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Old 02-20-2017, 04:26 PM   #1
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Heating dairy-based sauces

It seems that there's a lot of disagreement on heating dairy-based sauces. Some say you shouldn't heat them above about 180 degrees, while others say that simmering or boiling is fine.

Does anyone have any compelling reasons for either view? Also, if you heated, say, a béchamel to only about 180 degrees, how would it thicken?

Thanks for any info.

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Old 02-20-2017, 04:47 PM   #2
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There are a lot of variables: what kind of dairy (milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt?), how much fat does it have, what kind of sauce are you making, what are the other ingredients and what are the steps?

Béchamel made with roux and milk must be brought to a boil in order to thicken. If you're adding cheese, remove it from the heat first.

Here's some information on the science of cooking with dairy:

- http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/04/t...e-at-home.html

- http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/08/t...ng-cheese.html
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for the links, GotGarlic—I'll check them out. As you said, there seem to be so many variables.

It seems that life in general is the same way, so statements like "Always do X" and "Never do Y" are frequently inaccurate.

I find it interesting that there are so many areas of disagreement even among cooking experts about the "right" ways to do things. Ask 10 different experienced chefs, and you'll probably get 10 different answers.
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:38 PM   #4
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Maybe. It also depends on the question. If the question is rather vague, some people will fill in the blanks themselves and answer it based on the first thing that comes to mind while others will ask for more information before responding.
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Old 02-20-2017, 07:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by neptune View Post
I find it interesting that there are so many areas of disagreement even among cooking experts about the "right" ways to do things. Ask 10 different experienced chefs, and you'll probably get 10 different answers.
There is no "right" way. There is the way that works for you and that's the one that counts.

And I have to disagree about getting 10 different answers from 10 different chefs.
You'll get at least 11 or 12.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:58 PM   #6
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I disagree with Zagut. A hollandaise sauce is NOT the same as a bechamel, and is not prepared in the same way. Likewise, a 'jus' is not the same as either of the above.

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Old 02-21-2017, 01:41 PM   #7
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I disagree with Zagut. A hollandaise sauce is NOT the same as a bechamel, and is not prepared in the same way. Likewise, a 'jus' is not the same as either of the above.

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+1..
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Old 02-21-2017, 01:48 PM   #8
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There is no "right" way. There is the way that works for you and that's the one that counts.

Of course there are absolutely right ways to cook things.
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:14 PM   #9
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Of course there are absolutely right ways to cook things.
+1 again
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:22 PM   #10
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A "right way" to cook things.

My response was in agreement to Neptune.

You'll get a different response with each different "Chef."

Yes a hollandaise sauce is NOT the same as a béchamel and how a 'jus' got involved is beyond my limited mind.

Yes there are techniques that produce a product that is desired but nothing is set in stone no matter how much those who worship certain internet entities.

I know people who microwave burgers and steaks and love the outcome they get.

Is their cooking method wrong?

I wouldn't cook the way they do but I'd never call it "wrong" because that's what they seem to like and who am I to set in stone what they do as evil.

And in the evolution of cooking just how many delicious foodstuffs and techniques have been developed by deviation from the norm?

You want the same old same old and "Authentic" then by all means demand things never vary. There is good and tasty reasoning behind that thinking.

But I'd wager that many of todays "food trends" wouldn't be around unless someone took the initiative to tweek things to their liking.

Sorry to fart in anyone's spacesuit but I thought this was "Discuss Cooking" and not "Cooking Is Set In Stone"
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:02 PM   #11
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Maybe. It also depends on the question.
That's true. But if you ask 10 chefs, say, what's the best way to scramble an egg, I suspect you will get 10 different answers.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:04 PM   #12
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There is no "right" way. There is the way that works for you and that's the one that counts.
Very often seems that way, Zagut. That's one reason I don't think recipes should ever use the word "perfect," such as "Perfect Pancakes" or "Perfect Chicken Paprikash." Not only is perfect rarely attainable, it's often almost entirely subjective.

