Part of the show Science of Baking
This week saw the final of the Great British Bake Off, a television programme in which 13 people spend a weekend in a tent, baking cakes and bread. Over 6 million viewers tuned in each week to catch the adventures of the amateur bakers, as they crafted three-dimensional novelty vegetable cakes, tricky millefeuille and choux pastry delights, while avoiding that ultimate sin against pastry – a soggy bottom. It has also inspired a new generation of home bakers. Here’s your quick fire science on baking, with Matt Burnett and Simon Bishop.
- Conventional baking relies on gluten. Gluten strands form when flour is mixed with water, forming stretchy gluten networks. The more you knead bread and pastry dough, the tougher those networks become.
Nice article about baking. I think baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) also is designed to release carbon dioxide during baking, causing the product to raise.
One of the most interesting aspects of baking is oil/water mix in pastry, and getting it to do what you want. Also gluten. cheryl j, Wed, 6th Nov 2013
I can recommend "Cooking for Geeks". It covers the chemistry of a good steak in great detail.
The Maillard reaction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction) is one of the most important reactions that can occur in baking--it is largely responsible for the wonderful aromas of toast and seared steak. It is the reaction of sugars with protein, which goes significantly faster at higher temperatures. In fact the reaction does progress, albeit very slowly, in the human body. Excess sugar in the blood reacting with proteins by this reaction is a major part of how diabetes damages the body, and buildup of the end-products of this reaction have been implicated in many degenerative diseases. chiralSPO, Wed, 6th Nov 2013