December 30, 2005

Doubt me will you?

In my Christmas dinner post I made the statement, “For those of you reading this worried about the effects of alcohol on the children, remember alcohol cooks out during the baking process. There was a minimal alcohol content left when it was finished.” In the comments, Harvey of Bad Example linked to a Kitchen Myths site that had the following information (Also found on numerous other sites.):

Alcohol added to boiling liquid removed from heat retained 85% of alcohol
Alcohol Flamed retained 75% alcohol
Alcohol stored overnight, no heat, retained 70% of alcohol
Alcohol baked, 25 minutes, not stirred into mixture retained 45% alcohol.
Alcohol baked/simmered, stirred into mixture retains:
15 minutes cooking time: 40% alcohol
30 minutes cooking time: 35% alcohol
1 hour cooking time: 25% alcohol
1.5 hours cooking time: 20% alcohol
2 hours cooking time: 10% alcohol
2.5 hours cooking time: 5% alcohol

Most of the sites I found that have this information state it comes from the US Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory. Spending way too much time searching through the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory website I was unable to locate any such study they have done nor documentation that coincides with this data. I’ve gone so far as to send them an e-mail to verify if the data is accurate. According to them, I should get a response in 5 business days. With the holiday, that should make it January 10th at the latest I should get a response. Until then, I’m going to just assume that the data given is accurate within acceptable levels of deviation.

Based on said data lets review how my statement stands up. Since the alcohol used in the whiskey sauce was stirred into a mixture (the Sauce, not the pudding itself), I’m going to use the data for “Alcohol baked/simmered, stirred into mixture” table. This is a completely unscientific study, so my results will be off.

First we used standard bourbon, at 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume. When you are heating the original sauce it is simmered/boiled for 15 minutes. Now, this is not adding it to a boiling liquid then removing it from the heat, this is a mixture that is heated/simmered. It takes about 15 minutes simmering time. It is then poured over the bread pudding and baked for about it is baked for 45 minutes. Just for ease of this calculation I’m going to use the 1-hour baking/simmering time of 25% alcohol retention.

25% of 40% alcohol leaves 10% alcohol per volume.

My wife used 4 tablespoons of bourbon. Four tablespoons equal two fluid ounces. There are 1.5 ounces in your standard shot of alcohol. Thus there is a one and a third shot of alcohol in the recipe. The recipe makes six servings. That means there is two-ninths of a shot per serving.

Since we’ve already cooked down the alcohol to 10% alcohol per volume. That means that per serving there would be a trace amount of alcohol.

Thus I stick by my original statement: There was a minimal alcohol content left when it was finished.

Posted by Contagion in General assholery at December 30, 2005 06:34 PM | TrackBack

What a waste of alcohol.

Posted by: Dr. Phat Tony at December 30, 2005 06:50 PM

I cook with alcohol when it calls for it in recipes and my kids eat it. They have yet to get drunk or have any odd side effects.

Posted by: vw bug at December 30, 2005 08:03 PM

But I want to get drunk off of food! :-(

Posted by: Harvey at December 31, 2005 04:15 PM

Probably more alcohol in either the mouthwash or Nyquil the kid uses/is given. Nothing to worry about here at all when you do the math. Which is why percentages are dangerous things when quoting statistics on anything.

Posted by: joated at December 31, 2005 04:26 PM

That bread pudding was DAMN tasty!

Posted by: Wes at January 1, 2006 02:18 PM