Dry Heat Cooking


Dry heat cooking is when you cook food with heat without using moisture.  We went over the basics already but will go a little bit more into depth today.  When you cook with dry heat, you get food to brown.  Browning food can only be done with dry heat and will bring out complex aromas and flavors from the food.

When you saute foods you cook them with dry heat even though you are cooking with some type of fat.  The pan is hot enough to get above 300 and that is the key difference between dry heat and moist heat cooking.  When you saute foods, mostly vegetables, you will heat the pan up very hot, and then add the fat to melt down.  You want the pan to stay hot during the entire cooking process to ensure that all the food is evenly cooked and browned.  You do not want to overload the pan or it will not stay hot enough during the process.  Normally when sauteing you will flip or toss the food to make sure that it is evenly cooked.  Saute does mean to “jump” in French.  Most saute pans will have a curbed lip to allow tossing food easier.

Roasting and baking are the next dry heat methods.  These for the most part mean similar things in that food will be cooked at or above 300 degrees and the food will be surrounded by the dry heat not just one side as referred to when you pan sear something.  Now these two words basically mean the same thing, but some will only refer to baking when you are working with breads or pastries and roasting when you are only working with meats, but you can bake a fish.  Roasting will cook meat at a higher temp and faster which will also provide more of a pronounced browning on the food.

Broiling and Grilling are the next methods we will look at.  They are basically the same in the sense that they are cooking food through dry heat and at very close proximity.  Grilling and Broiling are also cooking food at the hottest of temperatures as well and are usually left for the tenderest of meats and poultry.  Grilling and Broiling do cook foods at close proximity as mentioned before, but they differ in that grilling cooks foods from below and broiling cooks foods from above.

The final step of the dry cooking method is frying.  Now you may be thinking how is submerging foods in liquid fat a form of dry heat? Well it is.  Oil and water don’t mix so that should be the first clue.  Also, deep fried foods will also be cooked at temperatures of 325 degrees to 400 degrees.  Any more and the oil will begin to smoke and any less and the oil will tend to get into the foods and cause them to be too greasy.  The final clue should be the golden brown nature that foods get after being deep fried.  All signs of a dry heat cooking.