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Development of Cooking Methods and Techniques

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Published: Wed, 20 Sep 2017

Introduction

The revolution of cooking has evolved massively so has the methods of cooking too .Cooking has been practiced since ages. Earlier the ancient man ate only raw food, once accidently a piece of meat fell into the fire and it got roasted. The man ate the piece and liked it. Thus the process of cooking began and started evolving. Cooking food is important because it makes the food easy to digest, cooking improves the appearances flavor colour texture and taste of food, it also adds variety to the meal, cooking helps the food to stay longer and last and the most important is cooking makes the food safe. (Home science , 2014) Cooking also involves knowledge of ingredients as well as equipment, the skills and techniques also ability to plan and organize food preparation within time constraints. Not to forget the classic methods of cooking are far better as well as healthier as compare to new methods like microwave. (Home science , 2014)

Cooking techniques

There are some food items which have lots of moisture in them like vegetables which are leafy like spinach and fenugreek. These items are cooked using technique that makes use of this moisture. But food items like rice, wheat and pulses are comparatively low in moisture content therefore these ingredients are cooked by adding extra water(moisture). There are also methods where no water is involved in the process of cooking; in fact these methods help the food to remain crisp on completion. Therefore the methods of cooking are classified into the following: (Nestle professional nutrinal, 2014)

  • Cooking by moist heat: The method includes boiling, simmering/stewing, steaming pressure cooker, poaching and microwave cooking.
  • Cooking by dry heat: This method includes baking, roasting and grilling.
  • Cooking by frying in oil or ghee: Includes methods like deep frying, shallow frying or pan fried and stir frying.

(Nestle professional nutrinal, 2014)

  • Boiling: It is the method in which the food is cooked in sufficient quantity of water. For example potatoes, hard vegetables like cauliflower, carrots broccoli and more, eggs, rice and pulses. Vegetables such as green peas and green beans are boiled by additional of small quantity of water whereas while cooking rice and other pulses large amount of water is needed to cook. This is because vegetables already contain higher water content. There are some important points which shall be kept in mind while boiling which are firstly boil the water and then put the food secondly the water should cover the food fully. Do not over boil food longer than needed and once it is tender and soft take it off from the fire as if the food for too long it loses its shape and colour. Lastly overcooking also destroys its nutritive value. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Simmering/Stewing: Stewing is a method where the food is cooked in small quantity while a small amount of water is kept below boiling point for a long time. After boiling starts the flame is simmered and the food is allowed to cook slowly. When it is cooked it is served together with the liquid. The advantage of this cooking technique is that the juices of the food are retained as well as the food tastes good. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Steaming: It is the process where the food is cooked with the heat generated from water vapours. It also shortens the time of cooking and also helps to conserve the nutritive value, colour, flavor and palatability of food. Steamed food is also light and easy to digest. These types of food are especially good for people who are weak or sick and also good for elders and young children. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Pressure cooking: the process of cooking in a special type of utensil which permits cooking with lots of steam under a certain pressure. These cookers are made of steel or with a mixture of aluminium and other metals and can bear high pressure. The steam which is produced is confined inside the cooker thus increasing the pressure and temperature more than 100 degree Celsius. All kinds of pulses, rice, and meat are cooked well under pressure cooker in shortest possible time. Advantages of this type of cooking are that it kills all types of bacteria and hence the food is safe to eat. Fastest method of cooking almost one third time compare to boiling. It also saves gas. It is important to immerse food in water while preparing and this reduce the loss of soluble vitamins as well as minerals. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Poaching: It is also a type of moist heat cooking method which involves cooking by submerging in a liquid like water, stock, wine and more. It is differentiated from other methods like boiling and simmers as the temperature is relatively low which makes particularly suitable for food like fish and eggs. (Nestle professional nutrinal, 2014)
  • Microwave cooking: Cooking with electromagnet waves, either with or without addition of liquid. The food can be browned and also can be given crustiness only if it combined with dry heat method such as grilling. Basically microwave is used for reheat the food. (Nestle professional nutrinal, 2014)
  • Baking: The method in which the food is prepared by assigning it inside a heated closed box called an oven. The air inside the oven get hot due to the fire which is lit at its base or with electricity and the food gets prepared with the hot air when placed inside the oven. The food which is cooked using this type of method adds variety to the plate. (Home science , 2014)
  • Roasting: One more method of cooking food with the help of dry heat is roasting. While roasting the food is put directly on a griddle and cooked. Vegetables like potatoes, eggplants are roasted so as grains like maze and chickpeas. The food is tastier when prepared by this method. It also adds a change to the meal. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Grilling: A method of cooking over glowing fire and more uses of indirect heat and is slower compare to roasting. The food is held on an iron grid over the fire. The grids are brushed with oil to avoid sticking and can be heated by charcoal, gas or even electricity nowadays. The food which is prepared gives a distinctive flavor. (The daily meal, 2014)
  • Deep frying: It is a method where the food is completely submerged in hot fat like oil. It is usually prepared in deep fryer industrially. It is classified into dry cooking as there is no water used also the time taken in cooking this method is also quick.
  • Shallow frying: In shallow frying the food is not completely submerged but only a part of it is submerged in fats like oil/butter. The advantage of shallow frying is that the food life stays longer compare to deep frying.

