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Quick question about alcohol in foods.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Does anybody know at what temp. alcohol dissipates from foods?
post #2 of 3
It never completely dissipates during typical cooking processes. If you're cooking for someone allergic to alcohol, best to leave it out altogether rather than try to simmer or flame it off. If you're talking about getting enough alcohol out to prevent drunkenness, obviously that depends on the how much you had to begin with. Rule of thumb: The longer you simmer the less alcohol you'll have. Presumably you already knew that.

Another rule of thumb: If you're cooking for someone in AA who says "no alcohol," that means no booze, as in none. That doesn't mean -- if you cook all the alcohol out of the booze I'll be alright. Don't mess with someone's program.

Let's not get the whole debate on The True Meaning of Boiling Points going again. But, the rate of evaporation depends partly on concentration. That is, more alcohol will vaporize out of a more concentrated solution more quickly, but as the solution becomes less concentrated it gives off alcohol at a lower rate. It's a kind of "half life" thing, if you know what that is. FWIW, ethyl alcohol (the kind you drink) boils at a skosh over 78C, which is itself, a skosh over 170F. But, the hotter the solution, the faster the rate of dissipation.

Returning to the practical level: It typically takes about 5 or 6 minutes at a simmer to get the "raw" taste out (longer with wine), and about a minute at a rapid boil (as in a deglaze for a pan reduction.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks, the reason I ask is that im under doctors orders to not have any quantity of alcohol over a few sips and considering the way I eat I figure I'de definately exceed that. With the slight evaporation you mentioned I think I should be alright though :)

Whats more is that i'm new to adding alcohol to foods while cooking at home as its a pain to obtain a bottle of wine being 18 and all.

I've been put off to wine in foods beause I remember once having angel hair pasta in a white wine sauce at a restaurant and every time I took a bite I could like FEEL the alcohol vapors in my mouth, it was soooo strong. Was this because the cook didn't simmer the sauce long enough or is it supposed to be that strong tasting? Literally there was a puddle of wine on the bottom, I'de estimate there was a good half cup of wine in that small plate of pasta.

I've decided to give it a chance now however as the place im working has a marinara and an alfredo with wine in it and they are pretty decent, I like the subtle flavors in them.
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