All about the scientific theories behind food. Cooking myths debunked here.

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5
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3answers
8k views

Why do my egg whites separate after whipping?

Every time I try to whip egg whites, I seem to end up with the same problem. After a good bit of strenuous beating with the whisk, the egg whites finally reach the "firm peak" stage. I then go grab ...
2
votes
2answers
651 views

looking for edible paper

At some point I came across some edible paper. I don't know which company makes it or where to find it? I think I recall that it was possible to write on it. I encountered it back in the '80's. ...
10
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3answers
5k views

Why do marshmallows poof up so huge when put in the microwave?

As anyone who's put marshmallows in the microwave knows, they expand a ton! Sometimes they puff up to literally more than twice their original size (YouTube video for those who haven't seen it). So, ...
13
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1answer
7k views

Why don't dry bread crumbs spoil, when bread does?

Why don't store-bought bread crumbs spoil? Can you make your own bread crumbs and save them for later use? Will homemade breadcrumbs mold?
5
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2answers
895 views

What does a fridge do apart from storing and cooling?

There are quite a lot of recipes ending with 'Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours'. I've had this with tiramisu, chocolate mousse, panna cotta to name a few. All of these have ingredients like ...
4
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1answer
261 views

How Can I Make Flour More White When Under Process In Flour Mill

My father is a flour miller. He wants to know how he can make wheat, or flour more specifically, whiter during the milling process. Is there anything that can be done before in preparation or after ...
32
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3answers
1k views

Theoretical: why there's no gradient of doneness in bread?

I was always wondering, why there's no gradient of doneness visible on the cuts of bigger breads. For example: This one was made in the baking form, it has a thin visible crust, but after that the ...
3
votes
2answers
984 views

Freezing temp of carbonated beverages

I sometimes put bottles of soda in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to get them near frozen (taste SO much better that way). If I time it just right I'll pull the bottle out and the liquid will appear ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did my vinaigrette emulsify so quickly?

When I make salad dressing, I usually don't expect my vinaigrette to emulsify particularly well. I don't do any of the steps described in this question about vinaigrette emulsification, such as ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Is there an authoritative source on whether salt affects pasta stickiness?

The Seasoned Advice answer to Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta? is that it makes the pasta less sticky by inhibiting starch gelation. This seems to be a controversial question, with lots ...
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5answers
1k views

Tricks to ensure Mailliard/Browning reaction?

Seems like a question that would've been asked before, but I couldn't find a pre-existing question. Sorry if this is a duplicate. Anyway, I do a lot of stir-fry, usually with chicken. My usual ...
3
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1answer
2k views

How do the ingredients in baking powder work?

Baking powder is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), corn starch and creme of tartar mixed together. Can anyone tell me what the effect of these different ingredients have (and have on each other) and ...
10
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3answers
3k views

Why does bread taste raw if you stop baking it and continue after it has cooled?

Unlike, for example, almost anything that is made on the stove and even cakes (of course, as long as your cake doesn't fall as you take it out of the oven), if you stop baking a loaf of bread for some ...
2
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4answers
24k views

What are the functions of vinegar in cooking?

I have used vinegar for flavor as a substitute for salt and noticed that it is used in salads, not sure why perhaps as preserver/flavour. But I have never realized that it could be used in much more ...
7
votes
1answer
728 views

What is the purpose of a pressure cooker in a rice cooker?

Some of the more expensive rice cookers advertise that they use pressure in combination with induction to cook rice. On one Japanese website that sells rice cookers, they showed some diagrams that I ...
6
votes
1answer
281 views

Does accidental vinegar have a culture that I can pass along?

Background: A couple of years ago we left a half drunk bottle of Sirah on the counter and it went to vinegar. A really nice vinegar with a pleasant, mild flavor, and we've been using splash here and a ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

How could I keep one-ingredient “ice cream” soft?

According to this question, guar gum and xanthan gum can be used to keep ice cream soft by preventing ice crystals and keeping the air that's been mixed in from leaving the ice cream. We have tried ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Will potatoes turn brown / gray in oil?

When I was a fry cook we made fresh fries and kept them in a bucket of water to keep them from turning brown (not sure if that's oxidation or what), will oil inhibit the same chemical reaction? I ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Using seltzer to help a marinade

I saw the host on a cooking show claim that using seltzer in a marinade will help the flavors better penetrate meat via the carbonation. Is there any truth to this, and how would it actually work? ...
11
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2answers
31k views

Is it scientifically verified that bananas will ripen faster when kept in a bowl with other fruit?

I've heard you shouldn't keep bananas in a bowl with other fruit. But they all look so happy together. What I'd like to see is hard science here. Or at least documented and repeatable observation. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I reduce nitrate concentration in vegetables before or during cooking?

Can someone tell me how to minimize nitrate concentration in raw vegetables before cooking them? I need this advice very much because I'm cooking vegetables for my infant son, and I've heard that high ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

What are best practices for using Yoghurt as a Marinade?

I'm cooking for 30, Lamb Chops are on the menu and I want to do them in a Yogurt Marinade. I've done Yogurt Marinades with mixed results and I wonder if there are some best practices? specifically: ...
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5answers
23k views

Is “until juices run clear” a valid test for poultry doneness? Why or why not?

I've come across this particular recommendation many times in various recipes and cookbooks and probably even given it out myself once or twice. Poultry is sufficiently cooked when the juices run ...
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3answers
3k views

Commercial Sponge Cake Improver?

Many years ago (35+) my grandmother received a container of a 'sponge cake improver' from a family member whom was a commercial baker. She describes it as looking like a thick amber liquid or paste. ...
14
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2answers
12k views

What does beating eggs actually do (chemically speaking)?

