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Why is eating pretzels safe when they are bathed in lye?

Basically, the lye reacts with the CO₂ and moisture present during baking to form a non-toxic carbonate. This makes it safe to eat. The reaction: CO₂ (g) + H₂O (l) ­⇄ H₂CO₃ (aq) H₂CO₃ (aq) + ...
wumpus D'00m's user avatar
  • 4,051
55 votes

What happened to my egg?

Your egg whites were cooked by the alcohol in the extract. Cooked, in this case, means denaturing, which means unfolding the protein molecules. There are many ways to denature proteins. Acid, such as ...
myklbykl's user avatar
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53 votes

How can I tell if this is baking soda or powder?

Baking powder contains starch, which is insoluble. Baking soda is completely soluble Take a small bowl, and put 1/8 tsp of the substance in the bottom. Add water. If the substance is bicarbonate ...
Zanna's user avatar
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53 votes
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Why is it faster to reheat something than it is to cook it?

"Cooking" is often a chemical process. Denaturing proteins, gelatinization, causing chemical reactions like browning, or even causing state changes like evaporation. In many cases for these ...
Joe's user avatar
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52 votes

Can something have more sugar per 100g than the percentage of sugar that's in it?

Looking up Shreddies, I found this site. It lists, in the ingredients Whole Grain Wheat (96%), Sugar, Invert Sugar Syrup, Barley Malt Extract, Salt, Molasses, Vitamins and Minerals (Niacin, Iron, ...
rumtscho's user avatar
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47 votes
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What is going on genetically that restricts the number of generations a yogurt starter will last?

I had a look at the manual, and there is quite a lot of more or less wrong, or at least misleading information in there, especially around the biology. I am a virologist by training, but have had a ...
bob1's user avatar
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45 votes
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What happens when you reduce stock all the way?

If you reduce filtered broth all the way, you get portable soup. It dries down into a solid that looks a bit like leather. Because of the gelatin from the bones, portable soup is bendy and flexible. ...
csk's user avatar
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38 votes
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Why should (or shouldn't) we wash rice before cooking?

Reasons to wash your rice: Reduce/Control Starch levels Often when you're cooking rice you want distinct grains of rice and for your rice to have texture. In the case of Chinese fried rice for ...
talon8's user avatar
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38 votes

Should pasta be started in cold or boiling water?

As stated in another answer, Italian tradition is that all pasta is cooked in boiling water. A reasonable explanation for this usage is that it's easier to get the time right this way. Pasta is very ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
38 votes
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Why is churro dough created with boiling water?

Churro dough is a variant of choux pastry. While yeasted doughs rise through the expansion of gas created by the yeast, and "quick bread" batters rise through gas created by chemical ...
Sneftel's user avatar
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38 votes
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How did replacing flour in muffins go so wrong?

Muffins and cakes rise because of chemical leavening agents and the expansion of hot gasses, they stay risen because the flour and sugar forms a structure which traps the air, then solidifies enough ...
GdD's user avatar
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37 votes

Why is eating pretzels safe when they are bathed in lye?

The purpose of dipping in lye (or other basic solution, like baking soda...or even baked, baking soda) is that it promotes coloring, as the solution reacts with the surface of the dough. It also ...
moscafj's user avatar
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37 votes

Can something have more sugar per 100g than the percentage of sugar that's in it?

I suspect that 96g of whole grain goes into the recipe for 100g, along with 13g of sugar and some salt, vitamins, and flavouring ingredients. At that point there's at least 109g. Then it's formed and ...
Chris H's user avatar
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34 votes

Why is eating pretzels safe when they are bathed in lye?

The reason it is safe is three-fold. First, the concentration is only 1% NaOH and the pretzels are only dipped for 10 seconds (see Snack Food Technology pages 180-182) which limits the amount of ...
DavePhD's user avatar
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34 votes
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Why should I cook the flour first when making bechamel sauce?

