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Shun Serrated 6 inch "Ultimate Utility" Knife: why not sold in Japan?

I think you're kinda misunderstanding what child safe knives are. They're not 'child-safe' because they're serrated. Rather they're serrated because they're 'child-safe.'

In other words, the point of a child safe knife is that it's (usually) made of plastic and (always) not sharp. They're safe not because they're serrated but because they're so dull that it's tough to cut yourself with one. The only way to make a knife that's not sharp but still cuts reasonably well is to make it serrated. They're dull plastic saws, which works a little bit better for cutting soft foodstuffs than dull straight-edge sheets of plastic.

May 20, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

Santoku knife- What do you use for that you wouldn't use a chef knife?

No offense Caroline, but a santoku isn't really singled beveled either. Not even the Japanese-made ones.

Chinese cleavers are indeed pretty great though.

Shun Serrated 6 inch "Ultimate Utility" Knife: why not sold in Japan?

I guess it's hard to argue with your claim that a knife marketed as a tool for sandwiches is less popular where sandwiches aren't as popular for the obvious reasons.

I'm not clear on whether you think the relative scarcity of sandwiches in Japan accounts for the unpopularity of serrated knives in general there. In general, I tend to doubt that proposition.

Earlier, I left out one of the biggest reasons why serrated knives became more popular in the West vs the East - that is, the Western tradition of having sharp table knives at all. The Western steak (or some other large uncut lump of protein) is generally served with a sharp-ish knife to help the diner cut his or her own bite-sized pieces on the dinner plate. In the East, the knifework is generally done in the kitchen where said foods can be cut on a softer surface and the food is served bite-sized. Of course, it's not that serrated knives cut meat any better than straight edges do, but rather that serrated knives aren't rendered useless nearly so quickly by contact with ceramic dinner plates.

This, perhaps more than anything, has led to the profusion of serrated knives in the Western kitchen - when cooks found their straight edge knives in need of a serious sharpening, they could always more or less get the job done by grabbing a serrated steak knife instead. And I suspect that as more people did this more frequently, sharpening itself became a less common skill, reinforcing the sales of serrated knives on the market.

The advantages of a serrated edge for cutting, say, bread or tomatoes are fairly minimal when compared to genuinely sharp straight edge knives. The big advantage of serrations is in the durability of the edge. When the Western steak-on-a-plate becomes ubiquitous in Japan, that's when I suspect you'll see sales of serrated knives soar.

"All true, but is he willing to dip his treasured tool into creme cheese, mayo, peanut butter, or strawberry jam, and spread it on the bread? I doubt it."
______
Cream cheese, sure. You're right of course that I'm not going to scrape out a glass jar with a finely sharpened straight edge knife, especially when I always have a butter knife around. But it's not like I wouldn't deign to soil my blades with a little mayo or something.

Shun Serrated 6 inch "Ultimate Utility" Knife: why not sold in Japan?

You keep on alluding to somewhat nebulous 'cultural' reasons for the Japanese not using serrated knives. I'm wondering what those cultural factors might be more specifically.

I think the Japanese emphasis on presentation probably plays a part - many of the knife cuts you see for decorative flourishes in Japanese cooking don't work with serrated knives. Even if you watch something like Cookingwithdog on youtube (highly recommended btw) which is geared towards Japanese home cooking, you'll still see a surprising emphasis on garnish and knifework compared to American home cooking.

Likewise, it's possible that the Japanese are less apt to view their tools as disposable. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the Japanese hold skilled but humble craftsmen like knifemakers in higher regard than Americans do. And it might follow that the Japanese are similarly more likely to value the craftsmanship of their tools. Most Americans who use serrated knives tend to view them as maintenance-free tools that are essentially disposable once they no longer cut well.

That said, I still very much suspect that the different customs for sharpening knives plays a huge role.

Scientific Methods Misapplied to the Evaluation of Cuisine

I've very rarely seen the scientific method applied to study of food and taste. Though the few cases I have, such as some of Heston Blumenthal's writings, have been very interesting. I suspect the OP is not really referring to the scientific method in the first place, but merely to describing foods and eating via objective statements about how the food appears, tastes, or was prepared.

