Methods of Heating Foods

Methods of Heating Foods
Heating not only destroys micro-organisms that cause illness, but changes the molecular structure of foods, altering their texture, taste, odor, and appearance. During food preparation, heat is transferred by either moist-or-dry-heat methods. Regardless of which method is used, food should never be left unattended wile it is cooking because that is that number-one cause of fire in the kitchen.

Moist Heat Preparation:

Moist heat preparation is a method of cooking in which heat is transferred by water, any water-based liquid or steam. In this method, liquid is not only used to heat the food, but may also contribute flavor, texture, color and appearance to the final product.

The various moist heat preparation methods are presented below in order of increasing heat requirements, ranging from a low heat of 150°F (66°C) for scalding water to a high heat of 240°F (116°C) for pressure steaming.


Scalding water reaches a temperature of 150°F (66°C). Ti is indicated by the appearance of large, but relatively still, bubbles on the bottom and sides of the pan. The process was most frequently used with milk to improve its function in recipes and destroy bacteria. Pasteurized milk does not need to be scalded. Recipes now use scalded milk to speed the combination of ingredients.


Water heated to a temperature of 160° to 180°F (71° to 82°C) is used for poaching in which the food is either partially or totally immersed. The water is hotter than scalding, but has not yet reached the point of actually bubbling, although small, relatively motionless bubbles appear on the bottom of the pan. Poaching is used to prepare delicate foods, like fish and eggs, which could break apart under the more vigorous action of boiling.


Water simmers at just below the boiling point, never less than 180°F (82°C). Simmering is characterized by gently rising bubbles that barely break the surface. Simmering is preferred over boiling in many cases because it is more gentle and will usually not physically damage the food, and foods will not overcook as quickly as when boiled.


Stewing refers to simmering ingredients in a small to moderate amount of liquid, which often becomes a sauce with a food. Most stew dishes consist of chopped ingredients. The pot is covered and the food simmered for some time on the range or in a moderate oven. Stews often taste better the day after their initial preparation, because the overnight rest deepens their flavors.


Braising is similar to stewing in that food is simmered in a small amount of liquid in a covered casserole of pot. The liquid may be the food’s own juices, fat, soup stock, and/or wine. Flavors blend and intensify as foods are slowly braised on top of the range or in an oven. Frequently, when braising meats, the vegetables are often added during the final cooking in order to preserve some of their texture and flavor.


In order to boil, water must reach 212F (100°c) at sea level, a temperature at which bubbles rapidly. The difference in the bubbles between poaching, simmering, and boiling. The high temperature and agitation of boiling water are reserved for the tougher-textured vegetables and for dried pastas and beans. A common technique is to bring a liquid to a rolling boil, gradually add the food, distributing it evently, and then bring the liquid back to a full boil before reducing the heat so that boiling become gentle. Spiil-overs, burns, and loss of cooking liquid from evaporation can be avoided if a gentle boil is used. Food may also be parboiled in boiling water, after which it removed and its cooking completed either at a later time or by a different heating method. Another use for boiling water is for blanching, which sets the color of green vegetables, loosens the skins of fruit, vegetables, and nuts for peeling, and destroy enzymes that contribute to deterioration. Foods are often blanched before being canned or frozen.


Any food heated by direct contact with the steam generated by boiling water has been steamed. Cooked vegetables are at their best when steamed, because this method helps to retain texture, color, taste, and nutrient. A common method for steaming is to place food in a rack or steamer basket above boiling water and to cover the pot or pan with lid in order to trap the steam. In a microwave oven, covering foods with plastic wrap facilities steaming. Pressure cooker heat food by holding steam in an enclosed container uder pressure.

8-Microwaving :

While microwave preparation is listed under moist-heat preparation, it actually belongs in an entirely separate category because it in corporate both dry and moist-heat preparation methods. Microwave are a form of radiation aimed at the water in the food or beverage.

Dry-heat preparation:

Example of dry-heat preparation include baking, broiling, grilling, barbequing, and frying.


Baking is the heating of food by hot air in an oven. The average baking temperature is 350 F (177°C), although temperatures may range from 300° to 425°F (149° to 219°C). Baking results can be affected by rack position and the color of the pan.

Rack position

For the best outcome, the food should be placed in the middle of the center rack. Foods placed on the uppermost rack may brown excessively on their top surface, while on the lowest rack foods are prone to burning on the bottom.  It is also best position foods using only one rack, if this is not possible, the foods should be staggered so that they are not directly over each other in order to allow hot air to flow more freely through the oven. At least 2 inches should be left between pans and between the pans and the oven walls.

Pan color

In addition to rack position and placement of pans, the cooking pan material will affect the baking outcome. Shiny metal pans reflect heat and are best for cakes or cookies, where only light browning and a soft crust are desired. The darker, duller, metal pans tend to absorb heat, resulting in browner, crisper crusts ideas for pies or bread baking. Glass pan require that oven temperatures be reduced by 25° F  (4 C °), because food tend to heat more quickly in glass.


To broil is to cook foods under an intense heat source. The high temperature of broiling cook foods in approximately 5 to 10 minutes, so only tender meats, poultry, and fish are broiled; tougher foods require longer heating times. Temperature is controlled by moving the rack closer or farther away from the heat source.


Grilling is the reverse of broiling, in that food is cooked above, rather than below, an intense heat source. The grill may be a rack or flat surface on a stove. GRILLED can also refer to foods that are seared on a grill over direct heat.


Barbecuing and grilling are no longer used to refer to the same heating method. Grilling over a pit used to be known as barbecuing, but now the later term stands alone. Barbecuing is refer to foods being slow-cooked, usually covered in a zesty sauce, over a longer period of time.


Frying is heating food in fat. Oils used in frying serve to transfer heat, act as a lubricant to prevent sticking, and contribute to flavor, browning, and a crisp outside texture. Although oils are liquid, frying is a method of dry heat preparation because pure fat contains no water.


Roasting is similar to baking except that term is usually applied to meats and poultry .Roasted meats are often based every 20 minutes or so to prevent the food from drying out.some roasted meats are initially seared at( 400° to  450 °F) for about 15 minutes before reducing the heat to normal roasting temperature.

Sautéing and Stir- frying

These methods use the least amount of fat to heat the food. Stir-frying is predominantly used in Asian cooking; the pan is held stationary, while the food is stirred and turned over very quickly with utensils. Sautéing is done in a frying pan, a special sauté pan, or on a griddle. The foods most frequently prepared on a griddle with a little fat are eggs, pancakes, and hamburgers (with the fat derived from meat itself).

Pan-broiling and Pan-frying

Pan-broiling refers to placing food, usually meat, in a very hot frying pan with no added fat and pouring off fat as it accumulates. If the fat is not poured off, pan broiling becomes pan-frying which uses a moderate amount of fat (up to ½ -inch deep), but not enough to completely cover the food.

Deep- frying

In deep –frying, the food is completely covered with fat. Many deep-fried foods are first coated with breading or batter to enhance moisture retention, flavor development, crispness, tenderness, browning   and overall outcome. Deep-frying requires high temperatures, it is best to rely on the fryer’s thermostat to obtain the desired temperature.

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