Author Topic: Speeding up the Maillard reaction  (Read 413 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« on: August 28, 2020, 11:56:17 AM »
Khymos by Martin Lersch / September 26th, 2008

The products of the Maillard reaction provide tastes, smells and colors that are much desired and lend their charachteristics to a variety of foods. In this post I will focus on the factors that influence how fast the Maillard reaction proceeds. And more specifically I’ll give examples on how the Maillard reaction can be speeded up. This is not about fast food, nor is it about saving time. It’s more about controlling the browning reaction by speeding it up or slowing it down in order to get a desired end result.

The Maillard reaction is, to put it simple, a reaction between an amino acid and a sugar (there’s more on the chemistry at the end of the post). To speed it up you can do one or more of the following:

add       protein (egg, milk)
          reducing sugar (glucose, fructose or lactose)

remove    water

increase temperature
             pH


Chances are you have already utilized this in the kitchen without knowing. When eggs or milk are used for glazing, they act as a protein source for the Maillard reaction, giving a nice brown color. Milk also provides lactose which is a reducing sugar. You’ve probably also observed that temperature does influence browning. Water content is indirectly related to temperature – as long as there is water present, temperature will stay below 100 °C. But once the bread crust dries out the conditions are just right to get the Maillard reaction running.

The same principles are applied to microwaveable pies. The microwaves primarily interact with water and hence only bring the temperature up to the boiling point of water. In order to get sufficient Maillard productcs at these temperatures reducing sugars and amino acids are added to the crust (as exemplified in this patent where dextrose and whey solids are used). Not so surprisingly there is also a patent on how to avoid excessive browning in cookies which calls for addition of a polycarboxylic acid ester to lower pH and hence slow down the Maillard reaction.

Pretzels are an extreme example of how the Maillard reaction can be tweaked. Before baking the pretzels are brushed with lye, a dilute solution of sodium hydroxide, which is very basic.

The high pH speeds up the bottleneck of the Maillard reaction (see end of post for details).

----

Further reading: Maximizing Food Flavor by Speeding Up the Maillard Reaction

More: https://blog.khymos.org/2008/09/26/speeding-up-the-maillard-reaction/

Offline Cyber Liberty

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Re: Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 02:08:03 PM »
I use a blowtorch to get that reaction after I pull my steaks out of the Sous Vide bath.  It's very important.  I've done it different ways...grill...hot cast iron pan, I've even dropped them into a deep fryer. 

I like the taste I get from the torch.
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Offline Elderberry

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Re: Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2020, 03:37:50 PM »
Ahh the taste of Ethyl Mercaptan.

Offline Cyber Liberty

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Re: Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2020, 03:52:29 PM »
Ahh the taste of Ethyl Mercaptan.

Hey, I was a child of the 60's....

(The torch is propane.....)
"A tankard of a familiar hops and barley beverage may be obtained without recompense, twenty-four hours hence."
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Offline Elderberry

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Re: Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2020, 04:55:41 PM »
Hey, I was a child of the 60's....

(The torch is propane.....)

I was a child of the 50's.

Propane is odorless so Ethyl Mercaptan is added to give it a smell. It is one of the two most smelliest compounds that exist. The other is it's relative Butyl Mercaptan that is used to give natural gas its odor.

Offline Cyber Liberty

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Re: Speeding up the Maillard reaction
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2020, 05:31:50 PM »
I was a child of the 50's.

Propane is odorless so Ethyl Mercaptan is added to give it a smell. It is one of the two most smelliest compounds that exist. The other is it's relative Butyl Mercaptan that is used to give natural gas its odor.

Do they do that with propane used in gas grills??  Oh well....
"A tankard of a familiar hops and barley beverage may be obtained without recompense, twenty-four hours hence."
I will NOT comply.
                          Castillo del Cyber! ~~~~~>                          :dontfeed:


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