There are admittedly some issues with conflating objective statements about a food ('the french fries were crispy') with a judgement of its quality or value - in part because even those objective statements are somewhat hard to quantify (how crispy were they?), but more so because these statements often presuppose a correct or ideal way to prepare a food (e.g. crispy fries) that may either ignore the preferences of some people or even kind of color your perception of food via these expectations.

On the other hand, this is inevitable. Meanwhile, descriptions of food relying only on the subjective impressions would tend to be impoverished, uninformative, and uninteresting.

May 16, 2015
cowboyardee in General Topics

$15 hr min. wage x zero hours =?

I think you're misunderstanding me more than I'm misunderstanding you. The first sentence above was (perhaps crudely) stating the realities of the options for the chronically impoverished. I did not intend to imply that you are heartless, but merely unrealistic and shortsighted (to put it bluntly). Apologies for the way it sounded.

My point was that improving your lot in life tends to be harder the less you have. The problem with impoverished adults is not only that they don't have money. Many have very little free time, as so much of their time is devoted to making ends meet in the most basic sense - whether that's holding two jobs, struggling through the bureaucracy of minimally helpful entitlement programs, clipping coupons and bargain hunting like a part time job in its own right, or wasting hours every day busing to whatever work is available for someone with their skill set. Many impoverished adults already have debts weighing them down, from healthcare bills to credit card debts to back rent to student loan debt for skills that turned out to be nearly worthless in today's job market. And kids to raise.

Just as importantly, one of the skills you might take for granted is the simple ability to search out helpful programs or better job opportunities. And to separate the good options from the bad. As you're a relatively bright individual with easy access to and familiarity with a computer, command of standard written English, and most likely plenty of people in your life who are not impoverished and can give you good financial advice, it is probably easy for you to imagine that others would simply stumble upon all of the programs designed to allow for upward mobility and sort out which of those programs make sense for them. But in many cases, that's incorrectly assuming others have the same advantages you do.

Finally, the simple fact of the matter is that our current economy NEEDS unskilled workers. If every single person in America somehow went and earned a doctorate... there would be a lot of PhD's working in fast food. Asking an individual to improve themselves and their circumstances is one thing; asking an entire underclass to do the same is IMPOSSIBLE. The only way an economy's entire underclass improves their circumstances is if they get compensated better for the same work.

FWIW, I never saw your original reply.

$15 hr min. wage x zero hours =?

By 'accept any responsibility,' I can only assume you mean quietly resign themselves to poverty and/or die?

One of the most basic problems with poverty is that it tends to leave you without the resources to improve your lot and build valuable skills in the first place.

Shopping for carbon steel chef's knife: Gyutos, bunkas, brands on a budget, and how to choose?

I bought mine from Keiichi/bluewayJapan on Ebay (baby was back-ordered at the time ;) Chefknivestogo.com now sells Yusukes as well, though they didn't at the time. Keiichi was able to offer me a number of customized options after I emailed him - I don't know whether Mark from CKTG would do the same or not.

The edge itself on the Yusuke is nearly 50/50. Maybe just a little asymmetrical (55/45?). And the handle is octagonal and does not favor either hand. But the face of the blade is slightly 'handed' or asymmetrical as well. The front (right side, for rightys) of the knife is very slightly convex, while the back of the blade is nearly straight or flat. The lefty version I bought was switched so the left side was convexed with the right flat. This has a subtle and minor advantage in terms of how food releases from the blade in usage.

With a knife as thin as the Yusuke, this makes very little difference. A thicker and highly asymmetrical blade might feel uncomfortable or inefficient for a lefty, but the Yusuke and various 'lasers' are all designed to minimize cutting resistance rather than for highly convex and asymmetrical blade geometry. You could use a righty version and be perfectly happy with the performance of the blade.

