Why Filtered Water is the Best Water for Cooking and Baking
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If you’re looking for ways to improve your cooking at home, number one on the list is a simple practice. It’s not adding salt, olive oil, lemon, or some secret spice or condiment from Western Europe. You don’t even need to purchase a cookbook or enroll in a cooking class. Then, what is that je ne sais quoi that could make your home-cooked meals even tastier and healthier?
As simple as it sounds, the quality of the water you cook with can significantly impact the flavor, smell, texture, and overall quality of your meals and pastries. Even if your tap water seems perfectly fine to drink, it may contain a host of contaminants that could be ruining your favorite dishes.
That’s why using filtered water for cooking has become an industry secret among chefs and bakers. Many prefer filtered water for washing produce, cooking, making ice for mixed drinks, and baking. We’re not saying filtered water will magically transform you into an instant chef, but it might leave family and friends wondering what’s your best-kept secret.
Continue reading to learn how filtering your water helps your cooking and baking, how to determine if your tap water needs filtering, and the best method to filter your water if necessary.
First off, what is Filtered Water?
In a nutshell, filtered water is water that has been treated through a filtering process to remove undesirable chemical compounds, organic and inorganic materials, and biological contaminants. The filtering device – called a water filter or water filtration system – uses a physical barrier, a chemical or biological process, or a combination of two or more to eliminate those water contaminants, producing clean, filtered water.
What’s in Unfiltered Water?
Before we start on the benefits of cooking with filtered water, let’s spend a minute or two discussing what’s in unfiltered water. As ‘unfiltered’ suggests, the water isn’t filtered, meaning your cooking is going to suffer to some degree due to what’s inside the water itself.
Here are some of the contaminants commonly present in unfiltered tap water:
- Chemicals (chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, pesticides, herbicides, nitrates and nitrites, fluorine, etc.)
- Sediments (dirt, sand, dust, debris, etc.)
- Heavy metals (lead, copper, barium, zinc, chromium, iron, arsenic, mercury, chromium, cadmium, etc.)
- Minerals (magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, potassium, etc.)
- Microbes (bacteria, viruses, parasites, algae, fungi, etc.)
Now, we’re not suggesting that your tap water contains all of the above. The problem is that, if it does, any of the named contaminants could be sabotaging your cooking and harm you and your family’s health. Let’s look at how filtered water can improve your cooking, baking, and overall wellbeing.
5 Reasons You Should Be Cooking and Baking with Filtered Water
Filtered water offers a range of remarkable benefits, making it superior to many other water types, especially when it comes to cooking and baking. Here are a few of the many perks you can expect from cooking and baking with filtered water:
1. Using filtered water enhances the flavors of your meals and drinks.
Unfiltered water typically contains a barrage of unwanted contaminants, impurities, and minerals, many of which can ruin the taste of your foods and beverages.
For example, heavy metals like copper and iron in water can give your meals a distinctive metallic taste. Yuck! You might even see sediment and rust particles in your rice, pasta, and even your morning coffee.
Beyond that, chemical disinfectants like chlorine and chloramine are often noticeable in tap water and may carry over into the food you eat. Other common contaminants, such as fluorine, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), may also affect the color and taste of food and beverages, giving them a dull appearance and an “off” flavor.
Thankfully, cooking with filtered water can eliminate the chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants seeking to alter the flavor of your meals, resulting in more accurate recipes. Not only will your dishes taste so much better, but you will notice that they look more vibrant and delicious also.
Essentially, filtered water ensures your meals are cooked in their most natural state – the food’s color, taste, and nutrition level are minimally affected, if any at all. That’s why coffee lovers ensure they use filtered water when preparing their morning coffee.
2. Using filtered water reduces your exposure to harmful water contaminants.
Cooking with filtered water doesn’t only make your meals and beverages more delicious and flavorful; it also reduces your exposure to harmful contaminants often found in unfiltered tap water.
Whether you are on well water or city water, the water in your home can contain many naturally-occurring contaminants, like magnesium, iron, and calcium. However, particularly if you’re on city water, it often contains chlorine or chloramines – compounds used to disinfect your water before your water even enters your home. While these compounds might treat your water, chlorine-resistant cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, lead, and more, often get a free pass.
Water from private wells is also susceptible to various contaminants that can significantly affect the quality of your food and impact your health. For instance, bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and cancer-linked chemicals like PFAS common in well water can slip through your water supply and end up in your cooking water, giving your meals an unusual taste and making you sick.
Filtering your water before cooking with it is the best way to protect yourself and your family against any unexpected contaminants your water may contain.
3. Using filtered water gives your food more vibrant colors.
Chlorine is often used as a bleaching agent, so it’s no surprise that anything you wash or boil in chlorinated water will also be affected. That means washing your fruits and vegetables with unfiltered water doesn’t only affect their taste, but their color will also be less vibrant. The same goes for brown rice and red beans. Chlorine will bleach them, too, even if only partially, and likely give them an unpleasant odor and taste.
4. Filtered water cleans produce better.
Unwashed fruits and veggies act as a haven for bacteria, pesticides, and germs to thrive and potentially endanger people who ingest them. During the growing phase, animals can contaminate produce, toxic substances in the soil, and even workers with poor hygiene. Furthermore, when the crop is harvested, the produce passes through many (unclean) hands, further increasing the risk of contamination. Contamination can even occur after purchase, during food preparation, and through improper storage.
