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

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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, ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Why my meatballs sweated all of their fat?

I have made simple meatballs with red onions, some eggs, drizzle of olive oil and chopped scallions. Put them into the oven at 220c (440f) and this is what came out: They sweated all of their fat ...
18
votes
5answers
10k views

How long is garlic butter safe, and why is it not a botulism risk like garlic in oil?

I've been making garlic butter for years, storing it for months at a time. When I read that garlic-in-oil can grow dangerous amounts of botulinum toxins after similar lengths of time, I wondered how ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

preparing lupini beans?

Lupini beans are an ancient and delicious snack food widely consumed around the Mediterranean and elsewhere. But they naturally contain high levels of toxic alkaloids, so they require special ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

How do I measure the ripeness of my tomatoes?

In my quest for a perfect shakeshouka (eggs in poultry) I figured out I need less acidity in the dish, and have read that acidity in tomatoes varies widely. I have read that very ripe tomatoes have ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

What is the optimal concentration of sugar for baker's yeast?

I'd like to do an experiment on what concentration of sugar would be best for fastest yeast fermentation. I'm thinking to put some active dry yeast into different concentrations of sugar water and ...
2
votes
2answers
49 views

Is there a comprehensive overview of food colors?

I found a small list of food additives compiled by the FDA, but it looks rather incomplete and somewhat unspecific. For example, some colors like gold (probably the real thing) or silver (E171 - ...
14
votes
4answers
12k views

Coconut Water from White vs Brown Coconuts

The warning label on each coconut describes how to treat the water within each. The water on the brown coconut is to be discarded; the water on the white coconut is safe for consumption. In what ...
1
vote
0answers
21 views

Storing Transglutaminase once opened

I have a sealed packet of Transglutaminase/Activa powder. However its much more than I need for this recipe. I know it deactivates quickly after being exposed to air. Whats the best way to store it ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

Adjusting protien pH before cooking

Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for Sichuan pork where pork tenderloin is marinated for 15 mins in a baking soda solution (1t NaHCO3/ 8T H2O) and then rinsed before cooking. The goal being to raise ...
11
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

What can I do to prevent the gaseous side effect of sunchokes?

I'd love to eat sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes or topinambour) more frequently, but the side effects (gas, abdominal discomfort) are a bummer. In a home kitchen, how can I prepare the sunchokes ...
10
votes
2answers
368 views

Why do we dimple a focaccia?

When I was making a focaccia earlier today, I realised that I've never been told why we dimple them before baking. A quick Googling didn't reveal anything, so I'm asking here: why do we make dimples ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

How to make hard candy with only fruit as a sweetener

I have a child with a restricted diet that can have no added sugar or other form of sweetener, with the exception of fruit juice. He is in desperate need of cough drops or throat lozenges, but I find ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the grey-black specks that appear when whipping cream in stainless steel bowl?

When we whip cream by hand in a stainless steel bowl, with a metal whisk, small grey specks, ~0.5-1mm in size, appear in the cream. The specks are squishy and can easily be smeared out. See attached ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Does cooking vegetables increase their flavor?

Is there some scientific explanation for why one cooks vegetables? I mean apart from increasing the ability to digest. Are there flavor enhancements going on? Does the temperature have to rise about ...
1
vote
2answers
463 views

How can I get a syrupy “mouth-feel” in sugar-free syrup?

I viscerally hate low calorie sugar replacements - all of them, including Splenda (sucralose), except in one application. In my iced coffee I like sugar-free hazelnut syrup. The brand that I've been ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

Baking soda for soaking chickpeas [duplicate]

This source claims that adding baking soda is crucial when soaking chickpeas. Is this true, and if so, what is the reason that this works?
10
votes
4answers
16k views

homemade mint extract

I've got some mint in the yard (I think it's apple mint, as the leaves are very fuzzy and rounded) from which I'd like to make mint extract. No specific use in mind (except perhaps insect repellent), ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

How can I find out if yeast or yeast producing are present in foods?

How can I know if a food or ingredient contains yeast or yeast-producing ingredient? My condition requires yeast-free foods and ingredients.
3
votes
4answers
4k views

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 ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How deeply will the flavors in a brine penetrate chicken? (experiment results)

I'm not asking about salt or "juiciness". I think there is enough evidence here and elsewhere to answer that question with "pretty deep, or all the way to the bone". My question concerns spices and ...
4
votes
2answers
310 views

What is the difference between a thickener and an emulsifier?

I ask this because I have used a minuscule amount of Xanthan Gum to slightly thicken a chilli sauce I have made. However upon looking at the ingredients of many popular chilli sauces they all tend to ...
2
votes
2answers
665 views

Aiding the Maillard reaction: Baking Powder or Baking Soda?

I will attempt to cook a Thai Green Chicken Curry. I'll be using cubed boneless chicken thigh which I would like to brown really well. I remember reading somewhere that Baking Powder or Baking Soda ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Adding cold water during cooking of beans and cooking time

After soaking dry beans, I place beans on heat, so they boil for couple of hours, and they cook pretty well. But if I add just one cup of cold water (at room temperature) during boiling, temperature ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Flavour enhancers [closed]

I've read that vanilla is usually used to highlight/enhance the flavour of chocolate, lemon juice the flavour of strawberries, and MSGs the flavour of meat. What other flavour enhancers are out there? ...
5
votes
1answer
872 views

Difference between fermentation and leavening?