In my particular case, I was not only trying to buy a nice knife, but to scratch an itch, so to speak. I knew I didn't want to have any 'what ifs' after I bought my blade - I wanted something something as close to ideal as possible (at least for the type of knife I was buying). The lefty version only cost me an extra $30 or so, which was worth it to me - even though, again, the difference in performance is minimal in a knife so thin. It made the knife feel more 'special' and personalized, and was a little insurance against second thoughts and my own wandering eye for gyutos.

Here is a thread I posted at the time I bought the knife. It has a few pics, a more thorough review. At the very least, it'll explain the 'baby' joke early in this post.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757992

May 13, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

Shun Serrated 6 inch "Ultimate Utility" Knife: why not sold in Japan?

Possibly, but then a serrated knife isn't really necessary for cutting a sandwich, at least if your straight edge knives are sharp.

Of course, the Shun utility knife in question seems like it was specially designed for spreading mayo - kind of a combination of a spatula and a knife - so it makes sense that it would be marketed specifically in places where people eat a lot of sandwiches. But that doesn't explain the difference in popularity of serrated knives in general for the two countries.

May 13, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

Shopping for carbon steel chef's knife: Gyutos, bunkas, brands on a budget, and how to choose?

Hi Wabi.

I did buy the 240 gyuto. Specifically, I bought the hitachi white #2 steel version, and had it made for a lefty. It's doing very well. Still my favorite knife to use for most tasks in the kitchen. No regrets.

A few things to consider though:
- Keep in mind that we are talking about a very thin knife here. I don't baby mine, but I don't put it through chicken backs or open cans with it either.

- The price has increased since I bought mine. Tends to happen with Japanese knives as they make a name for themselves. The Yusuke got a lot of very good reviews, and the price of both the Yusuke and some of its closest competitors went up.

- The most direct competition is probably the Konosuke knives. Most comparative reviews note that the fit & finish is better on the Yusuke. Quite a few reviews claim that the more convex grind on the Yusuke is slightly better than the flatter grind on the Konosuke while still managing to be just about as thin behind its edge - I can't confirm this personally though, and frankly I suspect we're splitting hairs between two grinds that are nearly identical. At the same time, the Konosuke HD steel has been praised more than Yusuke's white #2 or swedish stainless steels. I personally like white #2 quite a bit, since it sharpens so easily and well. But if you happen to be a professional cook or have any reservations about owning a non-stainless blade, then stainless might be the way to go, and the Konosuke HD will probably hold an edge longer than the stainless version of the Yusuke.

Another competitor is the Gesshin Ginga. I believe this is an update of the Ashi Hamono knives that I considered when I bought my Yusuke initially, but with rounded spines and choils similar to the Yusuke. The price is about the same, and the reviews are good. Probably quite similar to the Yusuke. Though I'm not sure whether JKI is back ordered or out of stock. These are available with Western handles, if that's something that interests you. I'm not certain, but I think this one also comes with a saya.

May 13, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

Shun Serrated 6 inch "Ultimate Utility" Knife: why not sold in Japan?

"There seems to be much more interest in serrated utility knives in the United States than Japan. Why?"
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If I had to guess, I'd say that maybe Japanese cooks are more likely to do their own sharpening or pay a local sharpener to keep their knives sharp than American cooks are. I have no real idea if this is true or not, but it would explain the relative popularity of serrated knives on the American market vs the Japanese one.

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

I don't really want to get much into the realm of medical advice here, but I'll say this:

If you left the hospital under the impression that your atrial fibrillation was 'caused' by MSG and that you would only be in that heart rhythm if you were to eat MSG again, your doctor needs to explain that particular disorder to you a little better. It's not uncommon, for one. For another, it's nearly certain that your heart has been into and out of and back into atrial fibrillation before and since and you merely didn't notice. And claiming it's caused by MSG is at best completely unproven.

How and how often do you sharpen your knives?

Yeah, I'm basically using the stone just like others might use a ceramic honing rod.

It's a bit of a combination - somewhat proactive and somewhat reactive - though the knife never gets 'dull' by most people's standards. The upside of using such a high grit stone for touchups is there's basically no worries about removing enough steel to make any real difference to the lifespan of the knife, no matter how frequently you do it.

