The Heat Is On – Part 1

Picture of thermometersCooking is a process of applying heat to a food item.

But, what temperature should you use?

This is a very hard question to answer, because of the infinite variables experienced during cooking.

However, here are some brief rules to help guide you to cooking success:

  •  To start with, most countries use the temperature scale of Celsius (symbol oC). A few countries, such as the United States still use the Fahrenheit scale (symbol oF), which is vastly different. Be careful when following recipes from an overseas recipe as you may need to convert it.
  • In my experience, all ovens and stove tops react differently and can’t be trusted until you get to know them. Something that cooks perfectly in your own oven, may burn very quickly in someone else’s.
  • Don’t depend on cooking timers. It’s better to rely on your senses. As food simmers, keep an eye on how rapidly it’s rolling in the pot and adjust the temperature accordingly. As pastry bakes, keep visually checking it for colour, and smell for its baked aroma. As meat roasts, check it by touch and feel how firm it is. And, as a steak grills listen for a noticeable sizzle.

In next week’s column I will share with you a simple cooking temperature guide for roasting, grilling, boiling and baking.

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