Hello ladies. I hope you are enjoying this spring Sunday afternoon, but I have some good and bad news to share with you all. Bad news first, of course. This will be my last blog post for a few months. Now, the good news. We are expecting a child in November! My husband and I are over the moon with excitement, but the stress of work and focusing on my health has left me little time to communicate with you all. So, I’m going to go out with a bang and discuss everyone’s two favorite things: bread and cheese.
As most of you mothers know, pregnancy brings so many cravings to the table, especially carbs! Bread has always had a special place in my heart, but I have recently started to make my own because I like to eat a little of the dough during the process. While looking for a few recipes, I came across the coolest image to visualize the processes that are happening to that lovely block of carbs that brings so much joy to my belly.
With the four basic ingredients, all the science begins with the flour, which is made up of proteins- gluten and gliadins. The addition of water allows for hydrogen bonds to form and disulfide links to create a stretchy dough. Stretching and kneading the dough allows for the bonds and links to become stronger. (Kind of like little people. When we are knocked down, getting back up makes us stronger). The addition of salt strengthens this elastic network and adds to the taste! Of course, yeast is also needed to create a nice, plump loaf. The yeast enzymes help in the process of breaking down the starch within the flour into sugar. As the bread is set aside to rise, the yeast feeds on the sugar to create ethanol and carbon dioxide. With the continual kneading, the carbon dioxide bubbles are evenly dispersed within the whole loaf that are then released in the baking process. With the addition of the carbon dioxide, the left over sugars aid in the Maillard reaction for a crunchy crust. The finished product, yummy yummy carbs for a tasty grilled cheese.
The idea of a grilled cheese leads to my next topic. A particular cheese I have been craving is camembert! Yes, I have an image to go along with this one too!
However, this craving hasn’t been strong enough for me to try and make it myself, but I have been watching YouTube videos! This cheese is made from cow’s milk that continues to ripen as the cheese ages due to microbial enzymes in the milk. The cow’s milk contains sugar lactose that is broken down into lactic acid. The lactic acid is further broken down into carbon dioxide and water. During this process, the pH increases allowing the calcium phosphate to hold micelles, milk casein proteins, together. As the pH increases, the solubility of the phosphate decreases. This leads to a soft cheese that is favored by all! However, the softness is not the only quality that attracts many. The smell of camembert contributes to its tasty delight that reminds many of bleu cheese. Several compounds such as isovaleric acid, diacetyl, methanethiol, methanol, 1-octen-3-one, and butyric acid come together to create this unique smell. As the cheese ripens, the smell continues to grow stronger. Therefore, age is a main factor in the particular characteristics it exhibits!
These two topics illustrate how the look of food contributes to our appetite. Bread, especially, is most often prized for its plump, round shape. Cheese, on the other hand, is prized for the gooey characteristics it shows off. Because most the time we choose to put food in our stomach based on what we see, the chemicals that make up both bread and cheese contribute much to these characteristics. In bread, the yeast and flour work together to create a loaf that stands tall while camembert’s compounds contribute to the softness during the aging process. Therefore, the chemicals in both food groups are essential to the eyes they attract and the bodies they are eaten by!
You may wonder why I decided to close out my blog with bread and cheese. Because bread and cheese are the only things needed in life, duh! No I’m kidding (only a little). I wrote on these two topics to continue to strengthen the argument made in my last blog about how chemistry is involved in everything, even the cheese plate you display during dinner parties! If there is one thing I want to leave you ladies with, it is this idea! So many want to ignore the chemistry because they believe it is irrelevant, but it isn’t! I once heard an English professor proclaim that they focus on literature while chemists should focus on chemistry and the two do not mix. However, one must have a basic understanding of literature to be truly educated just like one must have a basic understanding of chemistry to understand and appreciate the processes that occur all around them, food being one. So, my challenge for you is to develop a broad sense of learning and appreciate every new opportunity even if it is boring at the time. It might come in handy some day! I hope you ladies have a wonderful week, and I hope to be back sooner rather than later!
Oh, you all should check out the website with the graphics. The writer posts weekly! Here is the link http://www.compoundchem.com. Enjoy!