May 05, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware
1

Dishwasher Safe Knives...is there such a thing?

It's a legit concern. I considered mentioning it, but there was no particular reason to with respect to the post I was replying to. That said...

There are typically four objections to putting knives in the dishwasher. People can decide for themselves whether these objections apply to them and whether they're worth it based on their preferences and what knives they have.

1) Some claim a dishwasher ruins the temper of a knife. This one (and this one only) is mostly hogwash AFAIK. Maybe if we were talking about an autoclave or something. But for a normal dishwasher, I suspect this is a pure myth.

2) A dishwasher is tough on certain kinds of handles. This is true. Most wooden handles can slowly be damaged by a dishwasher. Impregnated wood fares somewhat better than non-impregnated. Plastic handles are often fine. But it's a concern.

3) Corrosion. Legit concern. Carbon (non-stainless) steel knives should never go in a dishwasher. Even stainless knives can still rust depending on the steel and detergent used. I think other factors such as the dishwasher itself and the local water can make a difference, but not nearly as much of one as the makeup of the knife and the detergent. Also, even if a knife does not rust in an obvious way, minor corrosion can have a minor dulling effect on a very fine edge - most people don't keep their edges sharp enough to notice this, but it's a possibility.

4) Knives can bang into each other or other hard surfaces during a dishwasher cycle. This can be avoided depending on how exactly the knives are positioned and braced in the dishwasher. But I suspect that many people don't carefully position and brace their knives (if you didn't mind the extra work, why not just hand wash them?). This is a major cause of dulling in the DW, much like placing knives loosely into a drawer to bang around against each other.

May 05, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so! . . . at least with my Knives.

"BTW it only creates a conical edge shape (not sure whether this is good or bad)."
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Most people call that a convex edge. There's nothing at all wrong with a convex edge. In fact, it tends to have some minor but real upsides over straight edge bevels. Only downside is it would take longer to sharpen the first time if you were to switch to some other sharpening system that creates flatter bevels.

"What I'm still having questions about is what edge angles I should be using."
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The real answer is there is no answer. There's a whole lot of (mostly bad) advice out there that you should maintain the factory edge angles on your knives for optimal performance. While its true that maintaining the factory edge angles can keep you from actively hurting your knives' performance, there are many situations in which you get the best results from trial and error - from finding the edge angles that give you the best cutting performance without going so low as to cause the edge to fail. This depends largely on how you personally use your knives, not just steel type, hardness, etc. For people with the means and patience to do so, I recommend slowly lowering the edge angles on most knives by a degree or two at a time until you start to notice more frequent microchipping or an edge that easily folds. At that point either try adding a microbevel or else take the edge up by a couple degrees.

The edge angles you listed are fine and generally appropriate angles for the kinds of knives you have. Can you go lower without significantly hurting the durability and edge retention of your blades? Quite possibly. But the only way to know is to experiment.

As you get a more advanced and nuanced understanding of sharpening and Japanese knives, the one thing I'd advise you to take notice of is asymmetrical edge bevels. Technically speaking, you don't absolutely have to maintain asymmetrical edge geometry on most Japanese knives which are slightly asymmetrical (though extreme asymmetry or single beveled edges really should be maintained). But with that said, asymmetrical knives are asymmetrical for a reason, and it does help the knife's performance somewhat.

I'm not certain of the edge bevels in the kikuichi you're considering, but I think it's likely the knife comes with a slightly asymmetrical edge and grind (maybe in the 60/40 range).

May 05, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so! . . . at least with my Knives.

Frankly, I suspect the Ken Onion system can probably do whatever you need it to do - it's basically a small belt sander with an angle guide, right? The problem with that isn't that it doesn't work well - it should work fine if used well. Rather the problem is mainly its potential to exacerbate user error. There's also the potential to achieve good results, but remove a lot of metal in doing so, which would limit your knives' life spans. Both would depend on your skill level. But if you're getting good results from it without removing a lot of metal with each sharpening, then no worries. You likely wouldn't need stones at all unless you get into single beveled knives or other more complicated edge geometries.

