Appendix A: Cooking Principles

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe common cooking techniques used in commercial foodservice kitchens

Key Terms:

  • Caramelization
    • the browning of sugar, a process used extensively in cooking for the resulting sweet nutty flavor and brown color
  • Gelatinization
    • the process of breaking down the intermolecular bonds of starch molecules in the presence of water and heat, allowing the hydrogen bonding sites (the hydroxyl hydrogen and oxygen) to engage more water. This irreversibly dissolves the starch granule in water.
  • Maillard Reaction
    • a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor.
  • Smoke Point
    • also known as burning point of an oil or fat; the temperature at which, under specific and defined conditions, it begins to produce a continuous bluish smoke that becomes clearly visible.
  • Heat Transfer:
    • Conduction
      • energy is transferred from molecule to molecule by direct contact; the molecules themselves do not necessarily change position, but simply vibrate more or less quickly against each other.
    • Convection
      • often referred to simply as convection, is the transfer of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluids. Convection is usually the dominant form of heat transfer in liquids and gases.
    • Radiation
      • a method of heat transfer that does not rely upon any contact between the heat source and the heated object as is the case with conduction and convection.
  • Moist Heat Methods:
    • Boil
    • Simmer
    • Poach
      • a type of moist-heat cooking technique that involves cooking by submerging food in a liquid, such as watermilkstock or wine. Poaching is differentiated from the other “moist heat” cooking methods, such as simmering and boiling, in that it uses a relatively low temperature (about 160–180 °F (71–82 °C)).
    • Blanch
      • cooking process wherein a food, usually a vegetable or fruit, is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water (shocking or refreshing[1]) to halt the cooking process. Blanching foods will help reduce quality loss over time.
    • Steam
      • a method of cooking using steam. This is often done with a food steamer, a kitchen appliance made specifically to cook food with steam, but food can also be steamed in a wok.
    • Cooking en papillote
    • Braise
      • a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typically, the food is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in some (variable) amount of liquid (which may also add flavor).
    • Stew
      • similar to simmering but using a smaller amount of liquid; good for tough cuts of meat.
  • Dry Heat Methods:
    • Roast/Bake
      • a cooking method that uses dry heat where hot air envelops the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with temperatures of at least 150 °C (~300 °F) from an open flame, oven, or other heat source.
    • Barbecue
      • a cooking method which is usually done outdoors by smoking the meat over wood or charcoal.
    • Pan Smoking
      • using a pan to smoke food by adding chips, wood, or chile to the pan, placing a metal rack in the pan for the meat. When the wood or chile starts to smoke, after 2 to 3 minutes, cover the pan, placing a weight on the lid to seal it tight.
    • Broiling
    • Grilling
      • a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below.[1]Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly.
    • Griddling
      • cooking on a flat pan or griddle
    • Pan-broiling
      • a cooking technique used for thin steaks, thin chops and fish fillets. It is a dry cooking method done in a frying pan on top of the stove with no added fat or liquid. It sears the surface of the meat, sort of like proper broiling would.
  • Dry Heat Methods Using Fats:
    • Sauté
      • a method of cooking that uses a relatively small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Various sauté methods exist, and sauté pans are a specific type of pan designed for sautéing.
    • Pan-fry
    • Deep-Fry
      • cooking method in which food is submerged in hot fat, most commonly oil, rather than the shallow oil used in conventional frying, done in a frying pan.
  • Sous Vide
    • a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and cooked in a water bath or steam environment for longer than normal cooking times (usually 1 to 7 hours, up to 48 or more in some cases) at an accurately regulated temperature. The temperature is much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (131 to 140 °F) for meat, higher for vegetables.
  • Molecular Gastronomy
    • a subdiscipline of food science that seeks to investigate the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur in cooking. Its program includes three areas, as cooking was recognized to have three components: social, artistic, and technical.
  • Building Flavor:


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Introduction to Food Production and Service Copyright © by Beth Egan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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