Many outbreaks in recent years have come from contaminated foods, including lettuce like romaine and spinach, tomatoes, and cantaloupe. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to issue numerous recalls to prevent diseases and illnesses.
There has already been a total of 80 recalls since June 4, 2o21, with that number set to increase in 2022 and beyond. Even recently, Dole Fresh Vegetables announced a voluntary precautionary recall of all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Bessemer City, NC, and Yuma, AZ processing facilities due to possible health risks from a foodborne pathogen known as Listeria monocytogenes.
While you might be trying to clean your produce to remove pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, and other contaminants, you might still be washing it with water that contains the very same pollutants you’re trying to get off your produce. A quick and easy solution is to use filtered water instead, as it doesn’t have any contaminants that may end up re-contaminating your fruits and veggies.
5. Filtered water helps you bake better bread.
More and more restaurants and bakeries are getting on board with using filtered water when making freshly baked bread and other tasty baked goods. That’s because any good baker knows baking is both an art and science.
When baking bread, achieving consistently good results doesn’t only require high-quality ingredients and precise measurements. Water is necessary for gluten to form, for dispersing salt, sugar, and yeast throughout your dough, for yeast fermentation, and for the consistency of your dough.
Dissolved hard minerals and chemicals like chlorine are common offenders that will impact your baking. While some amount of hard minerals in water is acceptable for baking bread, extremely hard water can reduce the fermentation rate and tighten the gluten in your dough, altering the texture and making the loaf hard and dry. Additionally, the presence of chlorine will reduce fermentation rates and change the taste of your final product.
Luckily, filtered water increases the effectiveness of the yeast, allowing it to rise more and make softer treats. Filtration also removes chlorine, leaving you with fresh-smelling and -tasting loaves. Furthermore, by “softening” the water to remove hardness minerals, you can achieve even better results.
Does Your Tap Water Need Filtering?
If your tap water tastes or smells funny, perhaps having a rotten egg scent or chlorine odor, you might want to evaluate your water source to determine the cause before cooking or baking with it.
Here are a few ways to evaluate your water source:
1. Locate your city’s latest water quality report.
For the safety of residents, US cities must publicly share information about their water quality. Therefore, you can look up everything you want to know about the tap water in your area. You can do a quick Google search for your town, plus the phrase “Water Report.” For instance, “Tampa Bay Water Report.” Look for your city’s latest report and see what water quality information you can find. Alternatively, you can contact your local water provider and request a copy of the document. However, before obtaining the water quality report, it’s good to know how to interpret its content. Our article How to Read Your Water Quality Report is a helpful guide.
2. Evaluate your water quality with a home water test kit.
If you want to play mad scientist for a few minutes, order a water testing kit and discover more about what’s really in your tap water. These kits are available from pool companies, pet stores, and online from various merchants. Water testing kits are relatively cheap and can produce accurate results in a relatively short time.
3. Send a water sample to a certified local laboratory.
For more thorough testing and accurate results, send a water sample from your home to a certified lab in your area. Although laboratory testing can be more expensive and time-consuming than the other methods described above, it is usually the most accurate. Springwell offers a water test kit you can use to evaluate your water quality with many different testing options.
How to Filter Water for Cooking and Baking: The Best Home Water Filtration System for the Job
Filtering your water is the first step to protecting your family from waterborne toxins, whether it’s for drinking, showering, or baking better bread. Investing in a drinking water filter is the right choice in general, but especially if you love cooking at home.
For example, our 4-Stage reverse osmosis water filter removes chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine byproducts and reduces heavy metals like lead and mercury. It also eliminates those pesky chlorine-resistant cysts, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and more. Heck, it can even remove those nasty bacteria known for causing illnesses and diseases among humans.
The system is compact enough to fit under any kitchen counter where it produces over 75 gallons of treated water per day. Include a water softener to eliminate hardness minerals from your water, and you’ll make it the ultimate filtration solution to help improve your cooking and baking at home.
What’s also great about the 4-Stage is that you get over 50 percent more savings than buying it elsewhere when you purchase it directly from our factory. The unit also has a lifetime warranty, a six-month money-back guarantee, and free shipping. And most importantly, you get peace of mind knowing you can whip up mouthwatering meals at home without your tap water sabotaging your efforts – all while living a much healthier lifestyle.
The whole point of cooking is ending up with food that tastes and smells great. However, if you have been having trouble finding any success in the kitchen lately, your tap water might be the culprit – not always your cooking skills or not having the right tools or ingredients.
Cooking with unfiltered water can ruin your favorite dishes and pastries and expose you and your family to a myriad of potentially dangerous contaminants. Thankfully, a quality water filtration system can eliminate impurities from your tap water, such as chlorine, lead, bacteria, etc.
By filtering your water, you can step into the kitchen every day with confidence, knowing that your water is contaminant-free and your dishes will come out exactly as they should. You’ll also be sure that your family is getting the safest and healthiest water possible.
Have any questions? Our team at Springwell is here to help! With more than two decades of providing some of the most affordable and innovative water filtration systems for households and businesses, we’d love to help you find a solution that fits your needs and budget. Call us at 800-589-5592 or write us today!