Sounds like a cool/weird old knife you have. Looking forward to seeing a pic or two.

May 05, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

How and how often do you sharpen your knives?

Hey Sherri.

My most used knife is a 240mm Yusuke gyuto, with a lefty grind. I touch it up on an 8k grit Naniwa Superstone.

You could go as low as 4k grit just as well for the kind of touch-ups I'm doing. The main reason I use the 8k stone is because it only needs to be splashed with water, while my other relatively fine stones need to be soaked. A loaded strop or stropping on newspaper are also decent alternatives.

Dishwasher Safe Knives...is there such a thing?

No offense sue, but knifesavers is well aware of the difference between carbon steel and stainless. I very much doubt he would put a carbon steel blade in the dishwasher in the first place.

Stainless steel blades can rust given the right conditions. Some stainless steels are more rust prone than others, some dishwasher cycles are longer than others, and some detergents are more likely to encourage rusting than others as well. I don't doubt posters who say they've put their knives in the dishwasher and never experienced rusting; but I also don't doubt people who claim that they have had rust issues, even with stainless steel. Since all of the knives rusted in knifesaver's case, I suspect the detergent used, the length of the cycle, the internal temperature of the dishwasher, and/or the makeup of the local water all played their parts.

May 04, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

FINALLY... a real, honest-to-Hashem method for making real lower east side SALT FERMENTED KOSHER DILL PICKLES, as directed by Moe, a 90+ year old former pickle master

MrTaster - I've been reading this thread semi-diligently for a few years now without commenting, and I guess now is as good time as any to thank you for the effort you've put in. Definitely one of my favorites.

May 04, 2015
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so! . . . at least with my Knives.

"Also on the link that you provided I saw a new knife, a Kohetsu Western AS"
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I love aogami super steel, but you should bear in mind that it is carbon. It seems as though the rest of the knife if cladded, and AS can sometimes form a quick patina that protects its edge during usage, which leaves it on the low-fuss end of the spectrum. But still, bear in mind that it ain't stainless.

I don't know much about the Kohetsu. It looks like a pretty decent pick, I'd say. Nice look, good steel, nice profile. From the profile and the reviews (note there are more reviews of the wa handled version, but the blades are probably similar-to-identical), I suspect it's a fairly thin knife, not unlike the kikuichi knives you've been looking at. Good reason to be optimistic about that knife.

Chem mentioned the hiromoto AS gyuto above - that was one of my first Japanese knives, and still one of my favorites. It's a much meatier (thicker, heavier) knife than many of the other gyutos you've mentioned. It was super popular on various forums some years ago, though the tide has generally shifted towards thinner blades. With that said, it cuts better and more easily than you would expect of a knife of its size - it compares surprisingly well to the ultra-thin style of gyutos affectionately known as 'lasers.' This is in part due to the overall grind, and in part due to how well AS steel takes an edge (note it's tempered a little lower than the Kohetsu). But also because I took the edge angles down and thinned the knife a bit behind its edge. My point is this: the hiromoto is an especially great knife if you can sharpen and reprofile a knife or are interested in learning to do so. AS steel supports low angles especially well, while Hiromoto gives you enough knife/steel to work with that you can really experiment with different things and build the edge to your own preferences. It's a very good knife in general, and a great knife for the right kind of user.

"HRC of 64 seems very hard. Would a knife of this hardness be more brittle and easier to chip etc?"
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As a rule of thumb, the harder a knife is and the lower the edge angle, the more likely it is to chip. With that said, some steels chip more easily than others at a given hardness and angle, and sometimes the same steel can be more or less prone to chipping depending on who is tempering it. It's not uncommon to temper aogami super to hrc 64 - it's not so chip-prone that I would expect chipping as a matter of course. But it certainly can chip if dropped, used against hard surfaces/bones/frozen foods, used with a lot of force and a sloppy cutting motion, etc.

You have to make something of an educated guess about how roughly you treat your knives. It also helps to do your own sharpening, since more minor issues like microchipping (barely visible chips) can often be solved by increasing your edge angle a couple degrees or applying a microbevel.

