    Web Albums: <http://picasaweb.google.com/OMPOmelet>
    [email protected]
    Subscribe: [email protected]

  5. #5
    Phred Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?

    In article <[email protected]>, Omelet <[email protected]> wrote:
    >In article <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] (Phred) wrote:
    >
    >> It's clear that spuds can be cooked at 100C (212F) -- if that weren't
    >> so, then you couldn't cook them by boiling! But that doesn't say they
    >> can't be cooked at a lower temperature by longer cooking. (In fact
    >> people living at high altitude will have encountered this issue and
    >> have either found longer time is the solution, or they eat their spuds
    >> raw!
    >>
    >> Cheers, Phred.

    >
    >We used to live at 8,000 ft.
    >Mom used the pressure cooker a lot! That solves the issue quite well.
    >
    >So does a fire pit or BBQ.
    >
    >Water may boil at a cooler temperature at high altitude, but a good hot
    >fire still produces the same amount of heat. :-)


    More or less true. But I decided to give the dry heat process a miss
    as it's a bit too complicated to analyse on a Saturday night. :-)

    Cheers, Phred.

    --
    [email protected]D


  6. #6
    sf Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?

    On Sat, 07 Nov 2009 09:40:38 GMT, [email protected] (Phred)
    wrote:

    >In article <fYBIm.6471$[email protected]>, "Dimitri" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>"Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>news:[email protected]..
    >>> What goes on when we "cook" something?

    >[snip]
    >>> Then if that is true, what is the temperature the potatoes should reach
    >>> before setting our "beginning to cook timer"?
    >>>
    >>> I think my malfunctioning oven was around 325 degrees F. and I baked the
    >>> potatoes for 90 minutes and they never "cooked".
    >>>
    >>> Then I raised the temperature to around 400 and they quickly began to
    >>> "cook" and become tender!
    >>>
    >>> So why does 400 work and not 325? What exactly is happening when a potato
    >>> "cooks"?

    >
    >It's clear that spuds can be cooked at 100C (212F) -- if that weren't
    >so, then you couldn't cook them by boiling! But that doesn't say they
    >can't be cooked at a lower temperature by longer cooking. (In fact
    >people living at high altitude will have encountered this issue and
    >have either found longer time is the solution, or they eat their spuds
    >raw!
    >
    >Cheers, Phred.


    Clearly, the OP has never heard lower heat, longer cooking time. I
    think his *malfunctioning* oven had a lot to do with the problem. He
    has no idea if it was really 325/400 or not, he's just guessing.

    --
    I love cooking with wine.
    Sometimes I even put it in the food.

  7. #7
    Dimitri Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?


    "Phred" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > In article <fYBIm.6471$[email protected]>, "Dimitri"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>"Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>news:[email protected]..
    >>> What goes on when we "cook" something?

    > [snip]
    >>> Then if that is true, what is the temperature the potatoes should reach
    >>> before setting our "beginning to cook timer"?
    >>>
    >>> I think my malfunctioning oven was around 325 degrees F. and I baked the
    >>> potatoes for 90 minutes and they never "cooked".
    >>>
    >>> Then I raised the temperature to around 400 and they quickly began to
    >>> "cook" and become tender!
    >>>
    >>> So why does 400 work and not 325? What exactly is happening when a
    >>> potato
    >>> "cooks"?

    >
    > It's clear that spuds can be cooked at 100C (212F) -- if that weren't
    > so, then you couldn't cook them by boiling! But that doesn't say they
    > can't be cooked at a lower temperature by longer cooking. (In fact
    > people living at high altitude will have encountered this issue and
    > have either found longer time is the solution, or they eat their spuds
    > raw!
    >
    > Cheers, Phred.
    >
    > --
    > [email protected]D


    Oil does not change temperature because of altitude :-) French (Freedom)
    fries.
    --
    Dimitri

    Last minute grilled Cardboard :-)

    http://kitchenguide.wordpress.com.


  8. #8
    Phred Guest

    Default Re: What *is* cooking exactly?

    In article <XIiJm.1867$[email protected]>, "Dimitri" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >

    [snip]
    >
    >Oil does not change temperature because of altitude :-) French (Freedom)
    >fries.


    If the boiling point of oil doesn't change with pressure where you
    are, there's something wrong with your universe. :-)

    Cheers, Phred.

    --
    [email protected]D


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