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Old 06-26-2012, 10:49 AM   #1
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Understanding a cooking method?

what is it when you say u make lasg. and cover it and bake it in the oven is it baked or steamed. I am trying to understand moist heat and dry heat cooking.And not understanding when u have a combination of the two,what it is considered. Also,baking in a bag ...say chicken,is this considered baked or steamed? I also made chicken peices in the oven with some water or even sauce,I dont know what this is considered either.....moist or dry heat or is a combination of the two? thank you for your advice again.

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Old 06-26-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
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I would call lasgna a baked meal. The bake in the bag, by my understanding, is that it does use steam to bake with, rather than the dry heat. So I would call that steaming.

I am sure that someone who has more intelligent that me, will correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my opinion
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Crystalwater, you are correct. Just because you cover something does not necessarily mean it is not baked. Lasagna has its own liquids, but they do not steam or braise the food, and you can cook lasagna with or without covering it.

When you cook meat in the oven with some form of liquid, this is called braising. The liquid (water, broth) helps to cook the food evenly and keep it moist and tender - it is usually done at a low temperature for longer. The "cook in bag" would be in my opinion considered a type of braising.

Steaming is when the food is put above boiling water which comes through holes and cooks the food with the steam but the water doesn't touch the food. This is usually done on the top of the stove with a pot and a steamer insert.

Hope that helps. I am sure there are others who can clarify as well.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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understanding

what about a baked potato in foil they say steam potato?
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumu View Post
what about a baked potato in foil they say steam potato?
I think this also qualifies as steaming. The potato's internal moisture does the job.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Steaming is commonly described as using steam as the heat source, the food being only in contact with the steam and heated by the steam, not in contact with boiling water. Some things are worth noting when thinking about steaming versus other methods.

Steam is still limited to 212F, the temperature at which it became steam. In a pressure vessel, it can be hotter (the boiling point rises), but I think it then becomes a separate method.

Food, then, being steamed, cannot become hotter than 212F. This also reminds us that when a wet concoction is placed into a hot oven, it may or may not exceed 212F. For instance, if I put a soup or stew with liquid above the surface of the solids into a 400F oven, it will limit at 212F. If I use less liquid, as in braising, where much of the solid is above the liquid, I might exceed 212F, but in a pot with the lid on, it becomes a steam environment, wet, but much different from a liquid environment, so far as the finish of the meat or other food goes. The temperature of the cooking environment is limited by physics, and that's what we want for braising/pot roasting, where we need longer times to deal with tough but flavorful cuts.

All this makes little difference to a baking potato. The internal temperature of a correctly baked potato is still a bit below 212F, so whether or not I trap steam in a foil blanket or not isn't going to effect the temperature much. The potato is truly baked. No substantial part of the water in the potato becomes steam. If it did you would have a potato that was (1) badly over-cooked, the internal temperature having exceeded 212F, and (2) very dry. A foil wrap does trap some moisture and produces a soft skin, if a soft skin is what you want.

Is rice, cooked in the usual way, steamed (which is what we call it, "steamed rice"), or is it boiled? It's boiled. It absorbs the water. Toward the later stage, it's being steamed. But most of the time, we know the difference. When we use a steamer, it pretty clearly steaming. The food doesn't touch the water and gets all of its effective heat from the steam.

Baking is a dry heat method, and the environment can get hotter than 212F. We take advantage of that. The interior of our bread is limited by its moisture, but the hot air can give us a nice crust. We also inject steam to form a crisper and thicker crust. This sounds wrong, but it's a different principle. The steam actually cools the dough surface (steam limiting at 212F) and allows some further carbohydrate breakdown into sugar that caramelizes to give us the brown crust.

But the most notable thing about almost all methods that are called "steaming" is that the heat is applied to the food by the independently generated steam alone. Otherwise, it's in the realm of pot roasting, which includes the chicken in the bag.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #7
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understanding

so if lasg, has its own liquid but doesnt steam or braise the food,how can cooking in the bag be different.....chicken has it own liquid in there? Sorry....dont get it. Thanks
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:20 PM   #8
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I would say that the difference is that the chicken in the bag is not being heated by steam generated by a heat source working directly on the water and not directly on the food.

How much difference this makes in some of these methods is probably not important. Like with so-called "steamed rice," it's both boiled and then partly steamed. With chicken in the bag, what liquid ends up in the bag is sweated out of the chicken. Liquid inside the chicken cannot boil to form steam, because 212F interior would be overcooked chicken.

Perhaps the sweated out liquid boils from absorption of enough oven heat and forms steam. In that case, to some degree the chicken undergoes some steaming, like the rice does. But I think that by that point, the chicken is substantially cooked, or at least the essential changes have taken place in the proteins, and it's fundamentally roasted. The weakness in the bag method is that the liquid does sweat and creates an environment inside the bag that cannot exceed 212F. So the chicken cannot brown, except by radiant heating.

What a method is called is not important. What matters is the cook's understanding of the process or the various stages of the process and what it can and cannot do. For instance, the bag is an attempt to make moist chicken. But brining and rubbing butter under the skin and oiling the outside and using high temperature allows the very high oven temperature to brown and crisp the skin and produces correctly moist chicken by not cooking it overly long.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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understanding

I have just read where they put a cover over lasg. and they said it will cook faster bec. of the steam. So dont understand on previous comment lasg. doesnt steam or braise with its liquid. A cover holds moisture in so it is steaming?
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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The cover holds heat in. Anything cooks faster when it's covered because the lid (or foil) holds in the heat.
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