Science

September 26, 2018

Sourdough Science

Baking is applied microbiology. That may seem like an odd way to look at it, but it’s only a modest exaggeration. All yeast-leavened breads owe their shapes and textures to the actions of microbes. The yeast used to create bread can be commercially derived (baker’s yeast), or it can be cultivated from the environment around […]

August 22, 2018

Why Does Baking Bread Smell So Good?

Here’s a fun thing to try: stand outside a bakery on an early summer morning, and watch how people react to the smell of baking bread wafting out the door as they walk by. Their heads turn, their noses lift, their eyes close . . . It’s only a matter of time until someone says, […]

July 9, 2018

Is Fresh Yeast Best?

Yeast—living, single-celled fungi—is one of the main reasons bread is so complex and special. These microbes behave like miniscule factories that specialize in the production of bubbles and booze by way of a process called fermentation. In addition to leavening dough, fermentation makes important contributions to the aroma, flavor, and texture of bread. The yeast […]

June 22, 2018

Bread Is Lighter Than Whipped Cream

The headline above is surprising but true, and you can test it yourself: put 1 L of whipped cream on the left pan of a balance scale and a 1 L brioche on the right. The scale will tip to the left. Whipped cream has a reputation for being light and airy, but it’s about twice […]

April 4, 2018

Gluten: How Does It Work?

Gluten has gotten a bad rap lately—it was practically a four-letter word when we started working on Modernist Bread—but in the world of bread, it’s your friend. As Jimmy Kimmel discovered, there’s a bit of confusion about what gluten is and what it does. Whether you avoid gluten or can’t get enough of it, we […]

February 17, 2016

Soup and a Side of General Relativity

As a chef, Nathan’s passion for creating new dishes is twofold—he creates dishes and the dishes they’re served on. When thinking about a new bowl to create for a 2014 dinner, he found inspiration from a source not often associated with food: the general theory of relativity. The vessel, which is designed to hold two […]

March 31, 2015

Dinosaur Bone Broth

Bone broth is in. Technically it has been for a really, really long time. The resurgence of bone broth inspired us to create a Modernist Cuisine spin on the trend. When people try to describe the Cooking Lab, and the building it’s housed in, you hear a lot of comparisons to a certain fictional chocolate […]

March 17, 2014

The Delicious Science of Guinness

Guinness isn’t just tasty—the company has a long history of technical and scientific innovation.

August 12, 2013

Beer-can chicken: popular classic based on science

BY W. WAYT GIBBS Associated Press You may not find too many restaurant chefs plopping their poultry on cans of PBR, but all those tailgaters and beachside grillers are on to something. There are solid scientific reasons that chicken really does roast better in a more upright, lifelike pose than when it is flat on […]

May 30, 2013

Making your grill (or broiler) shine this summer

BY W. WAYT GIBBS Associated Press Compared to other basic cooking techniques, grilling is hard: the temperatures are high, timing is crucial and slight differences in the thickness or wetness of the food can dramatically affect how quickly it cooks. Bad design choices by equipment makers—kettle-shaped grills with black interiors, for example—make it harder still. […]

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