When I look at a lot of recipes, any eggs usually have to be beaten before they're added. If it's all going to be mixed anyway (and well, in dough for example) is it really necessary?
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4answers
2k views

Does preparation of food change the nutritional content with respect to fat type?

I apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge in how a fat comes to be saturated, and perhaps therein lies the answer to this question. However, due to my wife's gall stones I need to remove hard to ...
5
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1answer
187 views

Why does horseradish paste “curdle” when cooked?

I once made a tuna marinade that included some imitation wasabi paste. Usually when I cook like this, once the fish is done I cook down the marinade into a thicker sauce. In this case, the sauce ...
9
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5answers
64k views

Beef: Red on the outside, brown on the inside

Take bright-red ground beef and put it in a freezer for a few days. After taking it out and letting it thaw, it looks fairly red on the outside, but brown on the inside. Why is that? From the ...
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6answers
1k views

What's causing the metallic aftertaste in my Nutraloaf?

Thanks to all of the wonderful help thus far, I've finally been able to make my Überfood. It's called "Nutraloaf", and is kind of like a meatloaf with a bunch of other stuff in it. It has no real ...
6
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4answers
958 views

How can I make an Überfood?

Each day, you're supposed to get a certain number of servings of grains, vegetables, fats, etc. You know, the food pyramid. However, instead of going to all the trouble to prepare three meals with ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What are the advantages of using a stove instead of an oven?

Are there any advantages to using a stove instead of oven? As a woman of science, this is a question that has been lingering in my noggin for a very long time. The main points I'd like to see ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

When creating a recipe, what determines whether 2 ingredients will go well together?

Over the weekends when I have more time to play in the kitchen, I often experiment by putting things together just to see how they taste/interact with each other. I've been doing this pretty randomly ...
25
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16answers
6k views

Books that explain the science of cooking?

I have been cooking for a while now, but its mostly what I picked up watching others cook. I usually experiment with ingredients, try out a few things, and learn from there. In short, there is nothing ...
14
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2answers
27k views

Why do red onions turn blue or green when cooking sometimes?

I cooked a pot of beans with some red onions last night. Today for lunch when I got them out of the fridge, all of the onions had turned a blue/green colour! They still taste ok, but sure looks ...
12
votes
1answer
7k views

Why do microwave ovens make bread rubbery?

Why does heating bread (cinnamon buns) in a microwave give it a rubbery texture, when a regular oven doesn't? What are the chemical or structural changes?
5
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1answer
460 views

TVP - textured vegetable protein

Can anyone tell me how TVP is produced?
14
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2answers
2k views

The science of confit

In recent weeks I have made both duck leg and pork belly confit with rich tasting and great texture results. I want to experiment with this technique further but to do so, and avoid wasting meat and ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Why does roasting vegetables before pureeing into soup affect the flavour?

Last night I made a butternut squash soup. The recipe said to roast some squash and onion for 45 mins before boiling with stock for 15 and then pureeing. Is anyone able to explain (in moderate depth) ...
11
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1answer
3k views

What happens to the flavour of meat when you cook it Star Anise with Onions?

What exactly is the chemical reaction that occurs when you cook Star Anise with Onions? According to Heston Blumenthal doing this intensifies the flavour of meat. Ultimately what I want to know is ...
20
votes
2answers
8k views

What is that gooey stuff from okra?

When cooking okra in a bit of water, the water becomes gooey. What does the okra release that makes the water slimy? Would the goo have other culinary uses (as an additive to thicken sauces or ...
8
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4answers
14k views

Why would cooked spinach contain more iron than raw?

I've been researching the nutrient content of various foods and I've found that cooked spinach appears to have more iron than raw spinach (3.57 mg / 100g vs 2.71 mg /100g). Intuitively, I would have ...
13
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9answers
25k views

Why doesn't chocolate go bad?

After all it has oil and sugar in it. Why doesn't bacteria love it? Thanks!
8
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2answers
291 views

Does chopping steak negate the benefit of using better meat?

A sub shop I liked to go to in college offered two kinds of cheesesteak: the "'regular' cheese steak sub" and the "Filet Mignon steak sub." The only difference between the two was the cut of meat ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

“Cooking” with acid (ceviche)

At a tappas bar, I had shrimp ceviche. In this dish, the shrimp is "cooked" not by high temperature but by the citric acid of its marinade. This would be really fun to make at home. For such dishes, ...
4
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2answers
4k views

Does marinating break down proteins the way brining does?

Brining makes meat tender because the salt (and some sugar) breaks down proteins. Shouldn't a salty/sugary marinade do the same thing?
13
votes
10answers
23k views

What causes the difference between Maine and Canadian lobsters?

In a first-season episode of the US TV show Kitchen Nightmares, the well-known chef Gordon Ramsay states that there's a "big difference [in] taste and flavor" between Maine lobsters and Canadian ...
43
votes
2answers
61k views

Why can applesauce be used in place of oil?

In many recipes, mostly desserts, it is suggested that you can substitute oil with applesauce to reduce the fat content. But why applesauce? Is there something special about applesauce or are there ...
37
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3answers
7k views

Why do tomatoes get so hot?

Ever noticed how certain foods seem to get a lot hotter than others? I almost never burn my tongue or mouth... except on tomatoes; Pizza sauce, tomatoes in panini sandwiches or spaghetti sauce. ...
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3answers
5k views

Is MSG necessary or what to replace it with?

I have always heard that you should stay away MSG. For example when buying bouillon crystals we should always make sure that it doesn't contain MSG. Yet I came across this recipe for spinach soup that ...
11
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2answers
830 views

How does salmonella get into eggs?

Since a few hundred million eggs have been recalled, I'm wondering how salmonella gets into eggs in the first place. Is it getting on the shells from the environment (or the hen)? Is it inside the ...