Cooking, a matter of chemistry

When we think of a laboratory, we always imagine it filled with test tubes, Bunsen burners, beakers, pipettes and other jars containing liquids and vapors of different colors.

However, there is another type of laboratory, closer to us, in which countless experiments and chemical reactions are developed by mixing various ingredients of a recipe: the kitchen.

Preparing an atole has its science. One of the secrets to preparing a good atole is to shake it frequently when it is getting hot, explains José Luis Córdova in his book Chemistry in the kitchen, edited by the General Directorate for the Dissemination of Science of the UNAM . It is that the constant movement favors convection currents, that is, the transport of heat from the hottest areas to the ones with the lowest temperature.

Due to the high viscosity of this hot drink, the natural convection currents are not enough to cause agitation in the liquid, consequently, the top atole cools and the bottom one boils. Hence the importance of moving it to avoid burning.

What better companion of a rice atole, than a rich cake of spongy and firm dough. Effect that is achieved thanks to the interaction of chemistry and its ingredients.

The baking powder that is added to the confectionery mixes contains monocalcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate, substances that produce gases that increase the volume of the dough during baking.

It is important when the gas is generated, if it happens when the dough has hardened (gelatinized by the starch) and the egg proteins have coagulated, the result is a cake of smaller volume.

And for the hot days, what better to prepare in our personal laboratory a rich lemon snow or a strawberry jelly.

The ice cream contains milk derivatives, egg, sweeteners, stabilizers, flavorings and colorants. The specialist in chemistry and cooking José Luis Córdova comments that the milk fat gives a smooth texture, while the stabilizers (gelatin, pectin, sodium alginate) form structures that prevent the formation of large ice crystals.

In turn, jellies belong to the group of colloids, mixtures with two phases or products made up of two of the three states of matter: liquid, solid and gaseous. This rich dessert is a liquid dispersed in a solid.

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Video Medicine: The chemistry of cookies - Stephanie Warren (April 2023).