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Read more about Chemistry of Cooking

Chemistry of Cooking

(16 reviews)

Sorangel Rodriguez-Velazquez, American University

Copyright Year: 2016

Publisher: Sorangel Rodriguez-Velazquez

Language: English

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Reviewed by Alexander Zestos, Associate Professor, American University on 12/29/22

This is a very comprehensive textbook covering all aspects of the Chemistry of Cooking. It begins with Essential Ideas such as background information and basic fundamentals on measurements, energy, mathematics, and uncertainty. Then it delves more... read more

Reviewed by Zohra Azim, Lecturer, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on 11/22/22

From the title, I expected that the focus of the book would be looking into the chemistry behind common cooking scenarios. Instead, there is heavy coverage of general chemistry topics, but not much relation to cooking. In my opinion, this book... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Campbell, Instructor, Eastern New Mexico University on 12/10/21

The book has extensive coverage of the Chemical reactions, measurement, atoms, etc. What it is lacking is more relation to cooking. There are more typical examples you would find in a Chemistry Course. If I were to use this book it would be for... read more

Reviewed by Martine Bissonnette, Faculty, Windward Community College on 4/21/21

The first couple of chapters of the book provides a good introduction of basic chemistry but it would have been more effective to explain concepts using food examples. The rest of the book is more of an encyclopedia of the different ingredients... read more

Reviewed by Kwok-Fan Chow, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell on 6/30/20

The text covers the fundamental topics of chemistry and the understanding of how ingredients are used in cooking. The topics are interesting for anyone who loves science and cooking. read more

Reviewed by Wayne Yeatman, Associate Professor, Central Oregon Community College on 6/19/20

The text provides a table of contents but does not provide an index or glossary. The text appears to be geared more towards baking than cooking. The text covers most areas of food but does not cover proteins. read more

Reviewed by Mikeya Kirksey, adjunct professor, Bunker Hill Community College on 6/1/20

easy to understand and flow was good read more

Reviewed by Wenjuan Tan, Chemistry Affiliate Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 3/30/20

This book is definitely recommended to the students who are majored in Food Chemistry and Food Science. It covered chemistry-related concepts, like inorganic, analytical, organic, and physical chemistry. Also, it provides other fun aspects like... read more

Reviewed by Daryl Holliday, Associate professor of Food Science, University of Holy Cross on 11/24/19

First third is a refresher of basic chemistry. Second third covers more about ingredients than food chemistry and the last covers chemistry associated with taste. I feel the first section could be shortened and examples improved but will be using... read more

Reviewed by Iona Black, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 8/13/19

I think the basic principles are covered in a comprehensive manner but the flow could be better between the topics. More detail could have been included as to how the chemistry of the process works. Maybe more examples of why chemistry is... read more

Reviewed by Kristine Bryan, Adjunct GED Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 4/25/19

As a GED instructor, I looked to this text to introduce basic chemistry concepts. It does this well. I was also looking for examples of basic chemistry in everyday cooking. I think the text could have been more straightforward in tying the... read more

Reviewed by Patricia Flatt, Professor, Western Oregon University on 4/17/19

I was very excited to look at this textbook as we teach a similar course in Consumer Chemistry and was hoping that we could use some of the materials in here for our course. However, I was a bit disappointed. I do think that the topic is... read more

Reviewed by Stacy Henle, NTT Instructor, Chemistry, Western Oregon University on 3/7/19

The topics selected for for food chemistry were interesting, although I was surprised that there was little to no focus on fruits and vegetables. In the eggs sections I was also hoping for more explanation on the significant differences in... read more

Reviewed by Edward Turos, Professor, University of South Florida on 3/27/18

The text is rather comprehensive in its discussion of basic principles of general chemistry, up through page 100, and also in the general description of food materials and procedures of food processing. after page 100. What is greatly missing... read more

Reviewed by Roberta Bernstetter, Cosmetology Instructor, Minnesota State Community and Technical College on 2/1/18

