Questions about the chemical composition or properties of ingredients and dishes.

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11
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1answer
3k views

Why do people recommend cream of tartar when whipping egg whites to the exclusion of all other acids?

Virtually every single egg white recipe will say add some cream of tartar to egg whites to help them whip better because the cream of tartar will lower the pH and make it more stable. But if all it's ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Cooking Chemistry: lemon juice/soymilk buttermilk substitute turning bitter and 'rising'

I made a soup recipe the other night (mainly potato, spinach, and veggie broth) that called for buttermilk. I substituted soymilk and lemon juice, reading online that that was a good substitution for ...
6
votes
2answers
845 views

How do I calculate the final acidity of homemade vinegar?

I am making vinegar by mixing vinegar (containing the mother) and wine, and then allowing fermentation to occur. I am wondering how to calculate the final % acidity. Assume: I know the initial ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Do breadcrumbs really act as a binder in meat preparations?

I routinely hear that breadcrumbs are added to burgers and meatballs to bind them. For example, see the answers to this question: how to stop meatballs falling apart. On the other hand, I have heard ...
2
votes
1answer
263 views

Flavor and Chemical Composition of Thyme

What is the flavor of Thyme? What chemicals give it this flavor?
3
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3answers
3k views

Dissolving Egg Shell

I know that an egg shell is made up of approximately 92% Calcium Carbonate. The remaining percentage of the mass is a protein matrix. I know that vinegar (5% acetic acid) dissolves the Calcium ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Why do uncooked frostings that contain milk not need to be refrigerated?

I have seen (and used) recipes for icing and glaze that use uncooked milk in them, yet they do not need to be refrigerated. (For example, one with powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and butter or ...
1
vote
3answers
921 views

What chemical(s) gives molasses its flavor so that it is used as an ingredient?

I'm curious why there isn't a zero-calorie molasses substitute. The USDA nutrient database lists a bunch of minerals, but what is it that gives it the "taste" of molasses?
3
votes
3answers
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Why does strata have to come to room temperature before baking?

I've made strata a few times before, usually for brunches where I have a number of guests coming over and don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen. I always follow instructions in the recipe; I ...
0
votes
1answer
249 views

Is it possible to thicken frozen cream?

I know you can use frozen cream for cooking applications such as in gratin, but can I thicken the cream? By thicken, I mean making it into something like a bechamel sauce. Would I pour the cream in ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the purpose of oil or butter in bread?

Specifically in wheat and potato breads, what is the purpose of adding oil or butter to the dough? I have always assumed it was just for flavor, but I suspect there is some background chemical ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Coffee foam vs. Tea foam

One sign of really good fresh well-roasted coffee beans is foam. When you pour hot water into the French press, it foams, often forming a head up to 2" high. And when you use an espresso machine, ...