Quote:
And I have to disagree about getting 10 different answers from 10 different chefs. You'll get at least 11 or 12.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:20 PM   #13
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Yes there are techniques that produce a product that is desired but nothing is set in stone no matter how much those who worship certain internet entities.
Exactly. In fact, Chef López-Alt made the following perceptive statement:

[The word] commandments give you the impression that our knowledge is complete. It’s not. Never be afraid to challenge any cooking conventions or rules when faced with new evidence.

Quote:
I wouldn't cook the way they do but I'd never call it "wrong" because that's what they seem to like and who am I to set in stone what they do as evil.

And in the evolution of cooking just how many delicious foodstuffs and techniques have been developed by deviation from the norm? . . .

I'd wager that many of today's "food trends" wouldn't be around unless someone took the initiative to tweak things to their liking.
Definitely. While it's best for beginners to stick with the tried-and-true, for more experienced cooks, I think it's important and healthy not to be afraid to experiment and to question "established" dogma, as López-Alt points out.

For instance, I've always heard that older eggs are usually easier to peel than fresh ones, but both López-Alt and Cook's Illustrated say that this piece of conventional wisdom isn't really true.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Zagut View Post
A "right way" to cook things.

My response was in agreement to Neptune.

You'll get a different response with each different "Chef."

Yes a hollandaise sauce is NOT the same as a béchamel and how a 'jus' got involved is beyond my limited mind.

Yes there are techniques that produce a product that is desired but nothing is set in stone no matter how much those who worship certain internet entities.

I know people who microwave burgers and steaks and love the outcome they get.

Is their cooking method wrong?

I wouldn't cook the way they do but I'd never call it "wrong" because that's what they seem to like and who am I to set in stone what they do as evil.

And in the evolution of cooking just how many delicious foodstuffs and techniques have been developed by deviation from the norm?

You want the same old same old and "Authentic" then by all means demand things never vary. There is good and tasty reasoning behind that thinking.

But I'd wager that many of todays "food trends" wouldn't be around unless someone took the initiative to tweek things to their liking.

Sorry to fart in anyone's spacesuit but I thought this was "Discuss Cooking" and not "Cooking Is Set In Stone"
None of that answers the question and it's completely beside the point,which was about cooking with dairy. Nothing at all to do with a philosophy of cooking.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:37 PM   #15
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That's true. But if you ask 10 chefs, say, what's the best way to scramble an egg, I suspect you will get 10 different answers.
I suspect you would be wrong. Were you looking for an answer to your question or not?
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by neptune View Post
Exactly. In fact, Chef López-Alt made the following perceptive statement:

[The word] commandments give you the impression that our knowledge is complete. It’s not. Never be afraid to challenge any cooking conventions or rules when faced with new evidence.
The key phrase is "when faced with new evidence." You are not presenting any new evidence.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:42 PM   #17
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The key phrase is "when faced with new evidence." You are not presenting any new evidence.
Huh? Presenting new evidence for what? I just like the general principle he's stating here, and that's why I quoted him.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:44 PM   #18
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I suspect you would be wrong. Were you looking for an answer to your question or not?
Well, I did a Web search, and it shows that chefs widely disagree on how to scramble eggs.

Yes, I am looking for answer to my question, and your links were helpful. Thank you.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:48 PM   #19
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Huh? Present new evidence for what? I just like the general principle he's stating here, and that's why I quoted him.
You need to reread what you quoted. Zagut is essentially saying there are no reliable recipes using dairy and you're misquoting Kenji López-Alt to make it seem like he supports that view. You are both wrong.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:48 PM   #20
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I don't know anyone who loves cooking who would not want to try different ways of producing a sauce. But let's not forget that cooking is also chemistry, and as we all know, the combination of certain ingredients in different proportions will give different results, just as will the use of slightly different ingredients (i.e. butter/cream/milk ) whose chemical structure is non the less different will produce foreseeable results that can be measured
as chemical analysis. 'Jus' comes into the equation because it's the butter that's the thickener, without flour or eggs - or at least that's what I learned at cookery school. Chemical reactions can be predicted and measured. My DH studied chemistry at University, and he's helped me many times when it comes to making sauces that don't split. So I would say that conventional wisdom shouldn't be ignored, because there is a basis of fact to be taken into account.

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