The book does a great job covering the subject without much depth so that a beginning chef can clearly and easily understand the content. The topics were compared to everyday situations, making it very easy to relate to, even to the self taught... read more

Reviewed by Nicolle Fernandes, Assistant Professor, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York on 2/1/18

The text covers a wide range of topics, starting with the basics of what is matter and its varying states to discussing the various food ingredients and how they lend themselves to cooking. The topics are covered in a very succinct manner. Each... read more

Table of Contents

Essential Ideas

  • Essential Ideas Introduction
  • Phases and Classification of Matter
  • Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Measurements
  • Measurement Uncertainty, Accuracy, and Precision
  • Mathematical Treatment of Measurement Results
  • Energy Basics
  • Calorimetry

Atoms, Molecules, and Ions

  • The Periodic Table
  • Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
  • Atomic Structure and Symbolism
  • Chemical Formulas
  • Molecular and Ionic Compounds

Cooking Techniques: Thickening and Concentrating Flavors

  • Viscosity
  • Thickening Agents
  • Types of Thickening Agents
  • Coagulation
  • Gelatinization
  • Crystallization
  • Non-traditional thickeners
  • Sauces
  • Low-temperature and sous-vide

Understanding Ingredients: Flour

  • Introduction -- Understanding Ingredients
  • The History of Wheat Flour
  • Milling of Wheat
  • Flour Streams and Types of Wheat Flour
  • Flour Terms and Treatments
  • Flour Additives
  • Whole Grain and Artisan Milling
  • Flour in Baking
  • Rye Flour
  • Other Grains and Flours

Understanding Ingredients: Fat

  • Understanding Fats and Oils
  • Sources of Bakery Fats and Oils
  • Major Fats and Oils Used in Bakeries
  • Functions of Fat in Baking

Understanding Ingredients: Sugar

  • Sugar Chemistry (ADD US)
  • Sugar Refining
  • The Application of Sugar
  • Agave
  • Glucose/Dextrose
  • Honey
  • Malt
  • Maple Syrup (ADD US)
  • Sugar Substitutes (ADD US)

Understanding Ingredients: Leavening Agents

  • Catalysis
  • Introduction to Leavening Agents
  • Yeast
  • The Functions of Yeast
  • Using Yeast in Baking
  • Introduction to Acid- bases
  • Brønsted-Lowry Acids and Bases
  • pH and pOH
  • Baking Powder
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Ammonium Bicarbonate
  • Water Hardness and pH

Understanding Ingredients: Dairy Products

  • Introduction to Dairy Products
  • Milk
  • Milk Products ADD US
  • Milk in bread baking
  • Yogurt
  • Lactose
  • Cheese

Understanding Ingredients: Eggs

  • Eggs Grade (ADD US)
  • Composition and Nutrition
  • Egg Products
  • The Function of Eggs
  • Storing Eggs


  • From the Cocoa Bean to the Finished Chocolate
  • Chocolate Produced for the Baking Industry
  • Couverture
  • Definitions and Regulations (ADD US)

Understanding Ingredients: Spices

  • Elements of Taste
  • Introduction to Salt
  • Types of Salt
  • Functions of Salt in Baking
  • Using Salt in Fermented Doughs
  • Storing Salt
  • Introduction to Spices and Other Flavorings
  • Seasoning and Flavoring
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Flavorings in Baking


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About the Book

People around the world are fascinated about the preparation of food for eating. There are countless cooking books, TV shows, celebrity chefs and kitchen gadgets that make cooking an enjoyable activity for everyone. The chemistry of cooking course seeks to understand the science behind our most popular meals by studying the behavior of atoms and molecules present in food. This book is intended to give students a basic understanding of the chemistry involved in cooking such as caramelization, Maillard reaction, acid-base reactions, catalysis, and fermentation. Students will be able to use chemistry language to describe the process of cooking, apply chemistry knowledge to solve questions related to food, and ultimately create their own recipes.

About the Contributors


Sorangel Rodriguez-Velazquez is a Professorial Lecturer in Department of Chemistry at American University.

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