Why Food Sticks

You’re cooking breakfast.

You’ve chosen some beautifully fresh eggs, and whisked them perfectly with just a splash of milk, the perfect pinch of salt and pepper, and of course your own secret ingredient. Once you’ve trapped in enough air to make them as light as a dream, you gently pour them into the pan, which you have heated up to a precise 149° farenheit[1]. You watch closely, carefully agitating the liquid around the pan, as the whites begin to set within the yellowy mixture.

The phone rings.

Once. You turn to the source of the noise. Twice. You wonder who it could be, but decide that the eggs are more important. You turn back to the stove, but it’s too late; that split second of distraction has caused your eggs to fuse inseparably to the pan. Breakfast is ruined.

What makes Food Stick?

When your eggs, or any other foods, stick to the pan what you are actually seeing is a complex chemical reaction. The proteins in the food react with the metal of the pan to create strong bonds, which anchor your meal to the microscopic canyons and craters in the surface of the metal. This isn’t actually a side-effect of the food being too hot, quite the opposite in fact. Once the food heats up to an adequate temperature it will start to react with something other than the metal, meaning that sticking won’t be a problem.

When you use a fat such as olive oil in the pan whilst cooking, the liquid fills these microscopic valleys in the metal, and as the oil heats up, it reacts with the metal, so that when you add the food to the pan, very few metal atoms are available to react with the food, and to cause it to stick.

Which types of Food Stick?

As it is the proteins that are the most efficient at forming these bonds with the metal, it is protein rich foods that are the worst culprits for sticking to the pan[2]. All foods have the potential to stick if left unattended, or if they are added to a very hot pan whilst still cold, but it is the ones with high levels of proteins, such as eggs, cheese, fish, and meats, that are the ones that have to be paid the most attention to.

What can you do?

If your food does stick to the surface, there’s no need to worry about how difficult it might be to clean the pan, and there’s no need to put it in to soak. The Powerball in Finish Quantum Max and All in One dishwasher tablets acts as a pre-soak, breaking down those complex proteins and the bonds they have formed with the metal, to help remove any burnt or dried on foods, giving you a great result first time.

Every dish. Every time.




[1] http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2014/11/11/this-not-whole-egg-that-not-bacon/WN3mEBTcvBKpD1278Uj3DM/story.html

[2] http://www.rsc.org/Education/Teachers/Resources/kitchenchemistry/docs/SS10b.pdf