My mom is a cake decorator, and one of the first things she taught me is that cooking and baking are all about science.
The ingredients and temperature combine to create chemical reactions that can only be explained through scientific means. Each unique recipe results in something all its own, and we can thank the scientific method for that. We don't think about cooking food this way often enough, and we're potentially missing out on some of the hidden wonders of the culinary world.
Here are some amazing science hacks to kick your cooking up to the next level!
1. For chewy cookies, melt butter first to release the water inside. For crispy cookies, use room-temperature butter instead.
2. Cooking with pink Himalayan salt can help you lower your sodium intake. It's less processed and has rich flavor.
3. Evaporation releases the chemicals in onions that make you cry. Try freezing or chilling the onion first to slow down the process.
4. Salt has properties that enhance good qualities and suppress bad ones. Add a pinch of salt to your coffee if it's too bitter and taste the difference!
5. Many people add sugar to reduce the acidic taste of tomato sauce, but baking soda will actually neutralize the acid.
6. Cook shellfish alive. Once they've been killed, the bacteria multiplies quickly and can make you ill.
7. Acid will help the calcium bind together in cheese sauce to make it super smooth. Try lemon juice or white wine!
8. Adding a pan of water to the bottom of your oven will help create steam for the perfect crusty bread.
9. Frying spices in oil can deepen their flavor. You can also use the spice-infused oil to step up your recipes, so it's a win-win!
10. The health benefits of raw veggies are undeniable, but cooking them can make some of the nutrients more easily digestible.
11. Brining meat can create more moisture by breaking down proteins, leaving you with a more succulent dish.
12. Over-mixing cake batter can lead to the formation of more gluten, creating a dense, heavy cake.
13. Weigh your ingredients instead of simply measuring them for the most accurate recipe.
14. Sprinkling lemon juice on cut avocados or apple slices can keep them from turning brown for about a day.
15. Buttermilk does a great job of breaking up gluten strands to make an even fluffier pancake.
16. Cold foods don't "wake up" your taste buds as much as warm foods, so give them an extra dash of seasoning.
17. Always freeze a cake before frosting it. This way it won't melt from the inside out.
18. You don't want to add milk to your omelette because it will break apart. Add frozen butter instead for the same texture benefits without all the hassle.
19. Give meat room to breathe in the skillet. Too much will make it soggy and it will sear incorrectly.
20. Lemon juice (and other acid) is a quick fix for a lot of food problems: too much sweetness, not enough flavor, etc. Use lemon just as much as you use salt!
21. Dry out tofu thoroughly before you cook by pressing it with paper towels. Otherwise, you're just steaming out the water the whole time.
22. Store salad greens in a tupperware container with a paper towel. The towel will suck in the moisture and keep your greens crisp.