How To Make Popcorn
Pop, pop, pop. That is the sound heard all across the nation at a theatre chain near you. Yes, you’ve got it; it is the sound of that popcorn popping. America’s favorite movie snack food has a history beyond belief; however, that is not what we are here to talk about. Popcorn is more than just a bag in the microwave; real movie theatre popcorn takes care and proper steps and patience in order to pop correctly.
Following these fairly easy instructions will make the customers happy showing the excellent customer service skills that are inside all of us.
Before speaking of the actual kettle and popping system, the reason for the popping has to be discussed. Have you ever wondered how a little popcorn kernel could explode into something so fluffy? Each kernel of popping corn is filled with natural waters, when exposed to such high temperatures the water boils, turns into a gas, expands, and forces the kernel itself to expand; hence, we have popcorn.
Now that that the chemistry information of popcorn has been brought to attention, the popper itself is the next step of the many to be discussed. Before popping your first batch of popcorn, you must turn everything on. There are a couple of things that need to be turned on to get things going. Firstly you must turn on the lights on the popper with the flip of a switch, this provides a good presentation of the popcorn, secondly the exhaust must be turned on, this helps keep the popcorn warm after being dumped into the warming device, and thirdly the “cornditioner”, oh yes the “cornditioner”, must be turned on, this helps to condition the popcorn, making sure everything stays fresh. There are three other switches on a popper; these are the oil pump, the agitator, and the kettle heat. All of which will turn on, however not at this current time.
Before we can start the popping process there are a few items that must be checked in order to stay consistent with the popping all day. Firstly, check to see that the container that holds the popcorn seeds is full, if not, it is necessary to open a new, fifty-pound bag and fill the container to the top. Next, is checking the status of the oil. The oil used for popping corn is coconut oil; it maintains the bag in a box theory and comes in thirty-five pound boxes. Each box of oil must be heated before it can be used because coconut oil at room temperature is solid. Underneath the popper, there is room for two boxes of oil and at the beginning of the day you must check to see that there are two boxes, this provides for easier changing in the middle of the day. One box of oil is connected by a hose to the popper and provides oil for popping all day, whereas the second box is held on a warmer for later use. Finally, check to see if the container holding the special yellow salt is full, if not then fill it to the top. The salt comes in cartons the size of a quart, similar to a milk carton. The cartons come in cases; there are six cartons to one case of salt. These three items are the most important items to check before you begin the popping for the day because these are the only items ever placed into the kettle to pop the kernels of corn.
There are a few pre-popping step to follow to ensure good quality popcorn. Firstly, with the container provided with the popping equipment, fill this specified container to the top with popcorn seed. Secondly, add one tablespoon of yellow salt to the container holding the kernels. Next, open the lid to the kettle; turn on the oil pump, the kettle heat, and the agitator by flipping each switch up. The kettle heat is what heats the kernels in order for the popping to begin and the agitator is the core of the popper, this instrument is what turns the popcorn inside the kettle to ensure the same amount of heat is given off to the entire contents of the popper. The oil pump is what allows oil to drain into the kettle to make the perfect popcorn. Next, pour the salt and kernel mixture into the kettle and your final step is to push the button the releases the oil to be placed into the kettle. Make sure that the agitator is spinning properly and that oil is seeped into the kettle. Finally close the lid to the kettle and the rest happens on its own.
The next step that is crucial for all people popping the popcorn is the moment when popcorn begins to pop out of the kettle, it is necessary to turn off the kettle heat. If the heat is left on during the entirety of the popping, the popcorn will burn and will be a complete waste. The time will come when the flipping of the kettle is upon you. This time will be when the popcorn is no longer flowing continuously out of the kettle. At this point, you will need to turn off the agitator and flip the kettle with the handle provided on the side. After you have flipped the kettle, put it back in resting position and if necessary follow the instructions and begin the popping process all over again.
At the end of the day it is crucial to clean all parts of the kettle to maintain all sanitary and health value for the next day. Firstly, loosen all of the wing nuts at edge of the top and bottom sections of the kettle. Once these are loosened, the top part of the kettle can come right off, which is what your goal is. Next with a thick layer of paper towels, loosen the wing nut holding the agitator in place. You will need a thick layer of paper towels because this piece is in the core of the kettle and will be most hot. Remove the wing nut and the agitator, these two pieces as well as the top of the kettle need to be washed and sanitized, a sponge, hot, soapy water and a sanitation sink will do the trick.
In order to clean the inside of the kettle, a sponge and soda water are the most crucial tools. Firstly, wipe out all excess popcorn from the kettle into the popper itself. Next, take the sponge, wet it down with soda water and begin the scrubbing process of the inside of the kettle. Make sure all grease and grime are no longer present. Once you believe the kettle is clean, give it a final wipe down with a paper towel, if the paper comes out clean, the kettle is clean, if not, then you had better take another shot at the kettle. For the inside of the popper, you must throw away all excess popcorn and wipe the inside of the popper complete. Finally put all pieces of the kettle back on. Turn off the exhaust, lights, “cornditioner,” and oil pump.
Next time you go to the movies, you’ll exactly how those kids working in the snack bar made that popcorn. One day you to can be a professional at the popcorn popping process.