Question about frying...

Why is frying food so much worse than baking?

Anticipating the first response to be, “Because of the oil use when frying”, assume for the sake of this question that no oil is used when frying.

Um, how do you fry without oil? By definition, “frying” involves oil. If you used water instead you’d call it “boiling.”

What are we frying? Beef, chicken, pork or fish? What are we using to keep meat from sticking to the pan? If you use just a little Pam, then I doubt if there would be much difference. However, it is said to be better to fix bacon in a microwave than frying it. You might want to address this question to George Foreman.

Isn’t the point of the George Foreman thing that the fat runs off into a drip tray, but it still uses oil? I haven’t bought one, honestly.

“Because of the oil use when frying.” says ‘fry’ means to cook in ‘hot oil or fat.’

You can ‘dry fry’ bacon, it will release enough fat to allow it to cook without having to add any.

But, grill some sausages and see how much fat drips off them into the tray below.
Think that if you had fried them, the same amount of fat would still be in the sausage, not to mention the extra fat you added to fry them.

The most obvious reason that people might say that ‘frying is bad for you’ is that frying typically uses oil or some other fat. The fat serves at least two purposes: [ul][li]Keeping the meat from sticking[/li][li]aid the heat transfer.[/ul][/li]If you put an uneven piece of meat in a (non-stick) frying pan, pockets of air, steam and other gases will form between the two almost-but-not-quite parallell surfaces. The fat fills this gap, and conducts heat much better. Of course some of this fat gets absorbed, and today excess fat is certainly unnecessary for most people.

There is however another reason why frying can be said to be dangerous: The browning reactions, which are very complex reactions when carbohydrates and aminoacids decompose and form new compounds. These reactions were first studied in the early 20th centurty by a French scientist called Louis Camille Maillard, and they are today known as Maillard reactions.
The resulting compounds have strong smell and taste, as well as being brown, and it’s their taste we are after when we fry something, or caramelize sugar.

However, they also contain several agents that have been shown to be carcinogenic and otherwise unhealthy. For example, look at last years craze about acrylamide in crisps/chips - caused by the Maillard reaction on some starches.

Fortunatelly, most reasonable authorities agree that the minute health risks that these compounds entail are offset by the fact that they make the food so much tastier. Sure, a boiled piece of meat might improve your odds of not getting cancer, and on average increase your lifespan with a few minutes, but those minutes wouldn’t be as nice, as if you had a nice fried steak!

Why is frying food so much worse than baking?

what springs into mind for me is fried bread a’la breakfast beano
it contains the medium used to fry it in so is fatty
the bread from the oven just needs heat to cook it
a cake may have butter in it
fried foods are in themselves fatty or pickup the oil or fat they are fried in
if you microwave bacon it still has the fat in it
and if you put your fried food on kitchen towel its only the surface fat which is absorbed
it must be a question of fats

Bacon: Contains lots of fat. Can be fried without oil, because that fat leaves the bacon. Well, some of it. ANY fried bacon is still going to be pretty fatty.

Potatoes: Contain no fat. Fat must be added to fry them. They absorb the fat, and contain a lot of fat when eaten.

It’s all about fat.

Admittedly, there is the carcinogens thing, but somehow, I think if you eat enough fried foods to worry about the carcinogens, you’ve got bigger problems than cancer barreling down on you…

I made doughnuts a couple of weeks ago. Yum! Before making them, I read about the physics of frying in the excellent cooking guide Cookwise – it’s like How Stuff Works for food.

Anyway, the interesting thing about it was that if food is fried at not high enough temperature, it gets extra-greasy, because the steam isn’t jetting out of the food quickly enough and the grease soaks in. Similarly, if the food is fried at too high a temperature, the outer layer loses all its moisture before the inside is finished cooking, and once it’s lost its moisture, it has no way to prevent the grease from soaking in. So frying things at either too high or too low a temperature makes it extra-greasy.

I hope I understood it (and explained it) correctly. The upshot of the passage was that I went and bought a fat thermometer before making the doughnuts.