What temperature is my casserole at 180C?

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Offline thedoc

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What temperature is my casserole at 180C?
« on: 10/02/2014 14:30:01 »
Mike Palmer asked the Naked Scientists:
We know the boiling  point of water is 100 degrees, and the 'medium' that is transporting the heat in a casserole is mainly water, why do cook books advise cooking a casserole at 180 degrees?

The bottom line is what temperature is the meat/veg cooking at?

If this subject has come up before, please forgive me. It's great to listen to you.


Mike Palmer, Henley on Klip

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 10/02/2014 14:30:01 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: What temperature is my casserole at 180C?
« Reply #1 on: 10/02/2014 16:40:12 »
If you look at a meat thermometer, they will all stop at about 190F, or 90C, not even the boiling point of water.  A candy thermometer, however, may go up to about 400F or 200C.

Air is not particularly efficient at transferring heat to whatever you are cooking, so you must get the temperature somewhat higher than the desired end-temperature.  It also takes some time for heat to spread throughout whatever you are cooking.  Boiling water as well as changing chemical bonds will absorb heat slowing the cooking process.

The speed at which an item is cooked (raising the core temperature, and perhaps duration) as well as evaporation of liquid will help determine the final texture of your food, and the "crust" that is formed on it.  If it is primarily an aqueous mixture, the middle of the food will not get above the boiling temperature of water, although the outer crust may get somewhat above boiling which would determine what kind of a crust is formed on it.  How much boiling that occurs will determine how dry your final dish will be.

Oil can get to be significantly higher than the boiling point of water, and one should use caution when tossing something with a lot of moisture into a pan full of hot oil.  Likewise, a sugar-type candy may also be cooked above the boiling point of water.