I follow Robert Krampf on Facebook and he has a wonderful “science photo of the day” feature. He asks fans to identify the object in the photo, tell what’s unusual about it or answer a question. Yesterday’s question was asking us why heating foods in water made them soggy but heating them in oil made them crispy. Fans weighed in with guesses.
Here’s his answer:
Answer to Science Photo: Marvelous! To make foods crispy, the idea is to remove water. Think about bread going stale. The hard texture is from loss of water. Hot oil heats the water in the surface of the food to the point where it boils away. If the oil is hot enough, the pressure of this water vapor keeps the oi…l from saturating the food. If the oil is not hot enough, the food will be oily. If the oil is too hot, it will start to break down, which gives it a bad flavor and smell.
Different oils work best at different temperatures. The key to frying is to have the right kind of oil at the right temperature.
I love his science newsletters and really enjoy following these cute little science photos now too.
BTW, I’m also on Twitter now as magicandmayhem. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook feel free to look me up!