The science behind the perfect Christmas turkey, Food News & Top Stories

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Here are some highlights on The Straits Times’ food website – ST Food, straitstimesfood.com.

VIDEOS: THE SCIENCE OF CHRISTMAS

When it comes to cooking turkey, chefs and home cooks have plenty of strategies to keep the bird moist during the cooking process.

Turkeys are difficult to cook because they are so big and round that they can be considered spheres, which are an inefficient shape for cooking because it takes longer for heat to travel to the centre of the bird.

Often, by the time it is cooked through, the skin may be burnt and the outer layers of breast meat may have dried out.

Methods to keep a turkey moist include brining, or immersing a raw turkey in a salt solution for a period of time. This changes the structure of the protein in the muscles which, in turn, helps it retain moisture during roasting.

Changing its shape can also allow it to cook more evenly. Spatchcocking, a method that involves butterflying the bird by cutting out its spine and breaking its breastbone, is one way to turn the sphere into a flatter and more efficient shape for roasting.

Learn more about the science behind cooking a turkey: http://str.sg/o4x8

Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, star anise and ginger are five common spices used at Christmas.

They are used to flavour everything from mulled wine and eggnog to roast meats and fruit cake.

Find out more about their health benefits and properties.

Five Christmas spices: http://str.sg/o4xB

A RECIPE TO TRY

This festive season, pamper your guests with a tray of hot, crisp gougeres straight from the oven.

The French cheese puffs – made with grated cheese, butter and flour – are inexpensive to make but are rich in flavour.

Jazz them up with ingredients such as pancetta, basil and sage.

Follow a recipe for these charming cheese puffs by The New York Times’ food writer Melissa Clark.

Gougeres recipe: http://str.sg/o4SY

ST Food features stories from ST, its sister publications as well as regional and international publications. There are also videos and recipes.

Keep abreast of what ST’s food writers and other gourmands have been eating in ST Food’s social media section.

Use the handy search tool located at the top of the page to navigate the site for ideas on where to eat and what to cook.

•Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan



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