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cooking with lid

w
walnut Jun 4, 2012 07:51 AM

Can some one tell me the reason u would keep a lid on when bringing water to boil for hot dogs and when boiling add hot dogs and still keep the lid on the whole time its cooking? Also, is there much difference from dropping dogs in boiling water as opposed to bringing water and dogs tog. to a boil?
Thanks.

  1. sunshine842 Jun 4, 2012 08:12 AM

    You keep the lid on when bringing water to a boil (and when continuing to boil) because it traps the heat in the pan and conserves a little bit of energy, and it boils faster.

    This is true whether whether you're boiling hot dogs, eggs, or making water for tea.

    1. todao Jun 4, 2012 08:19 AM

      Except for the possibility that dropping dogs into the water and then bringing them to a boil as opposed to dropping them into boiling water raises their temperature more quickly and, theoretically, cooks them a bit faster, there's really no benefit to bringing the water to a boil first.
      Starting with only water and bringing it to a boil allows you to set the burner level at just about anywhere you'd like without a lot of risk, whereas dropping the dogs into the water and then bringing it to a boil would require a low heat setting or a very watchful eye (or a very large cooking vessel) to prevent the pan from boiling over,

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao
        paulj Jun 5, 2012 01:37 PM

        As with specifying a preheated oven, it is easier to give consistent cooking times when you start with boiling water. Different stoves and burners will heat the water at different rates. But if there isn't an obvious reason for starting with the hot temperature, I often skip the preheat or preboil step.

      2. eclecticsynergy Jun 4, 2012 09:49 AM

        Hot dogs are about the most forgiving and undemanding food there is when it comes to boiling 'em. You'll get pretty much the same result however you do it. Sunshine842 and tadao both have made valid points but unless you're cooking a LOT of them I think the difference will be negligible.

        1. w
          walnut Jun 4, 2012 10:07 AM

          no joke ....just learning to cook and have a lot of questions.. Thanks every one who has helped so far.

          1 Reply
          1. re: walnut
            todao Jun 4, 2012 04:44 PM

            No joke ....
            This book is a good place for you to start.
            http://www.amazon.com/Boil-Water-Food...
            and the price is right .....

          2. w
            walnut Jun 5, 2012 07:34 AM

            one more question ...with having the lid on after add ingr. would it be necc. to turn the heat down,since the lid is on? or can i leave it the same?

            3 Replies
            1. re: walnut
              Ditdah Jun 5, 2012 07:48 AM

              For hot dogs, you probably don't need to worry that much about the specific heat setting once the water is boiling, and whether the lid is on or not, as they cook pretty quickly and don't have to have a very specific water temperature - just make sure it's not boiling over.

              If you're cooking something like pasta or potatoes, the starch in the water can make it more likely to boil over, so you might need to turn the heat down a little bit after you add the ingredients (regardless of whether or not you're cooking with the lid on.) I don't typically leave the lid on for something quick-coooking like that, but still need to sometimes turn the heat down slightly. This can also be minimized by using plenty of water in a large pot - many newbies cook pasta or potatoes in way too small an amount of water, which can increase the boil-over potential, among other things.

              1. re: Ditdah
                greygarious Jun 5, 2012 12:01 PM

                You do not need to leave the heat on when cooking pasta. Just add it to boiling water, stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Let the pasta steep about 25% longer than the package cooking directions. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583856

              2. re: walnut
                s
                sueatmo Jun 5, 2012 01:19 PM

                There are probably 25 iterations of the process you are describing and there are probably adherents to each one. What I do: I bring the water to the boil, I add the hot dogs, I turn the burner down to med and prop open the lid. I might have to lift the lid a couple of times to let excess steam out (you don't want a boilover) and cook til done.

                For eggs, I put the eggs into a pot of cold water (pot should not be too large or too small for the number of eggs) and bring to the boil. I back the heat off to med, and tilt the lid slightly open and boil till done.

                My egg method is one method of many. Boiling something like a hot dog is a matter of practice. Its awfully hard to ruin a boiled hot dog. This is one of those cases where you just have to do it. You do it enough, you figure out what works for you.