May 04, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

Q & A Format -- Horrible

The only half-decent way to use Q&A is as a janky poll format. I agree that just allowing users to post polls directly would have been more reasonable and less likely to crap up other threads by new users that would be better addressed in a conversation format.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/983851
As you can see, the ability to post a poll directly was the most upvoted alternative to the q&a format. That said, q&a seems to have the full support of CH's management, so it will probably stay around for a while regardless of the consistently poor user feedback.

It's not a format. It's a trap.

May 04, 2015
cowboyardee in Site Talk
1

I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so! . . . at least with my Knives.

I don't believe I've personally used or sharpened a kikuichi molybdenum gold knife. It's probably pretty decent, as kikuichi generally makes pretty decent Japanese knives. That said, I'll point out that the kikuichi TKC is a perennial favorite on the various knife forums - so much so that I'd have a hard time looking past it if I were in the market for a kikuichi knife. It is a bit more expensive though.
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ictkcgy...

Also, if you're looking to save a little money, many knowledgeable users have noted that the Carbonext gyuto has a very similar look and feel during usage to the kikuichi TKC. Like the Tojiro DP, it's also one of the best deals in Japanese chef knives. It does lack some of the f&f refinements of the TKC though (such as the fully rounded spine).
http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAG...

Finally, I'll throw this out there: if you're used to 8 inch Western chef knives, consider buying a 240 mm gyuto, which is generally just as easy to handle as an 8 inch Western (mainly because it's lighter). It's pricier but more efficient, giving you more straight(ish) edge for chopping at the heel, more length along the gentle curved middle section which can offset the difficulty of rock chopping with a gyuto, and longer length is generally better for slicing as well. Maybe not ideal for a tiny kitchen or very tight budget, but a 240mm blade definitely has some advantages worth looking into.
ETA: sorry I didn't notice you were already looking at longer knives. Thumbs up.

May 04, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

How and how often do you sharpen your knives?

I'm another waterstone guy. My most used chef's knife gets touched up quite often on a fine stone, and gets a full resharpening maybe every 6 months or so. My other knives get sharpened when they're dull, which can vary quite a bit. Free-handing is among the most effective and versatile ways to sharpen if you learn to do it well, but obviously there's an investment in both equipment and time/skill-building, so it's not ideal for everyone.

I actually think some of the edge pro knockoffs you're considering might work pretty well. And it's very possible that you can even upgrade the abrasives on one if you're interested. At <$30, I think they're a decent gamble. The main issue with that gamble though is that if they have some defect that has the potential to cause problems with your knives, it might be hard to figure out and avoid, given that you don't have much experience sharpening. I'm sure you can get some trouble-shooting advice here though. If you pull the trigger on one, let us know how it's working out for you.

Sous Vide Hamburgers

Read more. There are very established principles, guidelines, and tables for this kind of thing, and the information is widely available at this point. The principles are also somewhat complicated - you won't/don't understand it by spending 30 seconds googling.Start with Douglas Baldwin's 'A Practical Guide to Sous Vide,' and proceed from there.

The OP's cooking times were admittedly insufficient for ideal pasteurization, and since Zackly practices sous vide with some regularity, I assume he knows this. But recommending cooking sous vide burgers to 160 (without even mentioning cooking time) and citing USDA recommendations indicates that you have zero familiarity with the technique.

Sous Vide Hamburgers

Read up on sous vide. USDA temperature recommendations have zero bearing on sous vide safety. Not applicable.

The myth of marble pastry boards

"If marble conducts heat better than wood, and would warm dough faster than wood, then wouldn't a cold marble board on a marble counter (at room temperature) warm up faster than on a butcher block counter?"
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Yeah, generally speaking it would. Thing is the difference would not likely be big enough to matter when we're talking about making pie crusts. Mainly because marble slabs are fairly massive and have fairly high specific heat. They just don't heat up or cool down very quickly. The surface you place a marble slab on matters in theory, but most marble slabs are big enough to render that difference moot for practical considerations. The bigger takeaway is that if you want to cool down a marble slab, you should probably either allow a while for it to get cold or use something very, very cold to chill it down quickly.

