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The Maillard reaction is crucial to much cookery, in particular the browning of meat prior to cooking stews such as beef bourguignon. This reaction is described science of cooking:

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat. Like caramelization, it is a form of non-enzymatic browning. The reactive carbonyl group of the sugar interacts with the nucleophilic amino group of the amino acid, and interesting but poorly characterized odor and flavor molecules result. This process accelerates in an alkaline environment because the amino groups do not neutralize. This reaction is the basis of the flavoring industry, since the type of amino acid determines the resulting flavor.

Maillard reactions generally only begin to occur above 285°F (140°C).

Reading this, my first thought is can I just do this once on mass, and add a bit each time I would otherwise brown the meat before making for example beef bourguignon. This seems like it would be a large time saver, as I could cook the meat from frozen as it usually starts that way. I would not mind some reduction in quality of flavour, but would of course not want anything that was potentially harmful.

My thought was to get some hydrolyzed vegetable protein, some glucose, some beef fat, perhaps some baking soda to get the right pH. Heat that up to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate time, then cool it down and perhaps store it in an ice cube tray in the freezer. One could then add an appropriate amount a stew relatively easily, saving time at the point of food preparation.

Would some such a procedure make the Maillard reaction occur? Would the result added to meat that was boiled from raw without browning be anywhere near the flavour achieved by browning the meat with a flour coating? Would the result be safe for human consumption?

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  • If you do this be sure to let us know how it goes after a couple of different attempts and give us the recipe if it works please May 14, 2023 at 0:52
  • In order to R&D this, you will likely need to contract a certified lab to conduct finished goods testing and shelf life testing. Keep in mind a lot of other testing is involved before you can scale it up as well. Facilities that do partial cooking like as you've described refer to the process as "heat-treatment"; these establishments usually have, e.g., IQF spiral blast freezers that can bring product from boiling point down to -15°F within the span of 45 minutes, which leaves much more room to contend with time-over-temp CCP's and also minimize quality impact. At minimum, a blast freezer.
    – Arctiic
    May 16, 2023 at 5:44

2 Answers 2

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There is a product called "browning sauce" which is used the way you want your "concentrated maillard" to be used. It's available in both homemade and commercial versions. However, browning sauce is made via caramelization of sugars, rather than the maillard reaction using proteins.

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    Looking at the homemade recipe I am not sure it is doing the Maillard reaction. The only ingredients are Brown sugar and Warm water. It is described as "made by caramelizing sugar" which is a different reaction.
    – User65535
    May 11, 2023 at 0:02
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    Oh, interesting! Yeah, you're right. Even the commercial browning sauces are made primarily by caramelization. Browning sauce is used the way you want your concentrate to be used, but it's not made that way. Demi-glace is also similar to what you want -- but it's made by concentrating a stock.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 11, 2023 at 22:05
  • Updating my answer for posterity.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 11, 2023 at 22:06
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Serious Eats, Food Navigator, this journal article and this, this wikipedia page are on the topic and may help you create a formula for making a flavor base, though none specifically provide this. Using yeast extract or HVP to produce flavors similar to caramelization and Maillard reaction is probably possible, and those ingredients are certainly food-safe.

Some possible commercial products include:

Caramelized Onion Powder by McCormick

Roast Umami by Ajinomoto

Maillard Reaction Flavor by Givaudan

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  • From the linked page, I had thought my procedure was roughly the correct temperature and cooking process for the Maillard reaction to occur. I would be interested in the off the shelf products are available that would be similar, the ones I am aware of largely are based on HVP.
    – User65535
    May 10, 2023 at 13:31
  • It seems much easier to get free amino acids and reducing sugars together as powders rather than from meat and flour as neither chemical is a large component of either food product.
    – User65535
    May 10, 2023 at 13:32
  • Can you point out where in the sources the recipe came from? Did you get the whole article of the food function paper? It sounds interesting, but there is little detail in the abstract.
    – User65535
    May 10, 2023 at 15:22
  • The paper is on scihub. I think your recipe is nothing like what they use and it could be misleading.
    – User65535
    May 10, 2023 at 16:22
  • Fair enough...I will edit to make it less specific, and no longer consider it AI-supported, thought Bing's connection allowed me access to the links.
    – moscafj
    May 10, 2023 at 16:32

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