Heat exchange
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DRAFT ONLY. Heat exchange. Foundation. Learning objectives. To know the methods of heat exchange. To identify use of heat exchange in different cooking methods. Heat exchange.

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Heat exchange l.jpg


Heat exchange


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Learning objectives

  • To know the methods of heat exchange.

  • To identify use of heat exchange in different cooking methods.

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Heat exchange

The transfer of heat to or from particular foods is important in both domestic food preparation and industrial food manufacture.

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Application of heat

The application of heat in the preparation of a food or mixture may:

• improve digestibility;

• improve appearance, flavour, odour and texture;

• increase the availability of nutrients;

• prevent spoilage;

• increase keeping qualities.

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Removal of heat

  • The removal of heat, or cooling of foods may:

  • modify appearance and texture, e.g. formation of ice crystals;

  • prevent spoilage, i.e. retard growth of micro-organisms;

  • increase keeping qualities, by preventing spoilage;

  • aid processing, e.g. tempering meat before slicing.

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Methods of heat exchange

The principles of heat exchange are the same, whether they are applied on a small domestic or large industrial scale.

All of the following methods are used in the application of heat to, or removal of heat from a food product.

One method or several may be in action at any time, depending on the food and the time and equipment available.

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Methods of heat exchange

As a food is heated, its molecules absorb energy and vibrate more vigorously. The faster they move, the more the temperature of the food rises. If heat is removed, the molecules become less active, reducing the foods temperature.

Heat can be exchanged in three ways:

• conduction;

• convection;

• radiation.

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  • Conduction is the exchange of heat by direct contact with foods on a surface, for example:

  • stir-frying vegetables in a wok,

  • pasteurising milk in a plate heat-exchanger

  • making ice cream.

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Convection is the exchange of heat by the application of a gas or liquid current, e.g. boiling potatoes in hot water, frying, baking bread or blasting cold air through peas to freeze them.

The processes of convection and conduction may work together in order to exchange heat.

For example, first the surface of a

baked potato is heated by convection

then the heat is conducted through to

the centre of the potato.

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Radiation is energy in the form of rays. The rays pass through the air until they come into contact with the food, some are absorbed while others are reflected.

Grilling involves the use of infra-red heat rays created by gas flames, charcoal or glowing electric elements.

Microwaves are electromagnetic radiators of high energy and short wavelengths. They quickly heat anything containing water, by causing the water present to oscillate (i.e. vibrate) which produces heat.

Sun drying is a traditional method of using the sun’s rays to preserve food.

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Review of the learning objectives

  • To know the methods of heat exchange.

  • To identify use of heat exchange in different cooking methods.

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For more information visit www.nutrition.org.ukwww.foodafactoflife.org.uk