General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Does it matter which side of the aluminum foil I use when baking?

Asked by AstroChuck (37439points) January 31st, 2010

I could swear I was told long ago to keep the shiny side out. My wife swears it’s the opposite. Actually, I think she might be onto something. The shiny side should reflect light, and thus heat, slowing down the cooking time. Although, why don’t they just make one side black in order for it to absorb more heat? But then again do we even want to reflect or absorb more heat when we have something in the oven? Couldn’t that screw up cooking times? You know, the more I think about it the more I think the difference between shiny-side in and shiny-side out won’t really make that much of a difference. But then why even make the one side shiny in the first place? I’m so confused. Help me here.
Ow. I’m getting an ice cream headache!

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26 Answers

Spinel's avatar

I grew up leaving the shiny side up. But the great mother of knowledge says it doesn’t matter.

Besides, young man, you shouldn’t be touching hot ovens…

MissAnthrope's avatar

I dunno.. I’ve used both sides and never noticed any difference.

laureth's avatar

Doesn’t matter. It’s a by-product of the manufacturing process that makes one side shinier.

The_Idler's avatar

They reflect practically the same amount of electro-magnetic radiation (radiated heat i.e. infra-red AND visible light) but they look different, because one side is rough and scatters the light.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I had been taught shiny-side out also. But what you are really trying to do is protect the thinner parts(of, say a turkey) from burning while allowing the thicker parts to cook thouroughly.So it seems like what you should be doing is wrapping the legs as a kind of insulation, then tent the entire bird in another layer to self-baste to some extent and prevent drying out.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

It shouldn’t unless it’s made different from the foil that I’ve always used.

wilma's avatar

I do it both ways, it depends on my mood,
and because in my kitchen, I am the boss and I do as I please.

Ansible1's avatar

Always shiny side out for aluminum foil hats

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Ansible1 The aluminum foil hats to keep your brain waves from being (CIA redacted)?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’ve always seen shiny side up. That’s what I’ve always done.

chyna's avatar

I’m just so darned happy that I’ve gotten to the point of getting something fixed and ready to go into the oven, I’ve never noticed what side I use. (Obviously, I don’t cook much).

faye's avatar

And I heard some chef on tv say dull side out 30 years ago, I think…

janbb's avatar

One side out for cooking; the other side out for wrapping for freezing. But it beats the shit out of me which is which!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Cook in a paper bag and forget about the aluminum foil altogether.

filmfann's avatar

A friend of mine used to be a salesman for an Aluminum company.
It makes no difference which side you use.

AstroChuck's avatar

@CyanoticWasp- Remind me to sit near the fire escape whenever I’m dining at your house.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@AstroChuck if you’re just baking, then paper should really be fine. Don’t forget Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is named for the temperature at which paper burns.

You can also cook in plastic bags, but I’d make sure that I had one that was made for the purpose. I’m not cooking in a Home Depot bag…

(Thanks, @PandoraBoxx)

AstroChuck's avatar

I wouldn’t try it with out making sure there wasn’t any air in the bag with the chicken. 451 ℉ is the ignition of paper on its own. If you don’t think you could start a fire with chicken grease and paper then go ahead and try it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve done a turkey in a paper bag before. I wasn’t roasting at 450°F, though. That does sound a bit too close for comfort.

laureth's avatar

For what it’s worth, paper burns at 450° Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Link Sounds like Bradbury took a little license with his title.

450°C = 842°F, which a little higher than people probably use to roast their chickens.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Thanks for the correction and the link, @laureth.

AstroChuck's avatar

@laureth- Your source is faulty. Coal will ignite at 450° Celsius. Lead will melt at a lower temperature than that. Paper will indeed ignite at 451° Fahrenheit.

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AstroChuck's avatar

Btw, here is something to back me up.

laureth's avatar

@AstroChuck – huh. Thank you! :)

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