                Actually these days I would grill a hot dog on my stovetop grill.

              3. pinehurst Jun 5, 2012 09:34 AM

                Hey walnut,
                You know when I was first learning to cook, I was lucky to have my family around as an instant source of why and how to do stuff, not to mention all their cookbooks and recipes! I also learned pretty young, and I think that anything learned young is a bit easier (like learning a new language, or how to swim, etc).
                But the best teacher for me has been trial and error...seeing what works, what doesn't, and why.
                If you don't have some good cookbooks to help you get practice with the basics, I would buy a few good used ones on Amazon.

                I just bought a neighbor's daughter a book called "The "I Don't Know How to Cook" Book: 300 Great Recipes You Can't Mess Up"....she's moving to her own apartment in July, and has never cooked.

                Practice will help you gain autonomy and confidence in the kitchen. Every good cook started out the same way.

                1. w
                  walnut Jun 5, 2012 02:24 PM

                  correct me if i am wrong...if i use a big enough pot with a lid and using high heat to get to a boil then add ingr. bec. my pot is big enough i can continue to boil on high heat with lid and wont have a boil over, right bec. i am using a pot big enough to hold the volume of food? I would think i would have to adjust the heat down some bec. of the heat build up with lid on? YES or no here ......Would there be allot of heat from keeping the lid on that i would have to lower the temperature?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: walnut
                    s
                    sueatmo Jun 5, 2012 05:20 PM

                    I'm with wyogal. Cook you some hot dogs and see for yourself. All stoves are different as are pots.

                    In general you bring water to a boil, and then back the heat off. There aren't a lot of things that you cook by boiling anyway. Egg, yes. Hot dogs, perhaps.

                    I'm with the other poster who suggested you are pulling a prank. And I'm done with this thread.

                    1. re: sueatmo
                      w
                      wyogal Jun 5, 2012 05:34 PM

                      Yep. along with the other boiling threads....
                      batter, batter, batter... swing! That's what ya do with a wind-up, eh?

                    2. re: walnut
                      a
                      acgold7 Jun 5, 2012 11:16 PM

                      It can still boil over due to either proteins or starches, released into the water from the food, which can foam up. Yes, you adjust the heat down once it comes up to a boil, down to maintain a simmer.

                    3. Will Owen Jun 5, 2012 02:48 PM

                      For what it's worth, one rule I learned about cooking meat in hot water is that if it's broth you want, put the meat into cold water and bring it to the boil; if it's good meat you want, boil the water and then put in the meat. Hot dogs, gee, I'm not sure. A market we were (unfortunately!) running had a client who sold them from a Crock-Pot®, all perfectly legal since they're "cooked food". His first of the day, started in cold water, tasted no discernibly different from the last. I know, because that was often my breakfast and late lunch.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Will Owen
                        paulj Jun 5, 2012 03:40 PM

                        Isn't there a long thread about using hotdog water?

                        1. re: paulj
                          Will Owen Jun 5, 2012 05:15 PM

                          There's a thread on damn near anything here somewhere. All I know is that Howard just replenished it as necessary for the eight hours or so he was in business. And the Health Dept. inspector would roll his eyes and sigh, because he SO did not approve of the whole hotdogs-are-untouchable thing, but could do nothing about it.

                          1. re: paulj
                            Veggo Jun 5, 2012 05:20 PM

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787437

                            1. re: Veggo
                              r
                              ratgirlagogo Jun 5, 2012 05:46 PM

                              Ah, the hotdog water thread. An all-time classic.

                              1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                paulj Jun 5, 2012 05:51 PM

                                I contributed to it once (or twice), and it keeps reappearing in my profile page, even though I can't think of anything else add. :)

                          2. re: Will Owen
                            sunshine842 Jun 5, 2012 11:48 PM

                            of course if it's good meat you want, you wouldn't be starting with hot dogs....

                          3. w
                            walnut Jun 5, 2012 05:45 PM

                            sorrrrrrrry for asking questions . Very new to cooking and thought this was a site for getting help. Sorry if it bothers the advance cooks,with newbie questions. Yes, i have tried and exper. but had some questions couldnt find in books.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: walnut
                              a
                              acgold7 Jun 5, 2012 11:12 PM

                              You're not doing anything wrong. Don't let 'em get to you. CHers can be a cranky bunch.

