Each kernel of popcorn contains a certain amount of moisture and oil. Unlike most other grains, the outer hull of the popcorn kernel is both strong and impervious to moisture, and the starch inside consists almost entirely of a hard, dense type.
As the oil and the water around the kernel are heated, they turn the moisture in the kernel, which has a moisture-proof hull, into a superheated pressurized steam. Under these conditions, the starch inside the kernel softens and becomes pliable. The pressure continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is reached: a pressure of about 135 psi (930 kPa) and a temperature of 180 °C (356 °F). The hull ruptures rapidly, causing a sudden drop in pressure inside the kernel and a corresponding rapid expansion of the steam, which expands the starch and proteins of the endosperm into airy foam. As the foam rapidly cools, the starch and protein polymers set into the familiar crispy puff. Special varieties are grown to give improved popping yield. Some wild types will pop, but the cultivated strain is Zea mays everta, which is a special kind of flint corn.
How to Pop Popcorn on the Stove | The Kitchn
Ingredients3 tablespoons peanut oil1/2 cup popcorn kernels
EquipmentHeavy-bottomed pot with lid
1. Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.
2. Add three kernels.
3. When one or more of the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels and cover.
4. Gently shake the pot over the heat source to prevent the kernels from burning.
5. Continue shaking until most kernels have popped and you can’t hear many moving against the bottom of the pan.
6. Turn off the heat and continue to shake – a few stragglers will pop. Hold the lid over the pot for a few seconds in case of a last minute pop (which will send many more popped kernels flying across your kitchen).
7. Remove lid and enjoy!
Additional Notes:• Use an oil that will withstand high heat such as peanut or vegetable oil• If your popcorn tastes chewy try keeping the lid slightly ajar• Keeping the heat too low will drag the cooking time• Dress the finished product while it’s still warm so the popcorn will better absorb butter, oil, and spices