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Cooking Techniques: Moist Heat, Poaching

Cooking Techniques: Moist Heat, Poaching

Poaching Temperature is 160° F to 180° F

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This is the most debated of all moist heat cooking temperatures. Some cooks have poaching as a reduced simmer while others use much lower temperatures. I personally prefer the lower temperatures of between 160° F to 180° F.You should be able to see the water moving in your pan, but bubbles should be scarce and small. A higher altitude cook will need to adjust the burner, so vigorous bubbling does not damage the food.

Foods that are Poached

This is the temperature used for poaching fish, eggs and fruit. The gentle movement of the cooking liquid prevents the food from getting torn apart.

Cooking Tips for Poaching Foods:

Poaching Eggs Tips
  • Quality eggs work best for poaching. Choose at least Grade A.
  • Use fresh eggs.
  • Break an egg onto a plate and then slide it off into the water.
  • Don’t salt the water as it interferes with coagulation.
  • Place the egg in a boiling bag. This controls the spreading of the egg.
  • You can always use a knife to cut off the raggedy ends.
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Poaching Fruits Tips
  • Pears, apples, grapes, cherries and peaches can be poached.
  • Don’t poach in water. Use juice, wine, etc.
  • Cover the fruit with liquid
  • The fruit will need to be turned once or twice while cooking.
  • Starchy fruits are best if boiled.
Poaching Fish Tips
    Poach for 5 to 7 minutes for each inch of thickness or until internal temperature is 145°.Water temperature depends on the size of fish you are poaching.

  • For small filets poach in hot water for a quick cook.
  • McGee recommends putting medium size fillets briefly in hot water than pouring cool liquid over and finish cooking at poaching temp. This kills microbes on the skin.
  • Water, stock, wine, and oil can be used as the liquid.
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Sources:
Jill Norman,The Cook’s Book,(New York;D K Publishing,2005).
Mark Bittman,How to Cook Everything,(Hoboken, New Jersey;John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,2008).
Harold McGee,On Food and Cooking,(New York;Scribner).

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