                              Hot Dogs are almost always fully cooked so all you need to do is reheat them. A lot of people like them grilled but I think they are best boiled, simmered or steamed. You can finish them on the grill if you like the grilled taste but I think the boiling is necessary first. Most packaged varieties have a slime on them that comes from the other ingredients in them, most notably the sugar and/or other starches they may contain. This slime tends to burn on the grill (this is why most cook-out grilled hot dogs come off the grill black) so the moist reheating gets this off nicely.

                              Here's what I always do: start the dogs in a frying pan with enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil, covered with a lid, and simmer for five minutes or so. Pour off the water and roll around in the hot pan over high heat until the outside crisps up a bit, or finish over a grill of your choice.

                              I like Nathans Natural Casing the best, but Hebrew Nationals and Boars Head Beef Natural Casings are pretty good too, and the giant Kirkland Brand from Costco are also fine. Pick a high quality dog you like and don't let anyone give you a hard time about it.

                              1. re: walnut
                                sunshine842 Jun 6, 2012 01:38 AM

                                Pick up a couple of the basic cookbooks that have been noted here...and since you seem to be curious as to why stuff works the way it does, pick up a copy of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, by Shirley Corriher -- it has lots of recipes, but it also tells you WHY you should do the steps in the recipe.

                              2. w
                                walnut Jun 6, 2012 07:57 AM

                                thanks for the advice on the books. In the mean time ....am i correct to think if i bring water to a boil over high heat,with lid and after boils add ingr. put lid back on and continue to boil over high heat,(and bec. i used a pot big enough to hold the volume of food) i wouldn't have to worry about a boil over? Bec. pot was big enough? And the only reason turn down heat would be to keep it at a boil only? I know stoves all work different,but am thinking right on this? Leaving on high heat and being in a big enough pan wouldnt boil over,bec. the pan is bigger? or is it a rule of thumb after comes to boil adjust heat always.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: walnut
                                  Veggo Jun 6, 2012 08:06 AM

                                  The physics of bubbles and foam is very complex. Pots and stoves do not determine what boils over. Heat and ingredients do. Foam from shimp will boil over even at a low boil. Watch your pots or be prepared for messy clean-ups.

                                  1. re: walnut
                                    Ditdah Jun 6, 2012 10:21 AM

                                    You're pretty much correct, but it really isn't a "yes or no" answer. If there's enough water, in a big enough pot, you probably can leave the lid on and won't have to adjust the heat with most ingredients.

                                    But that's not a definite rule of tumb - there are some ingredients that even if you have a huge pot, it might boil over. That's why you're getting so many people saying "it depends," as the type of food adjusts the way the water foams. It also depends on how much ingredient there is, and what kind of stove you have, as some types will be able to bring the heat of the pot up to the same temperature very quickly, but some will take longer.

                                    You've got the basic ideas correct, yes. However, the answer will change based on each particular cooking session, and the variables in each.

                                    1. re: walnut
                                      a
                                      acgold7 Jun 6, 2012 10:54 AM

                                      Asked and answered above....

                                      1. re: walnut
                                        greygarious Jun 6, 2012 11:14 AM

                                        Walnut - dearie - you REALLY need to relax and not sweat the details so much. The way you learn to cook in your own kitchen comes down to trial and error, no matter how much you study up beforehand. I am completely at home with my cooking equipment, which includes a very old electric stove. It's not great but I know it and hope it lasts because if I have to replace it, it will mean a steep learning curve before I get used to a new one.

                                        Watch masters like Jacques Pepin and Ming Tsai on PBS cooking shows. You will see that they freely adjust ingredients, heat, and other factors. They are never shackled to the printed recipe. Maybe it will help you to know that a high proportion of the recipes in cookbooks have never even been prepared by the author, much less tested out by others. Even if you had an expert cook tethered to the leg of your kitchen table 24/7, to learn to cook you'd still need to rely on your own senses and judgment.

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