This link explains the science behind what is known as "the mother sauce", béchamel. Essentially, the steps of first creating a roux, then adding cold milk, are about manipulating the glucose chains ...
moscafj's user avatar
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33 votes
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Should pasta be started in cold or boiling water?

For dried pasta it doesn’t really matter if you start with cold or hot water, as most of the time pasta spends in water is for hydration. And once the hydrated starches reach a certain temperature ...
zetaprime's user avatar
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30 votes
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Can one eat a balanced diet if one only cooks once a week?

The types of foods that reheat well are also quite suitable for being balanced in one main dish. Generally speaking, dishes with stuff in sauce freeze/chill and reheat well. So stew, curry, chilli, ...
Chris H's user avatar
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30 votes
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Does the preparation of chicken liver mousse require force feeding of chickens?

There's no need to force-feed the chickens. Chicken Liver Mousse is just a posh word for a smooth paté, with sometimes a bit of extra aeration. For every chicken, there's a chicken liver. The world ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 29.8k
29 votes

How did replacing flour in muffins go so wrong?

what chemical reaction happened It wasn't a chemical reaction, it was a physical reaction. Everything you describe sounds like your batter was able to trap air much better than a typical muffin ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 139k
29 votes

How do tamales cook?

Cooking isn’t instant. You don’t just bring food to a particular temperature and then the physical reactions have happened and the food is done. Many of the processes happen slowly at the target ...
Sneftel's user avatar
  • 29.5k
25 votes

Kneading causing gluten

Yes, kneading develops gluten. Specifically, the gliadin and glutenin proteins in flour form gluten when mixed together with water. It's common, but inaccurate (and confusing I think) to refer to ...
Mark Wildon's user avatar
  • 2,386
25 votes

Does 'Non-cold/warm ice-cream' exist?

Much of the distinctive experience of ice cream comes from its temperature, so be prepared for disappointment. However, a set custard like in a crème brûlée or panna cotta is creamy and holds its ...
dbmag9's user avatar
  • 12.1k
24 votes

How can I tell if this is baking soda or powder?

Lick your finger Dip it in the jar Lick finger again. If it tastes of: Soap: Soda Very faintly of soap and faintly of starch and slightly fizzes in your mouth: Baking powder
Fabby's user avatar
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22 votes
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Products that can be microwaved and "pop" just like popcorn

Popcorn should be considered one of "nature's little miracles" - & a way to make a huge profit out of air. Yes, you can pop other dried grains/seeds, but don't expect anything quite so ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
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21 votes
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What does it mean when an egg splatters and the white is greenish-yellow?

From The Splendid Table: Older eggs (which are still safe to eat) tend to be more alkaline, which encourages a green reaction similar to that green ring you can get around a hard-cooked egg yolk. The ...
Anastasia Zendaya's user avatar
21 votes

How do tamales cook?

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of things going on, physically and thermodynamically, during cooking. The Maillard reaction is not especially important. It is just one of several types of browning, ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 139k
21 votes

Is there a simple method to calculate added calories from cooking in oil?

Wellll… not really. Not exactly like you’re asking. But yes, for practical purposes. Try this: saute a whole eggplant in a reasonable amount of oil (2 tbsp or so) for several minutes, then visually ...
Sneftel's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why does baking cooked rice not overcook it?

Rice does taste a little different after baking, and its texture is also a little different, but the reason it is not mushy or overcooked is that the recipe controls the moisture levels. Totally ...
dbmag9's user avatar
  • 12.1k
19 votes

Why does baking cooked rice not overcook it?

There are several factors involved here. Being stuffed This plays quite a big role. My mother would usually run out of peppers and place the extra stuffing in the pan alongside the peppers. The ...
rumtscho's user avatar
  • 139k
18 votes

Why is eating pretzels safe when they are bathed in lye?

Lye will readily react with either amino-acids (producing respective sodium salts) or with fats (producing soaps), both reactants being readily present in dough. You don't need CO2 to neutralize it. ...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar

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