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Even so, Texans have become particularly creative in this heat wave, proofing bread in a mailbox, baking chocolate chip cookies in the car and popping popcorn on pavement. Photos and videos of the endeavors have circulated on social media, where others have tried to recreate the culinary feats.
And yes, plenty of people have documented the old standby: frying an egg on a sidewalk.
In July, photos of a Houston-area woman who supposedly baked bread in her mailbox went viral. The reality was a tad different, though. The woman, Roberta Wright, a retired public school educator and administrator, only proofed the bread there.
Proofing refers to the process of allowing yeast to ferment the dough, which allows it to rise. It most often refers to the second rise, after the baker shapes the dough. Once risen, the dough goes in the oven. Still, the photo was shared more than 12,000 times on Facebook and picked up by media outlets nationwide.
“I bet it would be a nice surprise for your mail carrier,” Wright, who is also a children’s author, told KTRK-TV in Houston. “My response is, only bake on Sunday. No mail delivery.”
Baking bread might not have worked, but baking cookies is another matter.
The National Weather Service in Midland recently posted photos of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, straight out of a hot car, to remind people of the dangers cars pose in this heat.
With a temperature of 105 degrees, the car heated up to 190 degrees. The sheet of cookies took about four and a half hours to bake.
“Even though ours weren’t golden brown cooked, this heat is still INCREDIBLY dangerous to anyone left in a hot car,” the agency wrote. “LOOK before you LOCK!”
Last month, the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management in Arizona went a step further and baked pizza in a car to highlight the danger of a hot car. The cheese reportedly melted in just 10 minutes.
Others on social media have posted photos of their own car cookies and car s’mores.
On Wednesday, Roy Ponder, a weather enthusiast in McKinney, shared a photo on Facebook of his comedic attempt to pop a bag of popcorn on pavement. Curious if it would work, several people posted their own photos of pavement popcorn.
But even Texas heat is no match for popcorn, which requires a temperature of roughly 350 degrees to pop.
“Times like these, when it’s 107 degrees day after day, I was just going for a little fun to lighten the mood,” Ponder said.
For budding scientists, Ponder suggested fashioning together a solar oven, which can be as simple as a pizza or shoebox wrapped in foil.
And it turns out, even the old fried egg on a sidewalk doesn’t really work. An egg needs a temperature of 158 degrees to become firm, according to the Library of Congress.
Sidewalk temperatures can vary widely depending on the composition of the material, whether it is in direct sunlight and the temperature, the library points out. One experiment found that a hot sidewalk reached only 145 degrees, and once an egg is cracked, it cooled the sidewalk, making it impossible to get an evenly cooked egg.
For those committed to making heat-wave eggs, try the hood of a car, the library suggests. Or settle for a very soft scramble.