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Old 04-22-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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Definitions of stirring frequency terms?

Does anybody know of an actual definition for stirring terms like "stir occasionally", "stir frequently", and "stir constantly"?

My daughter is doing a school project where it would be helpful to know exactly how often to stir (ie. once per minute, etc.) for each of these terms.



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Old 04-22-2008, 09:58 PM   #2
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First, delfinidae, welcome to Discuss Cooking.

As for the "stirring" terms, they are a lot like "small, medium, large."

I have no idea as to the "minutes" involved, but stir "occasionally" means just that. Occasionally. Not hovering over the pot/container. Just enough to keep things moving and from sticking.

Stirring "frequently" is, as the word suggests, to stir quite a bit more than occasionally.

Then, to stir "constantly" is to be present at the vessel and stir, stir, stir.

Again, I have no minute-by-minute advice as to the time necessary for each procedure. That would depend on what one is "stirring." Custards are different from gravy/sauce.

Best wishes on your quest and I hope you choose to stay with us at Discuss Cooking.

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Old 04-23-2008, 12:00 AM   #3
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That's about as accurate as it gets in my cooking dictionary.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:38 AM   #4
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I think Katie has nailed it.

To me there are basically two directives, stir constantly and stir ad libitum.

As far as I can figure out there are three reasons to stir constantly.

The first is you are cooking at high heat and need to prevent burning.

The second is that you really need the stuff to be cooked at an even heat, think of packaged vanilla pudding. The stuff needs to come to an even heat as it goes into its pudding mode. If one part was ready to gel and another was too cold to, well, one would have a mess.

The third, as far as I can tell, is to mix. Am thinking about, oh, a Hollaindaise sauce as an example. Dribble in the butter and you have to keep stirring to keep the emulsion working.

Those to me are the only reasons to rapidly stir on the stove.

Just a few ideas.

God bless.
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:34 AM   #5
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Irrespective of definitions, you will never get a true answer to the question posed as it would depend on the circumference of the pot you were stirring in. It would take significantly longer for one rotation of a witch's cauldron (for an exaggerated example!) than of a mustard/condiment pot.

To add to the mix, a confident cook/chef preparing an item frequently prepared in the past will define 'occasional' differently to cook/chef with a new dish or to that of an inexperienced cook. My mother and I differ in our monitoring of items and that is mainly down to experience.

Think you will need to settle for the above explanations as "best fit".

But, welcome to DC!!!
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