What is the technical difference between fermentation and leavening? Both cause bread to rise. Does fermentation only refer to the chemical process of one substance converting to another, which ...
1
vote
1answer
172 views

How to increase the temperature of my double boiler?

I have a double boiler that I wish to use to prepare a batch of fudge. The recipe I am using calls for heating to 240°F (=116°C), but a double boiler is limited to the boiling point of the working ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Differences between gel and gelatine

Are they physically different? If so, what is the difference, between a gel and gelatine, or it's proccesses gelation and gelling (gelatinization. gelatinisation)?
3
votes
1answer
275 views

Chemical process behind hardening ice cream

We made a simple ice cream by mixing whipping cream, sugar, and Nutella. After 5-6 hours (surely enough time for the ice cream to cool to the temperature of the freezer), it was soft (mechanically ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Why would parsnips make a beef stock not freeze?

I made a beef stock the way I always do, except that I added parnsips. Then I put the stock in the freezer and when I took it out, the stock was not frozen. It was freezing cold, but instead of having ...
6
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Create hot “sauce” from capsaicin extract

There are a lot of hot sauces like "Blairs Mega Death" with more than 500.000 scoville heat units. However, they do have some odd taste, which I don't really like. So I'm thinking of creating a sauce ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

When you try to “catch” yeast from the air: is it normal for the flour and water to split

I'm trying to "catch" wild yeast for the first time. 36 hours ago I mixed a cup of flour and a cup of water and left it out on a shelf with a paper towel over the top. It's been between 45 and 70 ...
0
votes
1answer
249 views

Is it safe to drink from a mug that has a hole in the glazing and was made in China? [closed]

Is it safe to drink from a ceramic mug that has a hole in the glazing at the bottom and was made in China?
2
votes
1answer
156 views

Preserving Nerds / Pop Rocks so they activate in the mouth and not in the food

I want to be able to use Nerds and/or Pop rocks in cooking. However, unless the food is ultra dry, the food itself activates / dissolves it; I want it activated in the mouth. a) Is there a way to do ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the maximum internal temperature of baked goods?

Obviously this will vary depending on the size/shape and ingredients used. But how hot does it get inside, say, a loaf of bread? A cake? How wide is the variation? What ingredients (or factors other ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Why are there holes in pasta dough when it is cold

I made some pasta dough this morning and put it in the fridge. When I ran the first batches thru the roller there were some holes in the pasta after it came out of the roller. But for later batches, ...
6
votes
0answers
105 views

Inulin reduction in Jerusalem Artichokes [duplicate]

Last year we first planted Jerusalem Artichokes (Topinambour) in our vegetable garden. The plants did very well and we had quite a huge harvest. We found however that eating the tubers causes ...
1
vote
0answers
12 views

Dry aging at home - is it really possible? [duplicate]

I am thinking to test the process of dry aging at home. I have some questions: What exactly are the processes a piece of meat experiences, in this case, beef, from the time it is slaughtered to the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What factors affect collagen to gelatin conversion?

I have a bunch of oxtails I've been braising for hours in an adobo sauce and they remain awfully tough. What I'd love to see happen is for that abundant connective tissue to melt away and coat each ...
6
votes
1answer
819 views

How can I tell which fruits etc. contain proteases?

After my second attempt at making a ginger mousse with gelatin and finding that it fails, I've discovered that fresh ginger contains a protease. I knew that pineapple does, and that it complicates ...
4
votes
1answer
295 views

Why don't other grain proteins behave like gluten?

There are many excellent explanations here (and elsewhere) of what gluten "does." What I haven't seen anywhere is an explanation of what makes gluten so special. Where do its marvelous elastic ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Cooked meat diaper: toxic?

I accidentally left the meat diaper underneath my roast in a slow cooker. After 8 hours, the diaper is mostly disintegrated. I am able to fish out fragments, but big chunks seem to be missing. (For ...
3
votes
1answer
886 views

Why use citric acid and sodium hexametaphosphate in cheese sauce?

I was watching a YouTube video from ChefSteps on how to make cheese sauce. They used sodium citrate and sodium hexametaphosphate. What are the reasons for including these in the recipe? What are the ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

what makes red tomato sauce turn orange in colour?

I have noticed that tomato sauce (having started with deep red tomatoes) can turn orange. The colour change isn't from mixing in an ingredient of different colour such as cream. It seems to occur in ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

How can I avoid getting swindled? How can I detect polyphosphates in fish fillets?

Fish fillets are treated with polyphosphates for several reasons, but mainly to increase their weight (and hence the profit). According to this FAO paper: The first and universal effect of all ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

What determines the 'saltiness' of salt?

I've bought two brands of salt that are completely different in terms of 'salt' concentration(not sure if this is the correct terminology). I realized this because I needed three or four times more ...
8
votes
1answer
531 views

Does the speed of opening of a bottle of wine influence its flavour?

While having a (good) bootle of wine at a friends place I've been told the following: The bottle should be uncorked slowly and silently, not to spoil its bouquet. This statement came as ...