Monday, May 3, 2010

Baking in Brownies

Brownies, the fundamental of comfort food, is yet another example of chemistry in cooking. When baking brownies, especially from scratch, it is vital to make perfect proportions because too much of one ingredient can leave the product inedible. For instance, adding too much oil or forgetting eggs can negatively affect the brownies. One common ingredient found in brownies is baking powder. Baking powder can be used for various things in cooking including leavening products and neutralizing recipes. The baking powder used in brownies is used to leaven the mixture when it is cooking (Bread Science 101). The baking powder leavens the mixture by releasing CO2 when reacting with water the heat from the oven. This is seen in the following equation:
NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ + H2O + CO2 (Czernohorsky, J. H., and Hooker, R.)

When baking the rate of which the CO2 is released and the amount that is release are very important factors. By properly proportioning the heat of the oven and the amount of ingredients the desired affects can be achieved. By baking brownies, I will demonstrate how the baking powder in the brownie mix helps to rise the chocolate treat, creating a specific texture.

Side note: Brownie Mix also contains Lecithin in order to not stick to the baking pan, yet another application of different chemicals in chemistry.

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