The Importance of Water in Your Cooking

The Importance of Water in Your Cooking

When you’re preparing a family dinner, while you may consider using the best possible quality ingredients, you may not have given any thought to the water you’re using. Water isn’t usually the first thing to think about, but preparing any meal is likely to require plenty of water. Whether you’re rinsing ingredients, steaming veggies, cleaning up dirty dishes or sipping on a glass of water in your hot kitchen, water plays a vital role. So, here we’ll look at the importance of water when you’re cooking.

Boiling and Simmering

These two basic cooking techniques are vital in any kitchen, and while they are similar, the differences between them can make the difference between an average dinner and a Pinterest worthy dish.

Boiling requires lots of rapid movement and very bubbling water. Foods cook quickly with this technique, helping you to avoid soggy pasta and dull, flavorless vegetables. Boiling can also be used to reduce sauces as the reduction processes allow water to evaporate and the flavor is intensified.

Simmering is a gentler and slower way to cook your food. This technique requires water movement, but the bubbles don’t break the water surface. This lower temperature is better for preparing delicate fish or moist meats, but you’ll need to pay more attention as the stove is kept at a medium low heat.

Water as a Solvent

The primary reason, water is vital in cooking is that it is a solvent. It helps minerals, sugars, and salts in your dish to dissolve. Most cooking ingredients are easily soluble, so the overall flavor of your dish depends on how much water has been used during the preparation.

Unfortunately, since water is a solvent, it can also introduce unwanted elements into your food. Your water may already contain minerals, such as calcium, magnesium or iron, or other contaminants that can impact your dish. For example, when you have high levels of calcium and magnesium in your water, it can affect cooking times and lead to vegetables that look dull and unappetizing. Other contaminants such as iron can create a subtle aftertaste that impacts the overall flavor of your dish.

The Effect of Water on Baking

If you enjoy baking bread, biscuits, or pastry as part of your family dinner, you should be aware of how your water quality can impact your baking. Water contaminants including high levels of minerals can interact with yeast and other rising agents to affect the overall quality of your bake. Hard water minerals can also alter the gluten structure in your bakes, as the proteins cannot absorb the water as efficiently as they should, creating a tough and rubbery dough.

Using the Best Quality Water

If you’re struggling to get the best results, even when you diligently follow a recipe, your water may be to blame. Fortunately, there are a number of water treatment options available to improve your water quality. By eliminating hard water minerals and any other contaminants, you can not only improve the taste of your water, but also how it impacts your cooking and baking.

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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