- What is Browning?
- How to get perfect Browning?
- Best Way to Brown Food- Searing
- Cast Iron: Perfect cookware for Searing & Browning
- FAQs about cast iron and Browning :
1. What is Browning?
Browning denotes the process where food, during the process of cooking in a cast iron cookware, turns brown due to the chemical reactions that take place in the food. This chemical reaction, also known as Maillard reaction, propels new flavours and enhances the existing ones. This process was defined by Louis Camille Maillard in the early 1900s, hence the name. This technique primarily removes excessive fat from meat or other veggies and renders a flavourful brown coloured crust. The Maillard reaction transpires only in food items that are not made of sugar (meat, bread and so on). The reaction begins with the carbohydrate molecule and amino acid, wherein the latter makes the reaction more complex than caramelization. This complexity accentuates the flavours!
2. How to get perfect Browning?
The answer is simple- high heat! Browning occurs quickly when food is exposed to high heat. The process usually starts when the cookware surface rises above 212°F (100°C). This explains why you don’t get any browning when you are boiling or steaming food.
3. Best Way to Brown Food- Searing
Searing: This happens when you cook something at high heat until a brown crust forms. Apart and along with meat, you can also sear a whole lot of food items like cauliflower, green beans, potatoes and so on. Searing exposes ingredients to the high heat to create a crisp browning on the outside and enhances the flavour of the dish. This method of cooking can be done with very little oil. The aim is not actually to thoroughly cook the food, instead to develop a dark brown crust on the outside. When you sear meat or any veggie, you actually caramelise the natural sugars present and brown the proteins, giving a rich brown crust on the surface of the meat that amplifies the savoury quotient of the food.
4. Cast Iron: Perfect cookware for Searing & Browning
Cast iron excels over other cookware materials in many ways. The heat level in a cast iron doesn't fluctuate unlike a thin pan. This makes a cast iron cookware the perfect choice for foods- meats and veggies- that need high heat. Foods that need a hard sear but shouldn't be scorched, or roasts that need to be browned before braising, cook beautifully in a cast iron cookware.
Browning or searing food in a cast-iron pan is ideal because a preheated pan provides the intense heat needed to sear the exterior of any food item to a crispy, golden-brown delight, while also cooking its interior to perfection. Cast iron pan retains a great deal of heat, therefore, is the first choice to browning and searing any vegetable, cornbread or meat.
5. FAQs about cast iron and Browning :
Q: Does food taste better when cooked in cast iron?
A: Yes as a cast iron cookware is great for browning and searing- the cooking techniques that are proven to intensify the food flavour.
Q: Do professional chefs use cast iron cookware?
A: Yes, because cast iron cookware is great at heat retention that allows chefs to rustle up delicious meals, including those that need browning, searing and low simmering .
Q: What is the difference between Browning and Searing?
A: Searing means cooking food at a very high heat with little oil. The objective is not to thoroughly cook the food, but just to develop a dark brown, caramelised crust. It's a step further than browning, wherein the food is just lightly cooked on the outside.
Q: Can you brown meat in a non-stick cookware?
A: When cooking meats, non-stick won't give you the crunchy texture or all-over browning that make the food extra sumptuous. Non-stick pans are not good for high heat cooking, thus, go for a cast iron cookware.
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