Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cooking Myths (Part 2)

This series has been dormant for a couple of years but it's time to resurrect it.

One of the pervasive myths about baking is that opening the oven door makes the temperature drop "drastically".

The fact that the temperature drops is not in doubt. What's in question is the "drastic" part.

Let's start with the basics.

Air has very little thermal capacity. It's ability to hold heat is minimal if that. That's precisely why you can put your hand in a 500°F oven and not feel a thing.

Just so we are clear on this concept, try sticking your hand in 212°F water (a.k.a. boiling water) and see how you feel. It's a lot less than 500°F!!!

So what exactly holds the heat of the oven?

It's actually the walls and the floor. They have a high thermal capacity. In fact, if you want to increase the thermal capacity, you should put in a very large steel plate on the bottom of the oven, or a ton of bricks, and run the oven for a long time.

The air is largely irrelevant!

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