When you make popcorn, you might notice that you have a group of unpopped kernels, or you may find that your popcorn doesn’t look as fluffy as what you can buy at the store. You may have thought that it was the type of kernel, but you can actually determine how fluffy your popcorn will be by the way you cook it? Continue reading to learn how to make popcorn pop bigger.
Try Soaking Your Kernels in Water
One method for popping fluffier popcorn is to soak your popcorn kernels in water for 10 minutes before you cook it. The idea is that the water helps to provide extra moisture, which leads to fluffier popcorn. It will taste the same as your normal popcorn, but it comes out larger, lighter, and fluffier.
When soaking popcorn kernels in water, do a test batch and compare it to a non-soaked serving, you will see that most of the popcorn is larger and fluffier. However, it is a time-consuming process, and it doesn’t taste a lot different.
Cook it on the Stovetop with Oil
When you choose this method, you place the oil in the pan first. One popular option is olive oil. Turn the heat up to high, and start by popping three kernels. Then, you can add the rest of your uncooked popcorn. Let it pop, and once you notice the popping slowing, remove it from the heat. Keep the pan moving so that all of the kernels pop. It should be larger and fluffier than normal.
Use an Air Popper
You can also use an air popper, which uses nothing more than hot air to pop your popcorn. Turn it on and let it heat up before you use it, as you need to use high heat. Then, add the kernels, and you will notice that you get an explosion each time one pops. This is how you get those giant mushroom-shaped popcorn pieces.
Your popcorn will have trouble yielding large, fluffy pieces of popcorn in a microwave. It will still taste great, but you can’t really make the pieces of popcorn larger. If you want large pieces of popcorn, you should avoid this method.
What Makes Popcorn Smaller?
When you pop popcorn and end up with smaller pieces, there are several things that could be responsible. First, it is important to understand the process of popping and why it happens. The popcorn kernels have moisture locked inside, and when they are heated, the moisture turns to water vapor. As it expands, it eventually causes the kernel to burst open.
If your popcorn kernels have too little or too much moisture inside, they will not pop the way you want.
If you have old popcorn kernels, they might have dried out. This would reduce the size of the finished popcorn. It is important to make sure that you store your popcorn kernels properly if you want large, fluffy pieces of popcorn. If the kernels dry out, they can crack, which allows the moisture to escape. In addition, the same pressure won’t build up when it is heated, so it may have a very small pop, or it may not pop at all.
How to Store Popcorn Kernels
Sometimes it’s good to have a large supply of popcorn available on demand so it’s important to make sure that you store it well.
The first step is to buy quality popcorn that is known for being fresh. Then, you should keep it in an airtight container. The Popcorn Board says that kernels with 13.5% to 14% moisture inside will pop, and leaving them in the heat just one day can reduce this by a percentage point. It doesn’t take long to make it unpoppable.
Once you have the popcorn in an airtight container, you need to place it in a cool, dark spot. The cupboard or pantry closet works well. You don’t want to place it in the refrigerator or freezer because the kernels could lose some moisture content.
If you find that your popcorn has dried out, you can try the water method above. Place the kernels in a jar with a little bit of water, and shake it until the water is absorbed. Then, place the kernels back in the cupboard for a few days and try again. This is a great method for adding moisture back into your popcorn kernels.
How to Make Fluffy Popcorn
To make fluffy popcorn, there are a few things you can do:
Start with high-quality kernels: Choose high-quality popcorn kernels that are fresh and have a high moisture content of around 13-14%. Older or low-quality kernels may not pop as well or result in less fluffy popcorn.
Use the right equipment: Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid or a popcorn maker to ensure that the heat is distributed evenly and that the steam from the kernels is contained, allowing the kernels to pop fully.
Heat the oil first: Heat the oil in the pot or popcorn maker first before adding the kernels. This helps to ensure that the oil is hot enough to pop the kernels quickly and fully.
Add the right amount of kernels: Use the recommended amount of kernels for your pot or popcorn maker. Overcrowding the pot or popcorn maker can result in uneven popping and smaller, less fluffy kernels.
Shake the pot or popcorn maker: Shake the pot or popcorn maker occasionally while the kernels are popping to ensure that they are popping evenly and to prevent burning.
Add salt or other flavorings after popping: Adding salt or other flavorings before popping can result in the seasoning burning or not sticking to the kernels. Instead, add salt or other flavorings after popping while the kernels are still warm and slightly moist.
FAQs How to Make Popcorn Bigger
What makes popcorn pop bigger?
Popcorn pops bigger when the moisture inside the kernel heats up and turns into steam. The steam builds up pressure inside the kernel, and eventually, the kernel explodes, causing it to pop and turn inside out. The fluffy white part that we see is the starch from inside the kernel that has been turned inside out and expanded due to the pressure.
