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Any trick to keep popcorn from being "chewy"?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've got a Paragon Cineplex 4oz. machine, ever time I use it to pop regular non caramel or kettle corn, the corn seems really chewy.

I thought maybe it was the oil or the corn was stale so I took the same raw materials and made some in the microwave, where it turned out just fine. It's a little depressing that microwaving it turns out better than making it in a real popcorn machine frown.gif

I have tried opening the door during the popping to let the steam out, thinking maybe the moisture was getting trapped and thats why it is too chewy, that hasn't helped, maybe it's making things worse.
post #2 of 16
This comes up all the time. Seems to me the consensus is to first try making it ahead of time and letting it sit for while with the warming tray on if you have one or at least with the inside light left on to dry it out a little. And stir it a couple of times while drying out.

The other thing is to "bake" it in a warm oven (like, 150 degrees) to dry it out for a couple of minutes. Check it to get it the way you want it.

I have the cheap one that Costco was selling and as long as I make it a little ahead of time and leave the light on, it comes out great.
post #3 of 16
I don't know the specifics of your popcorn machine, but I can tell you this...

Chewy popcorn is usually caused by cooking at too low a temperature. If it's an oil cooker, then the oil might not be hot enough before you begin. Can you let is pre-heat longer?

--nw
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't tried baking it in an oven, I have tried letting it sit for a while under the bulb in the machine but that hasn't seemed to make a big difference. I will try letting the oil sit and heat for a while longer before adding the corn. I usually put the oil in for less than a minute before adding the corn.
post #5 of 16
I let the oil heat up until I see steam start to rise from the kettle, then add the corn.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

I let the oil heat up until I see steam start to rise from the kettle, then add the corn.

I basically do the same. Put the oil in and two kernals of corn. When both kernals pop, I dump the rest in. Seems to work pretty well.
post #7 of 16
I pop the 6oz packets in a 4oz kettle. I warm it up for 5 minutes then dump the batch in, no problems. I always pop 1-2 hours before I eat it, letting the moisture work out.

People always say popcorn is better days after it is made and I believe it's that day after day it has less moisture....and thus crunchier and salt/flavors are more prevelant. If you plan on making/eating it immediately it will always be "chewy" IMO
post #8 of 16
Guys, I've tried all the above things and more. I even tried adjusting the thermostat on the kettle to get just the right temp, but nothing worked. I tried various grocery store brands of popcorn all the way from the generic to Orville. What solved my problem was going to Amazon and buying the the Paragon bulk 16.5 lb bag of popcorn. It pops perfectly. I did also increase the amount of oil. I used 2.5oz of coconut oil for 1 cup of corn. I'm pretty sure it was more the popcorn than the oil. The paragon popcorn was the solution although I would think the pre-packaged portions would work. The Paragon pops nice and crispy with no chewiness. I did leave a review under "donosan".

Can't guarantee anything, but it did the job for me. Good luck. I know it's frustrating, but give the Paragon a shot.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've got the giant bag of corn that all the theaters in town buy, I bought it from the same commercial supplier they use, that didn't help my chewiness problem. I think the giant theater poppers don't force as much moisture into the corn as my tiny little popper does
post #10 of 16
Pop with the door open.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebrunner View Post

I've got a Paragon Cineplex 4oz. machine, ever time I use it to pop regular non caramel or kettle corn, the corn seems really chewy.
I thought maybe it was the oil or the corn was stale so I took the same raw materials and made some in the microwave, where it turned out just fine. It's a little depressing that microwaving it turns out better than making it in a real popcorn machine frown.gif
I have tried opening the door during the popping to let the steam out, thinking maybe the moisture was getting trapped and thats why it is too chewy, that hasn't helped, maybe it's making things worse.
I cant comment on the cineplex(needed brakes so i couldn't get mine yet) but id try popping with the light/deck off(if you can) let the steam out after popping stops then put the deck on. with my whirley pop i usually let the corn sit in a bowl to "rest" for around 5 minutes while i prep drink and wash the popper, after that its crispy. i use Orville corn and paragon oil if that helps but IMHO what corn to use is purely subjective to the "kettle master"
post #12 of 16
Nebrunner... does your machine have a tray warmer...?

I use the pre-packs.
I use 8oz packs in a 6oz popper.
I turn on the machine.
Open the pre-pack and empty the coconut oil into the kettle.
Let the kettle heat up till I see a little smoke/steam coming off the kettle. My corn will usually start popping within a few minutes of dumping in the corn. The big thing is to let your kettle warm up good and hot before dumping in the corn.
I NEVER close the doors all the way while popping or heating the kettle. My Paragon has a sort of stainless steel bottom flap that comes up and meets the two doors. I swing the flap open and then open the doors about 1/3 of the way. Maybe even a little more than that.
Once popping slows, I dump the kettle and pop another pack if we are having guests.
Stir the popcorn with your scoop. I like to sift out some of the kernels and hulls. I believe this also helps make the popcorn a bit crispier.
I do believe the popcorn tastes better if it sets in the heat for an hour or two, so if you know your gonna watch a movie or two, fire up that machine early.
We don't always have the option of letting popcorn set for an hour or more. In this case, I usually pour out small portions to get everyone by for 20 minutes or so, then go back and serve full servings.
It's an art.
It takes patience.
...and it takes some experience.
YMMV... wink.gif

Good Luck…!!!
post #13 of 16
The kettle oil has to be HOT otherwise the corn never truly pops, thus retaining moisture. If you've ever fried something with oil that's too cool, the food absorbs the oil rather than sears. Frying popcorn is the same thing.
post #14 of 16
It is equally important to purchase from retailers that guarantee freshness. I purchase my popcorn (organic) from iherb.com. I like the fact that they display the inventory dates for all of their products so you know whether you are purchasing something fresh or not. They are running a special now where if you use coupon code GOV050, you can get $10 off your first order plus free shipping.
post #15 of 16
Keep your kettle clean too. I notice when mine starts to get some build up that they corn doesn't taste as well.
post #16 of 16
Ok.... I have tried everything mentioned in the comments but it haven't worked for me. I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!.... I always used a pot with a crank arm on it that pretty much turned to popcorn around inside. Im not say this will be everyone's problem but i want to share with the ones that can use it. My stove was too high..... i see it like roasting chestnuts... when you cook it low and shake it... it allows the whole cornel to cook then pop... when i cook it fast it reaches the temperature on one side too fast and pop.... Since only one side is cooked the other is chewy.....think about the movie theater the machine cook it on low while moving the cornels and that's the best popcorn

DG
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