Apr 18, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

The myth of marble pastry boards

I'm not sure I'm understanding you anymore. Over the course of this thread, you've made a number of statements that appear to contradict each other.

If you agree that more highly conductive surfaces can either heat or cool objects they touch at a faster rate than less conductive surfaces in similar circumstances, then that's essentially all I was arguing in the first place.

If my examples of this general principle were faulty, you haven't made a particularly convincing case as to why and how (except in the wet towel example, admittedly).

Apr 18, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

The myth of marble pastry boards

"Oddly, I knew what I was talking about, and was correct in theory, but was wrong about the wood versus the marble."
______
Ok, I'll play. How so, exactly? My initial claim was that marble at room temperature would heat up chilled pastry dough more quickly than wood at room temperature? Do you disagree with this statement, or something else?

My examples were geared towards defeating the general claim that the conduction properties of a heat source were irrelevant when talking about heating a cooler object through direct contact. If you want to test room temp marble and chilled pastry vs wood and chilled pastry, the most reasonable experiment would be to test those interactions directly; I never intended to claim otherwise.

FWIW, you're correct that different materials absorb heat at different rates, which is of course just another aspect of conduction. You also seem to think any given material has a maximum rate at which it can be heated which cannot be exceeded no matter how much heat is applied, which is to the best of my knowledge completely incorrect (at least until we're talking on a theoretical, speed of light type scale). But I could be misunderstanding you.

Apr 18, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware

The myth of marble pastry boards

My background is more or less irrelevant, seeing as...

1) any claims anyone makes to their backgrounds on an internet forum are nearly unverifiable
and
2) we've already had people touting their chemistry degree spouting things that were demonstrably and obviously incorrect upthread.

It's the internet. I'm as correct or incorrect as my arguments are.

(but if it makes you feel better to know, I have absolutely no background besides a personal interest in materials sciences, chemistry, physics, and cooking. If you look upthread, you'll see I mentioned I studied English in college.)

Back to the examples above:
As for the second example... fair enough. The water conducts heat from the pan into itself faster than the towel alone does and thus heats up faster. It also conducts its heat into your hand more quickly than dry cloth does, as is (somewhat) evident if you quickly unfolded the dry towel and touched the part of it that held the pan... but I'll have to work harder to prove it, I guess.

Lets go back to the first example. You might notice that I wrote to leave the mitt in the oven for at least 30 minutes. You can certainly leave it in longer. You agree that it will eventually rise to the temperature of the oven, right? 30 minutes or 3 hours. You'll get the same result. If you want to control the experiment even more, use a piece of metal with the same weight as your oven mitt - maybe a large metal spoon. You'll still get the same result, though the smaller piece of metal won't retain heat as long. If you did the same experiment with marble and wooden pastry boards, you would again find the same result.

One more example? Look up pizza steels. There are about 50 million articles and posts about them, on this site and elsewhere. The point of using a slab of steel as opposed to a stone for pizza is that steel conducts heat more quickly than stone and cooks the bottoms of pizzas more quickly, leading to a more dramatic rise and more distinctive texture in a home oven. You'll find the same information on several threads on the first page of this forum. You'll find side by side comparisons. You'll find experts (the writers of Modernist Cuisine, for example) making the same claims. You'll find confirmation.

Apr 17, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware
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The myth of marble pastry boards

It's an easy experiment to prove for yourself. Place an oven mitt and a metal pan both in the oven at its lowest setting. Wait half an hour (or longer if you want). Touch each with your bare hand. The metal pan will probably be hot enough to burn you a little bit if you touch it for more than a second or two. The mitt will hot, but you can hold it without injuring yourself.

Or for a similar phenomenon. Pick up a hot pan using a dry dish towel as pot holder. Doesn't burn your hand, right? Now pour a little water on the towel. It'll burn like heck within a second or two if you pick up the same pan.

In both cases, increasing the conduction makes it easier for a hot surface to heat up (or burn) a cooler one.

Apr 17, 2015
cowboyardee in Cookware