May 12, 2014

Better Baking Through Science

Last quarter, one of my students turned in an extra credit assignment in which she had made chocolate chip cookies and done a little research to explain the chemistry that went on while the cookies baked.

She brought in the cookies for the class, and they certainly weren't bad. They weren't the best I'd ever had, but they were cookies I didn't have to make myself. I'm not one to look a gift cookie in the mouth.

The best part of the project, though, was the two resources to which she pointed me. The first is a video from Ted-ED that explains a lot of the science involved as dough turns into cookie.

The second is from SeriousEats and goes through variable by variable, eventually finding what they say is the best recipe around. The author explores the macroscopic results that all twenty-one change make and the science involved.

I need to do some baking because their final results - with a little sprinkle of salt on top - look outstanding.

I wish I could link you to the Cooks Illustrated recipe, because it's got some interesting takes (browned butter, one whole egg + one yolk, extra brown sugar). Sadly, though, it's behind a paywall. If you're willing to pay, Cooks Illustrated is a fun site from tip to tail.

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