Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine

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Based on the popular Harvard University and edX course, Science and Cooking explores the scientific basis of why recipes work.

The spectacular culinary creations of modern cuisine are the stuff of countless articles and social media feeds. But to a scientist they are also perfect pedagogical explorations into the basic scientific principles of cooking. In Science and Cooking, Harvard professors Michael Brenner, Pia Sörensen, and David Weitz bring the classroom to your kitchen to teach the physics and chemistry underlying every recipe.

Why do we knead bread? What determines the temperature at which we cook a steak, or the amount of time our chocolate chip cookies spend in the oven? Science and Cooking answers these questions and more through hands-on experiments and recipes from renowned chefs such as Christina Tosi, Joanne Chang, and Wylie Dufresne, all beautifully illustrated in full color. With engaging introductions from revolutionary chefs and collaborators Ferran Adria and José Andrés, Science and Cooking will change the way you approach both subjects―in your kitchen and beyond.

85 color illustrations

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Mugaritz Pectinase Apple


5 g pectinase

25 g water

1 red apple


This recipe from Mugaritz uses pectinase to break down the pectin in apples. Since enzymes have very specific targets, only the pectin is broken up. The flavors of the raw apple are preserved. Breaking down the pectin also breaks down its cell walls and exposes the polyphenol oxidase to oxygen, causing browning.


Poke the apple with a needle 6 or 7 times all over its surface.

Place the apple in a vacuum bag, add the pectinase dilution, and vacuum-pack to medium pressure.

Let the pectinase melt the apple for 12 hours in the fridge.

Open the bag and use a sharp knife to very gently cut the apple into 4 portions.

Serve each portion with a pinch of salt.

Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine
Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine
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