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Let’s Talk Heat: Conduction

Posted by on 9/17/2015

Previously we talked about convection heating . This is heating by movement of air or a liquid around something. All ovens use this method of heat transference and specialty convection ovens use it as well, as the name would imply, only they use it more efficiently than say, residential ovens.

Another type of heat transference is through conduction. This is when something hot touches something cool and the cool item heats up. Conduction is heat transference through direct contact. It is the simplest and most instinctive form of heat transfer. When you touch a hot stove, heat is conducted from the surface of the stove to your nerves and you feel that it is hot. Cooking via conduction is like pan frying, or sautéing. When fire from a gas stove hits a pan, it conducts heat through out that pan. The heat then moves from the pan to the food, cooking it. Metal is an excellent conductor of heat, which is why cookware is made from one kind of metal or another. Copper is a top heat conductor where as food itself is not. This is why food continues to cook even after it has left direct contact with a heated surface. Cooking with conduction is useful for caramelizing, charring, and searing because of the direct nature of it. It is much easier to maintain control over the food. Foods that work best with conduction heating are meats and fibrous fruits and vegetables. Next, we will look at radiant heat.

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