How food cooks

Rapid movement of molecules heats the food. The movement is so fast that their temperature rises. There is three ways to cook the food

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation

Conduction-is when the food is in direct contact of the heat source. Cooking in a pan is conduction process. Heat is transferred from burner to the pan, and then it is passing to the food. First the surface of the food becomes hot then the interior. Heat passes from the center by moisture and fats.

Convection- is the process in which the heat is carried to the food by some source like air, water etc. Cooking food in the oven is convection cooking. Gas grills are the perfect example of convection cooking. A convection oven has a fan that flows the heat in the oven. The moving heat cooks the food more rapidly than the still heat. Convection method of cooking cooks the food 25%to 30% faster.

Radiation-is the process in which the food is cooked by the energy transformed by waves of heat. For e.g. put a food on a hanger and hold it to the side of the fire, the food will be cooked using radiation process. The charcoal grills works with radiation cooking.

Excitation-is microwave cooking. Microwave pierces the food and beats the molecules inside the food and makes it warm without heating the air around it.

Induction-stove tops works under induction cooking method. Induction cooktops or cooking vessels must be made of cast iron or stainless steel.

  • The element electronic charges the coil that produces high frequency electromagnetic field.
  • The field vibrates the bottom of the vessel and sets up a circulating current that generates heat.
  • The heat then transferred to food.

The main benefit of induction is that, it provides faster and consistent heating than other methods. The induction automatically shuts down if there is no container. It is easy to clean because of flat cooking surface.it is more energy efficient than other flame burners as it allows instant control of cooking powers. Other methods of cooking that uses flame have higher loss to ambient whereas induction directly heats the pot.

Advanced cooking methods

Cooking is the procedure of changing the chemistry of food by transferring energy to the food to make it safe and eatable and to get the desired flavor, texture and nutrition.

Culinary equipment’s and implements have travelled a long way from ancient times when the only medium to cook is open fire to the modern methods of cooking. Ovens were among the first advance brought by civilization. Early oven were designed to trap the heat in the walls of oven.in 20th century, inventors had developed gas and electric ovens that allow far greater control of heat.

Yet, for all the modern features on today’s oven- broilers, forced convection, self-cleaning cycles etc. – they still work on the principle of controlling heat. Another important aspect of cooking is humidity. The ability to manipulate moisture, both outside the food as well as inside, is the defining difference that set modern oven technology apart from earlier methods. Water-vapor ovens and combi ovens control the water content of the heated air; microwaves exploit the moisture content of the food to heat it. They both are the perfect examples of modern approaches of the history’s most ancient tools.

When people are busy making jams and chutneys one London based chef is busy in making soups and stews in the glass jars. Chef Vincent dury has developed a new cooking method known as heat preserving method. Using this method beef stew can be cooked in a jar inside a water-filled, hermitically sealed pressure cooker.

It is somewhat similar to ‘appertisation’ i.e., a method of treating vegetables that leads to canning. The term derives from Nicolas Appert, who invented the first process for using heat to sterilize food.

One such technique which is becoming famous is pit baking.it is one of the oldest cooking methods but it is becoming famous because of its modification .an earth oven is created by digging hole in the ground and slow cooking is done by heating stones in the fire.

People also start cooking using ash; the perfect example of ash cooking is the “ash baked vegetables” served in the restaurants like The Ledbury and The Roganic in London. In this technique “the vegetables are first cooked on a barbecue for 4 to 5 hours then the ash from the celeriac skin is used and blended with salt and sugar to make it a sprinkling dust, which is used as a seasoning”.it is one of the oldest method that is now becoming popular due to its modification .

There are different methods in different countries which are not becoming so popular but they need to for example there is the different method to cook egg in Jewish kitchen in which the eggs are cooked on a very low heat with onion skins and coffee grounds for several hours, then gently tapped to create a beautiful marbling effect. It is called Sephardic cooking but it is limited to only Jewish kitchen only.

