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The scientist in the kitchen

cookie close-up.jpg

Don't consider yourself a scientist? If you've ever thrown a sheet of cookies in the oven, then you should. At least that's what Scienceline's Stephanie Warren asserts today, explaining in a blog entry how a baker "in an act of aproned alchemy... uses her oven to transform one substance into another."

Warren goes on to detail what happens in the oven at different temperatures - at 144 degrees, change begins to occur with the eggs and other proteins; at 310, "one of science’s tastiest transformations" occurs - and she explains that a kitchen timer isn't even necessary:

Your nose is a readily accessible, sensitive, scientific instrument. When you smell the nutty flavors of the Maillard reaction or the toasty ones that signal caramelization, your cookies are ready. Grab your glass of milk, put your feet up, and reflect that science can be pretty sweet.

Warren is a terrific writer and her entry is highly entertaining. But don't be suprised (and don't blame me) if you find yourself craving warm, gooey cookies for the rest of the day.

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

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