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Cooking Techniques

may 15, 2020 Sean


Cooking is the process of preparing food by combining and heating the ingredients in different ways.

There are many, many ways to cook, and the techniques used to cook a meal have nearly as much of an impact on the final product as the ingredients themselves. However, some techniques are tried and true, and these are the ones we’re most interested in.

Here is a list of the main cooking techniques grouped into dry and wet methods:

Dry Heat Cooking

Dry heat cooking involves cooking food in an oven, on a dry and hot surface, or over an open flame. It uses conduction or convection, typically at 300°F or higher.

This method of cooking browns the exterior of food, adding delicious caramelization and flavor (think crispy chicken skin and crusty bread).

Methods of dry heat cooking:

1. Baking

Dry cooking of foods that initially lack structure, then become solid during the cooking process (e.g., cakes and muffins).

2. Roasting

Dry cooking of foods that already have a solid structure before the cooking begins (such as meat and vegetables).

Cooking of meat, fish, or other food on a rack, over an open fire, at low temperatures, and usually for a long time. Typically this is done in the outdoors and on special occasions.
Similar to barbecuing, this is the cooking of food on a rack, over an open fire (or on a grill pan or char-broiler), but at high temperatures, and for a short period of time.
Grilling is called broiling when the heat source comes from above, usually an oven element.
Roasting of meat, with the meat skewered and rotated over an open flame or in an enclosed oven.
Cooking the exterior of food at high temperatures until a caramelized outer layer forms.

Moist Heat Cooking

Moist heat cooking involves cooking with moisture — this could be steam, water, stock, wine, etc.

Compared to dry heat cooking, moist heat cooking takes place at much lower temperatures, ranging from 140oF to a maximum of 212oF. This is because of the fact that water cannot get any hotter than that.

Methods of moist heat cooking:

1. Boiling

Cooking of food with liquids at or near their boiling point.

Scalding food (usually fruits or vegetables) in boiling water, removing it after only brief submersion, then plunging it into ice water to halt the cooking process.
Submerging food in a hot liquid, such as water, milk, stock, or wine. This is different from other moist heating techniques in that it uses a relatively low temperature.
Cooking food in a pressure cooker using water or another liquid. It simulates the effects of braising over a shorter time period.
Heating food in water or sauce kept just below its boiling point.
Cooking food using the steam from boiling water.
Soaking solid food in liquid to extract flavors or soften it.
Cooking solid food in a stock or sauce and serving the resulting mixture, or just the gravy.

2. Frying

Cooking food in hot oil or in other heated fats.

Cooking food via complete submersion in hot oil or fat.
Frying in a pan with just enough oil to coat the bottom of it.
Pan frying diced food quickly and at higher temperatures.

Other Techniques

Cooking meat either in its own juices or in a marinade. The meat is left to cook, then periodically coated with the juice.
A combination of both dry and wet cooking. The food is first seared at high temperatures, then finished in a covered pot at lower temperatures in liquid.
Preserving meat using various methods, including salting, drying, and smoking.
Flavoring, browning, or cooking food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material, most often wood.
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