October 3, 2022

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Cooking pasta without gas, what does the science say?

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How does this blessed method work?? Simple: boil the water, add salt, throw the pasta, mix, wait until it boils again, finally turn off the heat, close the lid tightly and do not reopen it until the end of cooking, if necessary slightly extend the cooking time compared to what is indicated on the pasta can. In short, in order not to overcook the pasta or take it out of the oven, more attention is needed than in traditional cooking: nothing is impossible, especially if it is on the other side of the scale. There is energy saving.

Bressanini, retracing the history of food cooking, always refers to writing by Benjamin Thompsonone of the founders ThermodynamicsFrom 1799: “All the fuel used to boil it vigorously is wasted, without adding one degree to the water’s heat, or speeding up or shortening the cooking process by only one second. As it is from the heat and intensity and duration of cooking food and not from boiling water that has no role in that process”.

In short, boiling – the bubbles we see in the pot – has nothing to do with it: especially since The boiling temperature depends on the atmospheric pressureIn fact, at higher elevations, water boils earlier than sea level, yet mountaineers eat equally good pasta. Some additional details: “there Noodle cooking is mainly governed by three factors – Bressanini contact – there penetration rateAnd the water inside the dough gelatinization starch and denaturation The consequent coagulation of gluten. All these phenomena depend on the temperature. Water penetrates the dough even at low temperatures, even in cold water, but the higher the temperature, the faster it gets into the dough. Starch gelatinization is the phenomenon in which starch grains absorb water and form a gelatinous substance. Wheat starch turns into gelatin between 60°C and 70°C. Gluten denatures and coagulates between 70°C and 80°C. Note that these are all much lower temperatures than the boiling temperatures common in our kitchens. This means that it is possible to cook the pasta even with water kept at 80°C, taking a little longer because the water moistens the dough more slowly”.

Do you really save money?

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Assuming the result is good in terms of taste (and we repeat, the experts are divided: Chef Antonello ColonnaFor example, he said a Republic that with this method there is a risk that the putty will take on a rubbery and not grainy texture; Other cooks instead claim that the result is indistinguishable from that obtained through conventional cooking), Do you really save? Is it a big saving or not mentioned? Given that in times of crisis no savings, even if they are small, should not be underestimated, it must be said that the calculation is not simple. They tried to appreciate it Italian pasta makers From italian food association: According to their calculations, related to passive cooking with the heat off and the lid off after the first two minutes of conventional cooking, the energy savings and CO2 emissions can reach 47% compared to the traditional method. An estimate that seems to make sense since then The time required to boil the water is the same as the average cooking time for pasta. Moreover, according to the association’s estimates, only one in 10 Italians adopt this method, while healthy habits of using less water would have remained constant (700 ml per 100 grams of pasta, as does one in four ) and always the cover (nine out of ten do it).