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Old 06-06-2012, 01:27 PM   #1
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Advice Needed on Boiling.

.am i correct to think if i bring water to a boil over high heat,with lid and after boils add ingr. put lid back on and continue to boil over high heat,(and bec. i used a pot big enough to hold the volume of food) i wouldn't have to worry about a boil over? Bec. pot was big enough? And the only reason turn down heat would be to keep it at a boil only? I know stoves all work different,but am thinking right on this? Leaving on high heat and being in a big enough pan wouldnt boil over,bec. the pan is bigger? or is it a rule of thumb after comes to boil adjust heat always. thanks

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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If you have a giant pot or a weak burner where the burner has barely enough power to make it boil, that may be true. I find I have to turn down the heat to prevent boil overs.

Another factor to consider is that some ingredients can foam up and cause a boil over where plain water wouldn't.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:34 PM   #3
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Depends on the ingredients you add. Some stuff can burn. If you dump something like pasta in the boiling water without first adding some oil, it will boil over unless the pot is very large compared to what's in it. Not everything boiled needs to be cooked at a full rolling boil. I turn the heat down, generally, to just maintain a boil once it's started.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
If you have a giant pot or a weak burner where the burner has barely enough power to make it boil, that may be true. I find I have to turn down the heat to prevent boil overs.

Another factor to consider is that some ingredients can foam up and cause a boil over where plain water wouldn't.
+1

And if you leave at full rolling boil, you are wasting heat. The food will cook just find at a low boil.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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When judging how much heat to apply, remember that while the water temperature cannot rise above 212F, the pot bottom can be higher, and more heat can be transferred, as it is on a high rolling boil where the additional heat is converting more water to vapor. Pasta, for instance. So long as the water is at a minimal boil, it's cooking as fast as it can at 212F. Any additional heat make cause more roiling and have the effect of self-stirring, but it's more likely to boil over.

What's happening with pasta is that the stuff released from the pasta while cooking increases the surface tension of the water and allows bubbles to last longer, rather than quickly break at the surface. So it becomes a foaming boil and tends to boil over. Best approach is to watch and adjust the heat to a low boil. Keep the pot covered to get the water to boil, but leave the cover off while cooking. Check before you add oil that the pasta police aren't watching, else you will be chastised for making your pasta to slippery for sauce to stick to it.

In some boiling situations, there are little things, variously called "milk minder," "boil watcher," etc. You can try the technique by placing a saucer upside down in the bottom of the pot. The idea is that it keeps the vapor that's formed under the saucer until it forms a big enough bubble to flop out, and that big bubble breaks readily on the surface.
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