Science of cooking

Did you know that cooking isn’t just throwing things into a big pot and seeing how it turns out? What if I told you that every meal you cook (and even microwave) is science?

I hate science. HATE it. Chemistry was the bane of my existence; but I LOVE cooking! My neighbors always had a love/hate relationship with me because I am especially fond of baking though I don’t particularly enjoy eating everything I’ve baked. Don’t get me wrong, this girl can down a cake like it’s going out of style, but I don’t like what all that cake does to my biscuits ifyouknowwhatimean.

Anyway, I digress. I really just want to give you a quick science lesson! So pull up a chair, sit tight, and learn some frog knowledge!

Baking itself is a science. You mix your ingredients into a bowl, put this dough into the oven, and the heat causes the ingredients to mix together, release gases, and BOOM! you have cookies! But did you know that the amount of certain ingredients you mix into that bowl affect the end result of your cookies? I always knew if I added baking soda to my cookies, they would come out more cakey than crispy, but I never knew why.

I found an article from an actual scientist that told me it’s because baking soda causes more carbon dioxide to be released, which causes a different fluffing in the cookies.

I’ll just leave these handy tips here:

Ooey-gooey: Add 2 cups more flour.
A nice tan: Set the oven higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit (maybe 360). Caramelization, which gives cookies their nice brown tops, occurs above 356 degrees, says the TEDEd video.
Crispy with a soft center: Use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Chewy: Substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour.
Just like store-bought: Trade the butter for shortening. Arias notes that this ups the texture but reduces some flavor; her suggestion is to use half butter and half shortening.
Thick (and less crispy): Freeze the batter for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. This solidifies the butter, which will spread less while baking.
Cakey: Use more baking soda because, according to Nyberg, it “releases carbon dioxide when heated, which makes cookies puff up.”
Butterscotch flavored: Use 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (instead of the same amount of combined granulated sugar and light brown sugar).
Uniformity: If looks count, add one ounce corn syrup and one ounce granulated sugar.
More flavor: Chilling the dough for at least 24 hours before baking deepens all the flavors, Arias found.

Look for more science soon!