Kitchen Chemistry : Crème Brûlée

pp. 680-691

What will happen chemically to the sugar when we heat it with the blowtorch?
Why would you want to reduce the heat near the end of heating a sugar syrup?
How does stirring impact crystal size?
What are some non-crystalline candies? What techniques are used to prevent crystal formation?

Crème Brûlée Adapted from Epicurious Food (
For Custard:
• 2 cups whipping cream
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 5 large egg yolks

For Crème Brûlée
• 12 teaspoons sugar


Making custard
• Preheat oven to 325 F.
• Mix cream and sugar in heavy medium saucepan.
• Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan.
• Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer.
• Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors
• Strain into large measuring cup
• Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend.
• Return custard to measuring cup
• Divide among ramekins
• Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins
• Carefully transfer pan to oven
• Bake custards until almost set in center when gently shaken, about 35 minutes.
• Let cool 30 minutes
• Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days

Making Crème Brûlée
• Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard.
• Working with 1 custard at a time, hold blowtorch so that flame is 2 inches above surface.
• Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes
• Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours, but no longer than 4 hours so that topping does not soften
• You can garnish crème brûlée with fruit

What’s Going On…

-Fill out “6 Things” you are working on this week and don’t forget to blog

-ACT Math Prep:  M,W,F

-Reading Group “The Color Purple” to page 39 for Tuesday afternoon the 5th

-Individual Reading Group check-ins early this week

-Psychology #12 assignment on the blog

-Fury and Furry mtg tomorrow at 10:00

-“Island of the Blue Dolphins” mtg. to wrap-up book on Wednesday at 10:00, “The One and Only Ivan” is our next book.

-Podcasting class is on Wednesday at 1:00 – have your ideas ready

-Friday morning we will have chemistry (advance questions to be posted to blog)

-Advanced writers meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) in the afternoon

Audio reflections this week: Solo, Nigel, Lola, Leo, Finn, Braden, Henry, and Will

Chemistry :: Ice Cream

pp. 39-44
1. How do you make ice cream creamy instead of icy?
2. Why doesn’t ice cream freeze at the typical freezing point?
3. What was traditionally done to lower the temperature enough to make ice cream?
4. What makes good tasting ice cream? What things do you need to balance out to make it the best?
5. What is the difference between standard ice cream, frozen custard, and gelato?
6. What happens to the top layer of ice cream in the freezer?
7. How can you help prevent spoilage of the top layer?
8. What is the proper temperature for storing ice cream? Eating ice cream?
9. What flavor ice cream do you want to make? What toppings?
10. Do you prefer a bowl or cone? Waffle cone or cake cone?

Kitchen Chemistry :: Wacky Cake

Homework Questions
1. How is cocoa made?
2. What is the purpose of the vinegar?
3. Why do you have to add both baking soda and baking powder?
4. Why add melted butter?
5. Why do you need to add lukewarm water? Why not cold water?
6. What does the salt do?
7. How is powdered sugar made?
8. What could you have added to this recipe to make it more interesting?


Wacky Cake From Patti’s 7th grade Home Economics teacher in Thunder Bay, Canada

• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 3 tbsp. cocoa
• 1 tsp. Baking soda
• 1 tsp. Baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. Salt
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 1 tsp. Vinegar
• 5 tbsp. Melted butter
• 1 cup warm water

• 2 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 cup butter
• enough milk to moisten

1. Preheat oven to 350 oF
2. Do not grease 8 inch X 8 inch pan. Mix everything in the pan
3. Sift together all of the dry ingredients (sugar through salt)
4. Make three holes in the dry ingredients
5. Add the vanilla, vinegar and melted butter into each of the three holes
6. Pour the water overtop of the ingredients in the pan and stir well
7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes at 350 0F oven with the pan on top of the cookie sheet.

1. Mix together the powdered sugar and butter into a fine mixture
2. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time to make a smooth icing
3. Put on the cake once it has cooled

Chemistry :: Week 10 :: Molecular Gastronomy

What exactly is molecular gastronomy? – one definition is here another definition is here.

Demonstration of the below Caviar Experiment

a slide show of cool molecular gastronomy experiments by Chef Wylie Dufresne

More about experimental cuisine.


Experiment #1 – cola caviar (based on a recipe off

• 1 g sodium alginate
• 100 g cola or other soda drink
For the setting bath
• 8- 10 g of calcium chloride
• 100 g of water

1. Measure out the soda on the scale. Add to small pot. Heat until boiling
2. Turn heat down to medium and mix in the sodium alginate with a whisk. Stir
until all of the powder is dissolved. This will take some time
3. Turn off heat and allow solution to cool to room temperature
4. Meanwhile, mix up the calcium chloride and water in a 1 cup measuring cup
5. Once the cola solution is cool, put it in a small plastic bag, carefully cut off one
corner and allow to drip into the setting solution
6. Once all of the solution has been dripped into the setting bath, pour out the
setting solution and the caviar into a sieve over the sink and rinse very well
under cold water
7. taste and enjoy!

Experiment #2: Spherical mango gnocchi

• 250 g water
• 2 g sodium citrate
• 2 g sodium alginate
• 250 g of mango puree

Setting bath:
• 1000 g of water
• 5 g calcium chloride

1. Mix together the sodium citrate and water with a whist. Once dissolved, ass the
sodium alginate and mix well. To aid in the dissolution, let sit for 5 minutes, and
mix again. If the majority of the powders have been dissolved, then go to step 2
2. Bring solution to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room
3. Meanwhile, puree the mango making sure that you have 250 g at the end
4. Once your solution has cooled, add the mango puree
5. Make up your setting bath in a pan so that there is at least 5 cm depth of the
setting bath
6. Put your mango solution into a plastic bath and cut off one corner
7. Drop the mango solution into the setting bath, and let them sit for at least 2
minutes in the setting bath
8. Rinse in very cold water.

