Questions tagged [chemistry]

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

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17
votes
3answers
79k 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 ...
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vote
1answer
221 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 ...
12
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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, ...
0
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
2
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2answers
61 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 - ...
1
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0answers
157 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 ...
12
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2answers
6k 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 ...
10
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2answers
2k 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 ...
0
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2answers
355 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
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2answers
2k 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?
1
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1answer
103 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.
4
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4answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
5k 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
7k 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 ...
0
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1answer
212 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? ...
7
votes
1answer
9k 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
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1answer
4k 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
1answer
732 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
169 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
34k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
351 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
419 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 ...
1
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1answer
1k 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
138 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 ...
2
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0answers
28 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 ...
10
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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
858 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
21k 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
162 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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 something ...
8
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2answers
14k 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
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2answers
1k views

All else held equal, does a pot of tea have more total caffeine than a mug?

Let's say you have one tea bag and can either brew it in a mug of boiling water, or a larger tea kettle of boiling water. The temperature, steeping time, type of tea bag, etc. are held constant. ...
3
votes
1answer
547 views

Vinegar in stock

One day I finished cooking a beef stock. When I poured the stock into a glass bowl and added some vinegar, a cloudy precipitate formed and remained suspended in the stock, leaving it somewhat cloudy. ...
4
votes
2answers
676 views

Food-safe rotary evaporator grease

For those of you who have rotary evaporators or other chemistry glassware in the kitchen, what do you use to grease the ground glass taper/ ball joints so that the lubricant does not either absorb or ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Why brewed coffee in a pot needs a lid?

Coffee in an electric drip brewer (a model like this) goes all murky brown and opaque very fast, when the pot is left without a lid. With lid, it stays translucent and bright dark brown for quite a ...
5
votes
1answer
517 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 "...
1
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1answer
2k 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!
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What chemical(s) gives molasses its flavor so that it is used as an ingredient?

I'm curious why there isn't a zero-calorie molasses substitute. The USDA nutrient database lists a bunch of minerals, but what is it that gives it the "taste" of molasses?
1
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2answers
4k views

How can I clean these brown iron stains in my pot?

I use a big aluminium pot to boil water. I think the water contains iron because after 4-6 months, the inside of the pot is full of brown stains. The colour is just like ferric. There are lots of ...
1
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1answer
1k views

Why does chewing gum sometimes change its texture

Although this is more a general food related question, I wonder why chewing gum sometimes changes its texture and looses its chewy quality?
0
votes
1answer
327 views

Is it possible to thicken frozen cream?

I know you can use frozen cream for cooking applications such as in gratin, but can I thicken the cream? By thicken, I mean making it into something like a bechamel sauce. Would I pour the cream in ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

By what reactions do moisture and light steal away my coffee's freshness?

Typically, the standard advice for prolonging your coffee is to store it in an air-tight, light-tight, dry container. At a chemical level, what happens when coffee is left in humid or sunny conditions ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How come mere water buffalo milk and lemon juice mixture turn into yogurt?

Yogurt is produced by the fermentation of lactose in milk by the bacteria of yogurt-ferment. Without those bacteria it is not possible to make yogurt. But surprisingly, water buffalo milk and lemon ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

Separating Chlorophyll didn't work

I tried to extract chlorophyll from spinach by blending up some spinach and water and straining out the green juice, then heating the juice. I've done it before, but this time, it wouldn't separate. ...
7
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
390 views

Flavor and Chemical Composition of Thyme

What is the flavor of Thyme? What chemicals give it this flavor?

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