Black Garlic is made by keeping garlic at a high humidity + 140 degree temp for 8+ weeks (generally speaking) Keep it hot and humid for a long time.

"Bulbs are kept in a humidity-controlled environment at temperatures that range from 60 to 77 °C (140 to 170 °F) for 60 to 90 days. There are no additives, preservatives, or burning of any kind. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. Those conditions are thought to facilitate the Maillard reaction" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_garlic

The Maillard reaction and caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning. However, unlike the Maillard reaction, caramelization is pyrolytic, as opposed to being a reaction with amino acids. (straight from the wiki caramelization page)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramelization

It seems to me that making black garlic is pyrolytic (head induced) and I can't find any information as to how exactly it is a reaction with amino acids.

Why is it defined as a maillard reaction and not caramelization?

  • What are you asking @Mo1?
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 10:48
  • I don't understand SF
    – Mo1
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 10:58
  • ok. I misunderstood the question. Well, both reactions are definitely heat induced, and both result in products more complex than the substrates, so I definitely don't see why one would be pyrolytic and the other not. The only difference is caramelization only involves sugars while Maillard reaction involves both sugars and amino acids, and the set of products is different, also producing different flavor. The simplest answer as to why define it as one and not the other is 'it tastes umami, not caramel'.
    – SF.
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 11:11
  • To me it superficially looks more like a chemical process which is facilitated by heat, and not a more simple heat caramelization.
    – brhans
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 14:09
  • I'd argue that it's not either Malliard or Caramelization, but its own thing.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 17:20


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