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Old 12-14-2008, 04:32 PM   #1
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Good introduction to the science/math of baking/cooking?

Hey there - I'm a professional engineer/amateur foodie. I'm very interested in being able to create my own recipes for things - instead of just trying to use other people's. Specifically, I feel like I can choose the right flavors OK - but I never know how to proportion things. For example, I really like how if you're making pancakes you need a half teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of buttermilk to cancel out the acidity of the buttermilk, and that a teaspoon of baking soda gives the equivalent leavening of 4 teaspoons of baking powder. The little mathematical details - getting proportions right and all that - really just makes me happy.

Are there any good books or other resources that cover these sorts of things?

Thanks!

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Old 12-14-2008, 04:37 PM   #2
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This is exactly what you're looking for: Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. It's written by Shirley Corriher, a food scientist who has appeared on "Good Eats" with Alton Brown, and it's all about the science of cooking and baking. Understanding this has made a big difference in my cooking. HTH.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
This is exactly what you're looking for: Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. It's written by Shirley Corriher, a food scientist who has appeared on "Good Eats" with Alton Brown, and it's all about the science of cooking and baking. Understanding this has made a big difference in my cooking. HTH.
Shirley rocks! GotGarlic is right. This book is probably just what you want.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:23 PM   #4
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Go to Amazon and search for "science of cooking". A book with that title will come up, plus several others.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
This is exactly what you're looking for: Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. It's written by Shirley Corriher, a food scientist who has appeared on "Good Eats" with Alton Brown, and it's all about the science of cooking and baking. Understanding this has made a big difference in my cooking. HTH.
You took the words right out of my mouth, er off my fingers.....
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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Harlod McGee's books would probably interest you, too. They are more technical that Cookwise.

This website is a good one, too Cooking for Engineers

What U of I are you referring to?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:42 PM   #7
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Harlod McGee's books would probably interest you, too. They are more technical that Cookwise.

This website is a good one, too cooking for engineers

What U of I are you referring to?
I knew of the website, but I haven't seen Harlod's books before. I'll have a look!

I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. (BSEE '07)
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #8
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It would be an engineer that would be trying to find the mathematical side of cooking. Next, we will have an architect trying to make an 8 layer cake. Just kidding.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:54 AM   #9
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I like Harold McGee's books....Cookwise is very good too!
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:24 AM   #10
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You can also get textbooks like the Professional Chef, not so much for the science and math (though there are those elements), but also to really get techniques down
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Old 12-19-2008, 10:55 AM   #11
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This website is a good one, too Cooking for Engineers

Just went and registered. Doesn't appear to be very active, but promises to be a veritable treasure trove of information.

Thanks for heads up.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
This is exactly what you're looking for: Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed. It's written by Shirley Corriher, a food scientist who has appeared on "Good Eats" with Alton Brown, and it's all about the science of cooking and baking. Understanding this has made a big difference in my cooking. HTH.
Shirley has also just come out with the companion book, "Bakewise." I don't have it yet, but rest assured it will contain as much fabulous information as "Cookwise."
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:18 AM   #13
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I've got another one for you:

Amazon.com: The Science of Cooking: Peter Barham: Books
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:02 PM   #14
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Not many Illini out here in Bsoton. I went to IU but grew up near the other U of I (Iowa).

Go into a big box bookstore and look at the books that have been recommended. Most (like Barnes and Noble) will carry them all.
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