Low-Temperature Baking

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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In one extreme version of baking, the oven is set for temperatures as low as 200 or 225°F/ 95–110°C, and the cooking is gentle indeed. Because the fish surface is simultaneously warmed by the oven air and cooled by evaporation of its moisture, the actual maximum temperature of the fish surface in such an oven may be just 120–130°F, the internal temperature even lower, and the fish ends up with a barely cooked, almost custard-like texture. The appearance of fish cooked this way is often marred by the off-white globs of solidified cell fluid, which is able to leak out of the tissue before it gets hot enough for its dissolved proteins to coagulate (normally these proteins, which constitute as much as 25% of the total, coagulate within the muscle).