How will my cooking time be affected if I substitute cremini mushrooms for shiitake mushrooms?
The goal of cooking mushrooms is to evaporate their liquid so they can brown and their flavor can intensify. To identify any difference in water weight between cremini and shiitake mushrooms that would affect cooking times, we chopped 8 ounces of each and placed them in separate pots with no liquid or oil. We covered the pots and cooked each batch for 10 minutes over medium-low heat. We then removed the mushrooms from the pans and weighed them again. The shiitakes lost 1.1 ounces of water, or about 14 percent of their weight, while the cremini mushrooms lost 4.8 ounces, or about 60 percent of their weight. The higher water content of the creminis was confirmed when we sautéed a batch of each mushroom. The creminis took nearly five minutes longer than the shiitakes to release their liquid and begin to brown. In the end, we decided that it’s fine to make a substitution, keeping in mind that the creminis will have a slightly softer texture and a bit less intense flavor. Just remember to sauté or stir-fry creminis for a few extra minutes until their excess liquid completely evaporates.