The scientific method of cooking

Have anyone wondered why grilling meat taste good and broccoli that goes along with the meat will go dull if it not shocked well. Chemistry piles itself into the many ways you can cook food and each of these methods work in a different way and affect the tastes of the vast display of food that we create and consume.

Maillard reaction-It is a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that helps to give browned foods the accurate flavor and color. It is discovered by Louis Camille Maillard a French Physician. Meats (such as steak and roasts), vegetables, chocolate and potatoes are the example of foods that goes through this reaction. In these types of food, the reaction begins with a carbohydrate molecule and an amino acid. These two molecules create an unbalanced midway particle which changes till the brown color and desired flavor have been reached. This happens because during the reaction elements, such as nitrogen and sulfur, are added to the mixture of mostly carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

Brining-This method is somewhat similar to marinating.in this chicken or meat is soaked in brine before cooking. This method was first used in Scandinavian cuisine.in this method the meat is soaked in brine for some time (depends upon the thickness of meat) and then cooked, it gives juicier dish.

Brine is a mixture of salt and water. When the meat is put in brine the proteins are dissolved in it and interacts with salt which results in the capacity of muscle cells to hold more water.

After the brining process the meat is seared in the frying pan and cooked in the oven. The meat was juicer and pinker and saltier than the rest.

Modern cooking methods

As the food advances its method also advances. Everybody wants a less time consuming methods and wants more healthier and flavorful food.so there are many modern cooking methods invented that provides the same thing.

Sous Vide Cooker-In this food is sealed in the zip lock bag, set the temperature, and put the bag in the water and the timer. The food not gonna lose it nutrients, flavors in the bag.

It is similar to poaching; the main difference is that in this the food is kept in plastic bag to keep the nutrients and flavors. The main advantage of using this method is that in this method the food can’t be overcooked because if the food is placed in the water, the temperature is set then the food can’t be cooked more than the set temperature .whereas if the food is cooked using roasting or grilling there is a chance of over-cooking or under-cooking of food.

This method is important from culinary point of view as it allows the food to store; sealed and refrigerated which is important for catering industry.

This method is used by famous chef like Heston Blumenthal, Paul Bocuse, Thomas Keller and many other famous chefs. This method is also used in train Acela express for serving meals on the trains.

This method was developed in mid 70s by Georges Pralus for keeping the fat in foie gras but it was not that popular or successful at that time.it again came into existence when a French scientist, Bruno Goussault modified it with different flavor profiles for the French railway company. French railway wanted a method in which the food can be cooked easily and evenly without getting it overcooked.

Air fryer- it is an equipment to cook the food without oil .it uses hot air to cook the food rather than using the oil.it circulates air up to 200c around the food which results in giving them nice brown crust with 80 per cent less fat.it shaped like rice cooker which consists of a removable tray.it can cook the food in 12 minutes.it provides the healthier food with nice brown and crispy finish.

Critical analysis

Food has evolved rapidly over the last few centuries that what chefs use to prepare has also changed. Earlier chefs used to serve huge portions nowadays chefs are preparing bite size food. So by time chefs are changing the methods of cooking dishes also which are health beneficial as well as the consumption of resources are also low. People have shifted to microwave cooking rather than bakery as the bakery products contents huge amount of fat in them. The chefs are also using sous vide to cook products like vegetables and meat which require no fuel to cook. They cook the items with the help of electricity. Similarly with air fryer the products which are cooked are 90 percent fatless compare to products which are fried in a deep fryer or shallow fried. The consumption of steam products are more consumed as they are health friendly. Even in big restaurants and in industries chefs are more emphasis on these types of cooking. There are many restaurants which also practice molecular gastronomy cooking in which chefs are trained to use chemicals like lecite and more to cook. Therefore the methods of cooking as we saw are drastically changing as in earlier centuries the mode of cooking was only with the contact with fire. Later on our ancestors practiced and started cooking with the help of water which became methods like boiling and poaching. And nowadays chefs are shifting more towards electric cooking as it is more health friendly. Scientists are also working with today’s chefs in preparation of a capsule which will help the astronauts to live in the outer planets. The capsule will provide them with the same amount of nutrients as well as taste the same which a normal food will contain. These capsules will be available by 2020 in every store. Hence to conclude we would like to say that without the help of earlier methods of cooking the new methods of cooking would not come.

Conclusion

Through the following project we can conclude that there are many other techniques in which food can be prepared for example like Air fryer where the mode of cooking is the same but with a very little fat which is good for the body with no impact on taste. Less use of fat means less fat in the body which is good. People are making more these types of machines as they are more accepted in today’s generation because people are turning more health conscious. People are also working with a new method known as capsule cooking.


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