Improve Your Home Cooked Meals with Soft Water

When you’re working hard in the kitchen to make a meal your family will love it’s important to use the right ingredients. One of the most basic ingredients that are often overlooked by many cooks is water. In fact, water can have a major effect on the color and flavor of the food that you prepare with it. More than 80% of homes in the U.S. are supplied with hard water that contains minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Let’s take a closer look at how hard water can affect various kinds of cooking methods and some ways to fix the problem. Improve Your Home Cooked Meals with Soft Water

Baking

Baking is almost an art form in some homes and people that can bake perfect cakes and cookies are admired for their craft. If you find that you’re struggling with your baking recipes, there may be a problem with your water. Hard water contains dissolved minerals that can affect the performance of yeast and change the structure of gluten. This can result in dough that is tough or even rubbery in texture. These hard minerals will also affect your flour by making it harder for the proteins to absorb the water. Hard water could slow down yeast fermentation and result in a tightening effect. The pH level of your water is important for baking, and a higher or more alkaline level is not ideal. Most experts recommend a slightly acidic pH level just below 7 for your baking to give the yeast the best environment possible.

Cooking

These same dissolved minerals can also affect both the appearance and texture of the food that you cook. Vegetables that are blanched or boiled in hard water can easily become tough and pale in color. Hard water can also increase cooking times for legumes and pulses, and rice can feel harder. It takes longer to boil hard water because the minerals actually increase the boiling point and this can affect timing when planning a quick meal. Municipal water contains chlorine which acts as a disinfectant to keep the water clean and safe to drink. Unfortunately, those with a good palate may be able to taste chlorine, and it can also have a bleaching effect on the color of your cooked food. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, it isn’t likely that you will like it any better in your food. Any dried foods, such as noodles, beans, and rice, will absorb the water during cooking and absorb that same tap water flavor.

The Solution

Many culinary experts agree that it’s vital to get the right water to meet your meal preparation needs. Food that’s been prepared in good quality water will taste better, look great and be easier to prepare. The best way to remove water hardness is to install a water softening system, but this is only part of the solution. A water softener cannot remove contaminants, such as chlorine, bacteria, and viruses that also affect your water quality. If you want to remove the chlorine taste in your water a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration system is the best method. In fact, RO water is very slightly acidic which makes it a great option for those that like to bake or would like to try.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
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