The size of the popped kernel depends on the moisture content of the kernel and the temperature at which it is popped. The ideal moisture content for popcorn is around 13.5%, which allows for maximum expansion. When popcorn is heated to the right temperature, the moisture inside the kernel turns to steam, which builds up pressure until the kernel explodes. The temperature at which the popcorn is popped also plays a role in how big it pops. If the temperature is too low, the kernel won’t pop fully, but if it’s too high, the popcorn can scorch and burn.
Additionally, the shape and size of the kernel can also affect how big it pops. Typically, popcorn with rounder, larger kernels will pop bigger than smaller or more irregularly shaped kernels.
What makes popcorn pop?
Popcorn pops because of the water contained inside the kernel. Each kernel of popcorn has a small amount of water stored inside a circle of soft starch. When the kernel is heated, the water inside turns into steam, and the pressure inside the kernel increases.
As the temperature continues to rise, the pressure inside the kernel becomes so great that it eventually causes the outer hull to burst open, and the kernel turns inside out. The steam and heat expand the starch, creating the fluffy, white part of the popcorn we are familiar with. The popped corn then cools, and the starch solidifies, giving it its crispy texture.
It’s important to note that not all types of corn can be popped. Popcorn is a specific type of corn with a hard, moisture-resistant outer shell that allows it to contain the pressure needed to pop. Other types of corn, such as sweet corn, don’t have this hard outer shell and won’t pop when heated.
What are the fluffiest popcorn kernels?
The fluffiness of popcorn depends on several factors, including the type of kernel, the moisture content, and the popping method. Generally, popcorn with larger, rounder kernels tends to be fluffier than smaller, more irregularly shaped kernels.
One of the most popular types of popcorn known for its fluffy texture is the Butterfly popcorn kernel, also known as snowflake popcorn. These kernels are characterized by their wing-like shape and ability to expand and create a large, fluffy piece of popcorn.
Mushroom popcorn is another type of popcorn that tends to be less fluffy than Butterfly popcorn, but it has a unique shape that is popular for use in caramel or cheese-coated popcorn. Mushroom popcorn kernels are more rounded and compact, resulting in a denser texture when popped.
It’s also worth noting that the moisture content of the kernel can affect its fluffiness. Popcorn with a moisture content of around 13-14% tends to pop into larger, fluffier kernels, while kernels with too much or too little moisture may not pop as well or may have a less fluffy texture.
Can I make popcorn pop bigger?
Yes, there are certain techniques you can employ to make popcorn pop bigger and fluffier. By following specific methods and using the right ingredients, you can achieve larger popcorn kernels.
Does the type of popcorn kernel affect its size when popped?
Yes, the type of popcorn kernel can influence the size of the popped popcorn. Some varieties, like butterfly popcorn, are specifically bred to produce larger and fluffier popped kernels.
What is the best type of popcorn kernel to use for larger popcorn?
Butterfly popcorn kernels are generally considered the best choice for achieving larger popped kernels. These kernels have a unique shape that promotes greater expansion when heated.
Can I use any popcorn machine to make popcorn pop bigger?
Yes, you can use any popcorn machine to make popcorn pop bigger. The size and type of machine typically do not affect the size of the popped kernels. However, using proper popping techniques is essential.
What is the recommended popping technique for bigger popcorn?
To make popcorn pop bigger, it’s crucial to use high heat during the popping process. This helps the kernels reach their maximum expansion potential. Additionally, ensure that the popcorn machine or stovetop pan is properly preheated before adding the kernels.
Does the freshness of the popcorn kernels affect their size when popped?
Yes, the freshness of the popcorn kernels can impact the size of the popped popcorn. Fresher kernels tend to have higher moisture content, which contributes to greater expansion and fluffiness when popped.
Should I preheat the popcorn machine before adding the kernels?
Yes, preheating the popcorn machine before adding the kernels is recommended. This helps create an optimal environment for the kernels to pop, allowing them to reach their maximum size potential.
Can adding oil or butter help make popcorn pop bigger?
Yes, adding oil or butter to the popcorn can contribute to larger popped kernels. The oil or butter helps create steam inside the kernel, promoting greater expansion during the popping process. However, it’s important to use these ingredients in moderation to prevent the popcorn from becoming greasy or soggy.
Are there any specific popcorn recipes or ingredients that can make it pop bigger?
While there are no specific recipes or ingredients guaranteed to make popcorn pop significantly bigger, you can experiment with different popping oils like coconut oil or clarified butter (ghee) to enhance the flavor and potentially achieve slightly larger popped kernels.
Can I increase the popping volume by adjusting the popcorn machine’s settings?
Popcorn machines usually have preset settings that are optimized for popping efficiency. Modifying these settings may not necessarily result in significantly bigger popcorn. It’s more effective to focus on factors like kernel type, popping technique, and freshness for achieving larger popped kernels.