Kitchen Chemistry: Week 9


Read pp. 51-67

1. What are some of the steps required to make cheese?
2. If you had to describe in chemical terms, what happens when you make cheese?
3. How does the process of making cheddar cheese differ from what we did?
4. What is the “blue” in blue cheese?
5. What are the health benefits of cheese?
6. Why did we not make cheddar cheese?

Lemon Cheese
From Cheese Making Made Easy
By Ricki Carroll and Robert Carroll
This cheese has a delicate flavor of lemon. It is a moist cheese with a spreadable texture. It can be used as a spread or in cooking. Makes 6 –8 ounces
This soft cheese recipe consists of three steps: acidifying and coagulation, draining and mixing, salting and spicing.

•1 quart (4 cups) milk
•juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup) or another acidifying agent; orange juice, raspberry vinegar or cider vinegar.
• salt and herbs

Step 1 : Acidifying and coagulation
• using a double boiler ( or a metal bowl floating in a pan of water), indirectly heat 1 quart of milk to 170F. This will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Make sure all of the milk is at least 170F.
• Remove the milk from the heat
• Add the lemon juice and let the milk set for 15 minutes. If the milk does not set (i.e. you see the milk proteins precipitated out of solution), add more lemon juice.

Step 2: Draining
• Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang bag to drain for 1 to 2 hours or until the curds have stopped draining. After the initial burst of dripping, this process can be aided by gently squeezing the curds to remove the water. Using this process, you can probably speed up the draining step to 30 minutes.
• You can save the whey. It can be used in cooking, such as baking bread. It is supposedly is a refreshing summer-time drink if it is chilled and served with mint leaves.

Step 3: Mixing, Slating and Spicing
•Take the cheese out of the cheesecloth. You may have to scrape some off the cloth
•The cheese can be lightly salted and herbs may be added if desired.
•One way to season the cheese is to make it into a log and roll it in coarsely ground pepper.
•The yield should be about 6 – 8 ounces of lemon cheese for each quart of milk.

Kitchen Chemistry #8

Reading: pp. 309, 314-314, 327-328, 483-501

Medical study on gas identification of flatus. Suarez, F. L., J. Springfield, and M. D. Levitt. “Identification of Gases Responsible for the Odour of Human Flatus and Evaluation of Device Purported to Reduce this Odour.” Gut 43 (1998): 100-104.

Kitchen Chemistry Homework #8

Chili specific questions:
1. What is chili?
2. What gives the chili the hotness?
3. Why are beans good for you?
4. Why do you think that the chili always tastes better after sitting in the refrigerator overnight?

Beans, Asparagus, Beets and Artichoke tasting:
1. What causes beans to give you flatulance?
2. How can you prevent the flatulance from occuring?
3. What is the major component of human flatulance?
4. What happens when you eat asparagus?
5. What happens when you eat beets?
6. What happened after you ate the artichokes and drank water?

Hearty Three-Bean Chili From Cooking Light Annual Cookbook, 1996 Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (28 ounce) ground tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans balck beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) pinto beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) broth, vegetable or beef
1/2 cup water
1 large green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup diced sweet red pepper

1. Open the cans of the beans upside down and dump into colander. Opening the cans upside down enables all of the beans to be removed from the can without the use of a spatula. Rinse the beans under running water to remove excess salt.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot
3. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender
4. Stir in chili powder, cumin and salt; sauté 1 minute
5. Add tomato and next 7 ingredients
6. Bring to a boil;, cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
7. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream
8. Sprinkle diced pepper evenly over each serving
9. Yield: 12 servings of 1.5 cups each.

Kitchen Chemistry : Week 7 : Jams, Jellies, and Preserves

Week #7

Reading pp 296, 605-614 Pectin and Partners for Perfect Preserves

Homework Questions
1. What is the difference between a jam, jelly and preserve?
2. What is the purpose of making jam?
3. Why do we add sugar to the recipe?
4. Where does pectin come from?
5. What is the purpose of the pectin?
6. Why do we have to boil the jars before we put our jam in?
7. If the lid does not seal after the jam has cooled what does that mean?
8. How does the low sugar version of pectin work?

Strawberry or other Berry Jam
From Certo package insert

Yield is about 8 cups of jam
• 4 cups crushed fruit (this is about 2 quarts of fresh fruit or 2.5 pounds of frozen, thawed fruit)
• 7 cup white sugar
• 1 pouch of liquid Certo

• Start the dishwasher with the jam jars. The best jars are the Mason Jars with the lid, glass jar and screw bands. To achieve the best seal, it is best to put the jam into a hot glass jar, so time the dishwasher accordingly.
• Prepare fruit. For berries, crush the fruit with a potato masher to the desired chunkiness.
•Measure the exact amount of prepared fruit into a 6 or 8 quart saucepan. It is best to use a pot in which the fruit does not go above about one quarter of the depth to prevent the jam from boiling over
• Stir sugar into fruit
• Bring mixture to full rolling boil ( a boil that does not stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat stirring constantly
• Stir in Certo quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a spoon.
• Using a 2 cup measuring cup, ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with flat lids, then screw bands tightly.
• Invert jars for 5 minutes, then turn upright.
• After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
• Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Store unopened jams in a cool dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate opened jams up to 3 weeks.

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