Questions tagged [chemistry]

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

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24
votes
3answers
7k views

How deeply will the flavors in a brine penetrate chicken?

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 ...
17
votes
3answers
70k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
33
votes
7answers
13k views

Can one bake a cake with a cooked egg instead of a raw one?

This recent question about a person who wanted to bake a cake but only had a cooked egg left suggested me an even stupider one: is it possible to bake a cake with a cooked egg instead of a raw one? ...
6
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Chemical meat tenderizers

I know pineapple (Hawaiian cooking), onion (Chaliapin steak), pickle juice (Chick-fil-A) and honey (Shokugeki no Soma). All tenderize meat via cooking and / or marinating. My questions are: What ...
11
votes
2answers
11k views

How does hydration of a sourdough affect baking features?

Looking at different recipes for sourdough starters, there's everything from a mix as dry as cookie dough to as wet as gruel. In this (danish) recipe from the acclaimed chef Claus Meyer of a pretty ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

What happens with bread at >= 94˚C/201˚F? Or: Is temperature a reliable indicator of doneness?

So I baked a rye bread last night (in a bread pan). It was a new recipe for me and I had to adjust some things in it due to missing ingredients, so I could not fully rely on the time and temperature ...
15
votes
3answers
22k views

Does chlorine evaporate from water when cooking?

Most municipal water supplies in the U.S. include noticeable levels of chlorine or chloramine added to kill microbes, and often adds an objectionable chemical smell. Does chlorine evaporate when ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Does sputtering butter mean that water is present?

When I place a pat of butter in a hot pan, the butter melts and begins to sputter and steam. Then steam bubbles pop which sends tiny grease drops flying out of the pan. This happens consistently ...
8
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Why does salt prevent soy milk from curdling in hot coffee?

As many people have experienced, soy milk will often curdle in hot coffee. I've experienced this myself with both instant and fresh coffee, and with my homemade soy milk (not my favorite soy milk ...
13
votes
4answers
27k 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), ...
11
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

What turned my garlic purple?

I commonly use a technique when caramelizing onions, in which I add the sliced onions to a pan with salt, oil, and water. The water softens the onions and helps cook them evenly such that by the time ...
5
votes
1answer
492 views

The name or chemical compound responsible for a specific quality of some spices (numbness)

I'm putting together the results of a kitchen experiment and I'd like to be able to identify a phenomenon that I've noticed when using certain spices. I've felt it in some of what are often called "...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I extract menthol powder from fresh mint/peppermint?

I have peppermint/mint growing in my garden backyard. I want to make Ice Cream for children and they are asking for some flavour paan ice cream in Hindi (mint ice cream) and for that I want Menthol ...
14
votes
3answers
63k 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do shrimp / lobster / crab turn pink or red when cooking?

Cooking is a form of chemistry - so there must be a scientific reason behind this. Why do all crustaceans turn pink or red when cooked?
28
votes
7answers
36k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
4k 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
12k views

PH and sour / acid taste

I had always thought low pH foods had a noticeable sour (acid) taste, and vice-versa. But when reading The Bread Builders by Daniel Wing & Allan Scott, on page 54, it says: The sour taste of ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Why should milk boil to the rim?

In some cases hot milk is needed. My example is a ready made mixture for milk rice. The direction says I should heat the milk until it shows foam raising, which often raises up to the rim (or more). I ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Why does spinach lose its texture when cooked?

I know that cooking spinach until it loses its texture is called wilting, but what is the chemical process that is going on. It it losing moisture? If so why does it look so moist? Thanks!
1
vote
1answer
208 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 ...