Level of Doneness
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The term “Level of Doneness” refers to how a food item is finish cooked and is actually a non-scientific measure of the coagulation of protein, when exposed to heat. You may know the term better by its descriptions or categories of “Doneness” such as Bleu, Extra Rare, Rare, Medium Rare, Medium, Medium Well and Well Done.

Dark Meat and White Meat react to heat in different ways and will need to be cooked to different appropriate Levels of Doneness.

The chart above is a starter. Smart Kitchen goes into chapter and verse on Dark Meat and White Meat, on various Proteins, on The Effect of Heat on Proteins, on Final Cooking Temperatures, on Product & Cooking Methods, on Cooking Techniques, etc. to explain how and why food should be cooked to a certain Level of Doneness.

Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate™ is also a useful tool to help determine which cooking techniques to apply to cook different items.

Our point here is that there is a lot of background information and experience needed to achieve a perfect Level of Doneness, which is not often a product of dumb luck. We can’t fit all the information about Level of Doneness into this one page. Ultimately, getting Levels of Doneness just right is another skill that separates the chefs from the cooks and something you will get better at over time.

In a nutshell, Cooking Heat applied to protein makes protein break down and contract, which in turn forces out moisture. Cooking Heat also precipitates a chemical change in Myoglobin, which is responsible for the change from a meat’s red color at Rare to a gray color at Well Done.

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