How to Determine Doneness of Foods

How to Determine Doneness of Foods

Part of becoming a great cook is developing your sensitivity to and intimacy with food. That is to learn how food changes as it cooks and to recognize the visual and tactile clues that let you know when it's done. There are so many variables at play when you're cooking - reliability of the oven thermostat, size and texture of ingredients, size, material and type of cooking equipment and stovetop heat that you can't rely on recipes or cooking times to tell you exactly when the food is done. To cook well, you need to be able to judge how the food is cooking so that you can adjust temperature and timing as you go along. Judging doneness by texture and appearance may be difficult at first, but you can practice by looking and touching foods, guessing at how they're cooking, and then confirming your guesswork by cutting into the food or, in some cases, b y checking the food's internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

To tell when a steak is done -

  • Rare meat feels fleshy to the touch. As the meat barely approaches being medium-rare, beads of red juices will start to form on its surface.

  • Medium-rare meat will  barely bounce back to the touch.

  • Medium meat will feel distinctly firm to the touch and pink juices will form on its surface.

  • Medium-well meat will feel very firm. Brown and pink juices will form on its surface.

  • Well-done meat will feel hard to the touch and any juices released will be brown.

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