People don’t tend to instantly link cooking and science together, however, they should. Cooking is just like chemistry; the kitchen is your laboratory and the recipes are your experiment. There are high standards of hygiene to meet and variables to control in order to get the best end product. Understanding the science behind cooking food will help to improve your skills and safety in the kitchen. When you know how something works, you will then be able to carry out the right approaches and methods of prevention in order to get the best result possible. It will also help you follow and repeat recipes successfully while having a bit of fun at the same time.
If you don’t enjoy cooking or you think you are no good at it, then understanding the science behind cooking and why it is more than just throwing food together is your solution.
The Basic Measurements
Learning some basic principles will drastically help to improve your ability to cook, one of which is the science of measurements. If you can follow instructions, then you can follow a recipe. The key to having a good end product is to learn how to understand and interpret the measurements. In order to do so, you will need to have all of the tools for the job. This includes measuring spoons or cups, a kitchen scale, a thermometer and a timer. There’s always room for experimentation when it comes to measurements, but if you want to succeed, then you should pay attention and stick to the recipe.
Learn Cooking Methods
With any scientific experiment, you must aim to dismantle the language barrier between you and your topic of study. When you are cooking up a recipe, you should do your best to understand the methods of cooking and the reason for carrying them out. Studying these methods will help you wrap your head around any kitchen jargon and will help you learn how flavours develop under different temperatures and conditions. Once you are familiar with this, you will be able to see the cooking method required to get you the result you desire.
Heat Develops Flavour
Heat aids a number of chemical processes in the kitchen. Understanding how different levels of heat work will help you achieve results that are the right texture, have a good appearance and taste amazing. Chemical processes triggered by heat are what cause delicious browning on toasted bread and seared meats. Heat also has the ability to make food safe, as it kills harmful bacteria. One of the main things to remember when cooking with heat is that high heat will develop flavour, and gentle heat will prevent the food from overcooking. This will get you the best results without drying out your dish.
Keeping Meat Juicy
Cooking meat seems easy, but achieving the right flavour without drying the meat out is important, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by understanding the science behind cooking meat. Many people overcook meat, like pork and chicken, out of fear of food poisoning. Unfortunately, this can ruin the dish and make it hard to enjoy. When you cook meat, you need to remember that the internal temperature will remain hot and will continue to rise when you take it away from the heat. Hot food will keep cooking, so you need to achieve a resting heat to maximise juiciness.
Consider Studying Food
To help you really understand the science behind cooking, you should consider studying a subject-based around food, like a Food Scientist Degree. This is especially important if you plan to go into a career in the food industry. If a food degree is something that interests you, then you should check out this guide by Uni Compare. Here, you can compare all courses to do with ‘food studies,’ and you can read about what you can do with the qualification once you earn it.
Useful Food Hacks
Once you understand the science behind food, you will be able to apply useful food hacks to the kitchen. For example, when it comes to marinating your food, you should always add some salt, as this helps to enhance flavour without altering its texture, as it doesn’t trigger an enzymatic reaction, unlike lemon juice and vinegar. If you want chewy cookies, then you should melt the butter first, as it turns the proteins in the flour into stretchy gluten. If you want your food to taste super chocolatey, then you should add cocoa powder, because it doesn’t contain tasteless cocoa butter.
As you can see, cooking food is so much more than throwing items together and hoping for the best. Understanding the science behind cooking will do wonders for your results and will improve your basic skills and food hacks in the kitchen.