The Science of Baking

What happens when we put something in the oven and its “baked?” If you are science lover like me, I’m fascinated by what takes place in the oven and the various chemical reactions that take place. Join me in a journey inside our ovens and discover the Science of the Baking.

The Steps in the Baking Process

It’s a Science

Let’s see what happens when you bake something in your oven.

Temperature is the key when certain reactions occur that aid in the baking process and cause your ingredients to become a real-life chemistry experiment, up close and personal. A key element in the Science of Baking.

These include:

  • Flour (starch)
  • Eggs (protein)
  • Fats (butter/shortening)
  • Water
  • Sugar

Each step in the science of baking process coverts and changes by time and temperature.

Let’s jump right in.

Your Science Oven

*Gases form such as Co2, air, and steam.

*Gases are trapped in the egg proteins or gluten (flour).

*Starches gelatinize (become firm) at 140 degrees, an example of this would be the flour.

*Proteins coagulate at 160 degrees, this would be proteins found in gluten, dairy, and egg proteins. Coagulate simply means clump together.

*Fats will start to melt; steam will be released which will produce flakiness.

*Water will evaporate and the steam will form a crust.

*Sugars will caramelize at 320 degrees or above, this will give flavor and color to the product (browning).

*Carryover baking will continue, as it is removed from the oven it will continue to cook just slightly.

*Staling process will take place as the product stays at room temperature and over time will lose moisture.

As you can see, many things take place in your oven when you bake. Amazing, isn’t it? I wish I had a time lapse camera to watch such things from muffins, cakes, cookies, and bread bakes and be able to recognize each one of these steps.

Our ovens are truly our chemistry classroom full of chemical reactions right under our noses!

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