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Old 06-10-2019, 04:03 PM
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I have popped popcorn all my life and never had problems. Now when I pop a batch the kernels dont pop all the way leaving a hard half popped kernels. I thought it was a bad batch of kernels so l bought another bag and the same things happens. I do it Stove top as always. Anyone else having this problem?
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:49 PM
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I use Orville's. White Corn pops much better
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:25 PM
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I use the store brand, but follow this method that has never failed me: Put about a tablespoon of oil in the bottom of your covered pot, and add about 5-6 kernels. When they pop, remove the pot from the heat, add the rest of the kernels, swish a bit to coat with oil, and wait 30 seconds before putting it back on the flame. They all pop.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:53 PM
Status: "THE UNBORN R OUR FUTURE" (set 4 days ago)
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I've read that the thing that makes the kernels pop is a tiny speck of water in the center. Maybe yours is dried out?
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbkr5 View Post
I use Orville's. White Corn pops much better
When I finally tried popping Orville’s, I was amazed that nearly 100% of the kernels popped. I bet the good kernel condition has more to do with being in a sealed bottle (instead of a plastic bag) than white vs yellow.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:23 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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Did you buy the second bag at the same store that you bought the first? Maybe they're all old and dried out.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:39 AM
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My thought is the same: old corn that has lost all of its interior moisture. It can't steam heat and explode the outer shell.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:53 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,743 posts, read 53,869,694 times
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Good answers. I've popped a HUGE amount of popcorn, and there is a science to it. Most likely, the corn is old and dried out, the pericarp is weak or broken, or - quite possibly with store brands - the corn is of an inferior variety or grown/stored under poor conditions.

Mattie's method is very close to what is use in movie theatre popping. The kernel needs to heat quickly to have the maximum steam and pressure, but the oil has to be below the smoke and flash point. For safety, the dry kettle is allowed to heat, and then the kernels and any salt are added first, with the oil going in immediately second. The cooler kernels prevent fires by keeping the oil cool enough to never reach the smoke or flash point. Typically, the first batch is lesser quality and the second and later batches reach near 100% popout.

Popcorn used in theatres gets tested for the increase in volume between unpopped kernels and popped ones. 35 to 1 is common, but that varies depending on a few factors. IIRC, a Cretor's unit that was the commonly used size was charged with 20oz of corn and between 4 and 6 oz of coconut oil. More or less than that amount drastically reduced the amount of saleable corn produced. Pan area, heat source and tstat temp setting, pan thermal mass, all entered in to the exact amount of oil that worked best. Matching that precision at home is almost impossible, and even many theatres get it wrong.

There are farmers who specialize in growing the corn for concessions at theatres and stadiums. The name brand store corn (like O.R.) is similar in quality, but the rest is variable and usually doesn't pop out as much.

I will mention that one long time concession operator once told me in private that microwaving popcorn created a superior and more reliable product - the heat concentrated on the unpopped kernels and the popped ones were similar to styrofoam to the microwaves, and thus didn't get burned, unlike corn in a kettle. The popping done in theatres is for the show and smell as a sales tool.
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