Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by grumio, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. grumio


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    At home cook
    I realize this isn't a physics forum, but if anyone has an idea what's going on here, I'd like to hear it.

    Was reading a blog post about homemade yogurt & came across this in the comment thread:
    I was skeptical, to put it mildly. How is the bottom of the pot supposed to remember that it was cold before it got hot? What sort of force-field does this little bit of water on the bottom of the exert after you dump a half-gallon of milk on top of it?

    I make yogurt all the time, always get a pretty significant layer of scorched milk on the bottom of the pan (a heavy SS/aluminum sandwich-bottomed Vollrath) which is a PITA to scrub off; I thought what the heck, I'll give it a try.

    It works.

    Does anyone know why?

    I suppose in the name of science I should touch a metal utensil to the bottom of the pan sometime & see if that breaks the magic spell.
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    I don't know either, but I am willing to theorize.

    If a metal spoon will break the effect, it's probably because of the dielectric current that would result from the metals being dissimilar. But that would also seem to be part of the problem if you touched the sides with it too which they don't specify. hmmm.

    Sticking with the dielectric theory because I don't have any other ideas, the minerals in the ice water and the temp probably help seal off reaction points in the metal. The dielectric current from the metal spoon opensthose points so the milk bonds and scorches.

    My best guess at it anyway.
  3. chrisbelgium


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    Home Cook
    You know, it's an old grandma trick to rinse the pot with cold water first to keep milk from burning at the bottom.

    Don't ask me for an explanation but it works. 
  4. siduri


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    At home cook
    This is just conjecture, but the water probably sticks to the pot somehow, (and i'd want to experiment just putting water in, not necessarily cold) and waters down the milk near the base of the pot, but not the upper levels of the milk, which if you stirred it, the milk would be only negligibly diluted at the base of the pot.  It's the protein of the milk that makes it stick i'd imagine (if it were the sugar, it would soak off)

    Is this gibberish?