Science & Cooking Book
Whether you are an enthusiastic chef who already has a few tricks up your sleeve, or a relative newcomer to the world of gastronomic experimentation, this book is a great way to gain an understanding of the scientific principles behind what happens in your kitchen.
As technology and our scientific understanding of the world expands into the kitchen, the line between cooking and scientific experimentation has become blurred. This book brings together three pioneers who are changing our understanding of the chemistry behind some of our favourite recipes, as well as designing new ones that showcase cutting edge techniques and ideas.
A trio of Harvard professors, Michael Brenner, Pia Soerensen, and David Weitz, investigate the scientific principles that explain what happens when we cook. Despite some of our favourite recipes being hundreds of years old, we are still only just learning the science behind why they work the way they do.
Bread, for example, has been a staple of our diets for hundreds of years, prepared from dough and water all over the world for as long as history has been recorded. But it has only been in recent years that food technologists have properly examined what is happening when bread dough is kneaded, how to predict the way that the yeast and the sugar will interact, what conditions make the best crust and every other aspect of the breadmaking process.
When you understand the science behind baking, you are much better equipped to adapt recipes to suit your tastes and experiment with your own ideas. This book explores the reasons behind some of the most common recipe directions and explains how you can use your scientific knowledge to cook your favourite meals to perfection every time.
This book covers everything including the scientific explanation for basic cooking techniques to more advanced details of how microbial activity can enhance your cup of coffee.
The professors outline experiments that you can do at home to test some of the theories they describe and there are plenty of opportunities to taste the results and prove the theories to yourself. There are detailed illustrations to help bring the ideas to life and descriptions that will reveal a whole new way to think about the world of cooking.
Who wrote the book?
Michael Brenner is a professor of applied mathematics and physics at Harvard University and he co-founded an undergraduate course called Science and Cooking in 2010. His co-founders were Pia Soerensen, professor of chemical engineering and applied materials and David Weitz, professor of physics and applied physics. They wanted to use their scientific knowledge to understand the chemical, physical and biological processes that happen when foods are combined and cooked.
The course proved hugely popular among the students who were fascinated to delve into the practical applications of the scientific theories they were learning in other classes. The book explores the themes that were most popular in the class, revealing some of the secrets behind molecular gastronomy and exploring the role of traditional cooking techniques.
The book builds on the basics, so you can learn the science behind cooking the perfect boiled egg but also learn about the very latest cooking techniques such as sous vide and rotary evaporation, known in the trade as rotovapping. Learning what happens at a microscopic level provides some insight into how even the most standard dish goes through physical and chemical changes before being served. This book provides plenty of useful insight about how to improve your favourite dishes, as well as some more unusual techniques such as combining chemicals to create jellified food spheres and understanding the science of sweets.