Category: Food. Last updated June 20, 2023.« Back to Themes
Learning chemistry can be as easy as pie, or maybe just a piece of cake. Explore the chemistry of baking and investigate the science that’s behind ingredients in your pantry.
- Analyze a Family Recipe
Select a family recipe, or a favorite recipe to investigate. Analyze several of the ingredients in order learn more about the chemistry of each one, as well as their purpose in the recipe.
- Landmark Lesson Plan: Introduction to Flavor Chemistry from AACT
Are you a super-taster or a non-taster? Learn about the science of tasting, taste recognition and more through these fun activities.
- Landmark Lesson Plan: Development of Baking Powder from AACT
Ready, set, rise! Baking powder makes it happen—learn about its history.
- Cooking with Conversions
Examine a common homemade recipe for German chocolate cake in order to convert the English ingredients list to metric units through scientific calculations. Also review the cooking procedures to classify steps as containing compounds or mixtures as well as identify whether chemical or physical changes are taking place.
- Chemistry Cupcakes
from ChemMatters Magazine
Mix up one batch of cupcakes, then get ready for cupcakes 2.0. Hack your recipe and see the results.
- The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie from NPR
Customize your cookie. What will it be? Crispy? Chewy? Tweak your recipe to yield your favorite.
- Grandma Button's Molasses Cookies from Flinn Scientific
Bake up some tasty cookies but be warned—you’ll need to translate the “science-speak” first.
- Food Chemistry Infographic from AACT
Create an infographic for a favorite food after researching the chemical content and nutritional values in the ingredients.
- The Cookie Chemistry Challenge from Science Friday
What makes the perfect cookie? Is there even such a thing?
- What Causes Yeast to Ferment? from AACT
Observe and verify molasses sugar content as a result of its ability to ferment yeast. Compare how molasses allows yeast to ferment with other sugar solutions as well as a sugar-free solution.
- Baking Temperature Comparison from The Cake Blog
What’s the perfect temperature for cake perfection?
- Solubility Plays a Role: Making Seitan from Flour from AACT
Use this lab to demystify a common ingredient—wheat flour. Observe some properties of whole wheat flour by preparing seitan, a vegetarian meat substitute made from the glutenin and gliadin proteins in flour.
- How Yeast Works from The Chemiyst
Will yeast work with just water? Water and sugar? What about artificial sweeteners? Experiment with these combos and more.
- Sourdough for Science from Student Discover
Grow your own sourdough starter from scratch just by mixing flour and water. Then measure the height and pH of your start to track the growth of your “microbial zoo” over time.
- Attack of the Gluten from ChemMatters
Some people have skin rashes and stomach cramps when they eat foods that contain gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley, and rye. Why are these people sensitive to gluten, and what can they eat?
- Sweet But Good for You? from ChemMatters Magazine
Is high-fructose corn syrup as bad as many media reports say it is? Let’s look at the facts.
- How the Cookie Doesn’t Crumble… and Other Sweet Chemistry Secrets from ChemMatters Magazine
It’s no accident that some cookies are crisp and others are soft; that some cookies are flat and others are cake-like. Find out how basic chemical principles are used to make the perfect sweet treat.
- Chemistry Is a Piece of Cake—The Science of Baking from For the Love of Science
Baking reactants combine to give you a delicious product. But, how?
- Are Boxed Cake Mixes Foolproof? from Cravings of a Food Scientist
Overmix, undermix, just right—is there actually any difference?
- Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Chocolate... Just Add Chemistry from NY Times
This chemist chef takes cake testing to the max.
- The Science Behind Red Velvet from Spoon University
Is it red food coloring? Or something else?
- Sweet Science of Madeleines from Cravings of a Food Scientist
Should we call it the camel of cookies? Just look for the characteristic hump and the science that makes it.
- Chemist Divulges How to Bake the Perfect Cookie from NPR
Cookies “pitifully pale”? Disappointingly crumbly? This food scientist has antidotes to “common cookie complaints.”
- Macaron Science 101 (Cravings of a Food Scientist)
Making these tricky cookies can be a tasty challenge. How will you fare?
- The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder from Huff Post
Added baking soda instead of baking powder? Or vice versa? So what? Find out if it makes a difference to your cookie.
- Baking Bread: The Chemistry of Bread-Making from Compound Interest
Four ingredients combine into carb deliciousness. How?
- Aroma Chemistry: The Smell of Fresh-Baked Bread
from Compound Interest
What is it about the smell of fresh-baked bread that’s so appealing? Learn about the aroma compounds that waft to your waiting nose.
- Bread Chemistry: On the Rise
from Chemistry World
Wheat or white? No matter the type of bread, there’s chemistry involved.
- For a Proper Pretzel Crust, Count on Chemistry and Memories from NPR
Does a caustic alkaline solution sound like the perfect dip for your baked goods? You might be surprised.
- Do Astronauts Need Sunscreen? from ACS Reactions
How do astronauts survive the deadly radiation of deep space? NASA is still figuring out how to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation -- like plastic shielding and magnetic deflectors.
Why New York has the Best Bagels from ACS Reactions
Many people agree that the Big Apple has the best bagels in the world, but disagree on why. Some say it’s the tap water, others say it’s the dough, and a few say it’s purely attitude.
How to Cookie with Science from ACS Reactions
Science can help us make that perfect chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are nearly universally adored. People like them in all sorts of textures, sizes and tastes. So how can you make your perfect cookie? Using science, of course.
How Does Double Acting Baking Powder... Doubly Act? from ACS Reactions
Why does baking powder say “double acting” on the container? Is that better than single acting? Explain -- with chemistry!
What is Gluten? Here’s How to See and Feel Gluten from America’s Test KitchenWhat is gluten, and what does it mean to be cooking with gluten? See and feel gluten with this simple kitchen experiment.
The Ultimate Donut Battle: Cake vs. Yeast from ACS Reactions
There’s nothing weirder than biting into a cake donut when you’re expecting the texture of a yeast donut. It’s all fried dough, right? Learn how chemistry makes these two foods so different.