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On food and cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen is a book by harold mcgee, published by scribner in the united states in 1984 and revised extensively for a.
The food lab: better home cooking through science and over one million other books are available for amazon kindle. The food network 100 million american homes nights commands viewers cable news channels..
Prepare future food industry educational foundation culinary arts sciences culinary institute america.. Fastnachts doughnuts shrove tuesday tradition german immigrants pennsylvania dutch country. Copyright © 2015 Caroldoey, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Introduction: Cooking and Science, 1984 and 2004This is the revised and expanded second edition of a book that I first published in 1984, twenty long years ago. It was a time when a book like this really needed an introduction!Twenty years ago the worlds of science and cooking were neatly compartmentalized. There were the basic sciences, physics and chemistry and biology, delving deep into the nature of matter and life. There was food science, an applied science mainly concerned with understanding the materials and processes of industrial manufacturing.
And there was the world of small-scale home and restaurant cooking, traditional crafts that had never attracted much scientific attention. Cooks had been developing their own body of practical knowledge for thousands of years, and had plenty of reliable recipes to work with.I had been fascinated by chemistry and physics when I was growing up, experimented with electroplating and Tesla coils and telescopes, and went to Caltech planning to study astronomy. It wasn't until after I'd changed directions and moved on to English literature -- and had begun to cook -- that I first heard of food science.
At dinner one evening in 1976 or 1977, a friend from New Orleans wondered aloud why dried beans were such a problematic food, why indulging in red beans and rice had to cost a few hours of sometimes embarrassing discomfort. A few days later, working in the library and needing a break from 19th-century poetry, I remembered it and the answer a biologist friend had dug up (indigestible sugars), thought I would browse in some food books, wandered over to that section, and found shelf after shelf of strange titles. I flipped through a few volumes, and among the mostly bewildering pages found hints of answers to other questions that had never occurred to me.
It was great fun to make and share these little discoveries, and I began to think that many people interested in food might enjoy them. I began by quoting an unlikely trio of authorities, Plato, Samuel Johnson, and Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, all of whom suggested that cooking deserves detailed and serious study. I pointed out that a 19th-century German chemist still influences how many people think about cooking meat, and that around the turn of the 20th century, Fannie Farmer began her cookbook with what she called "condensed scientific knowledge" about ingredients. I noted a couple of errors in modern cookbooks by Madeleine Kamman and Julia Child, who were ahead of their time in taking chemistry seriously.
And I proposed that science can make cooking more interesting by connecting it with the basic workings of the natural world.A lot has changed in twenty years! It turned out that On Food and Cooking was riding a rising wave of general interest in food, a wave that grew and grew, and knocked down the barriers between science and cooking, especially in the last decade.
Science has found its way into the kitchen, and cooking into laboratories and factories.In 2004 food lovers can find the science of cooking just about everywhere. Magazines and newspaper food sections devote regular columns to it, and there are now a number of books that explore it, with Shirley Corriher's 1997 CookWise remaining unmatched in the way it integrates explanation and recipes.
Today many writers go into the technical details of their subjects, especially such intricate things as pastry, chocolate, coffee, beer, and wine.
Kitchen science has been the subject of television series aired in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France. And a number of food molecules and microbes have become familiar figures in the news, both good and bad. Anyone who follows the latest in health and nutrition knows about the benefits of antioxidants and phytoestrogens, the hazards of trans fatty acids, acrylamide, E.
In the first few years after On Food and Cooking appeared, many young cooks told me of their frustration in trying to find out why dishes were prepared a certain way, or why ingredients behave as they do. To their traditionally trained chefs and teachers, understanding food was less important than mastering the tried and true techniques for preparing it. Today it's clearer that curiosity and understanding make their own contribution to mastery. A number of culinary schools now offer "experimental" courses that investigate the whys of cooking and encourage critical thinking.
And several highly regarded chefs, most famously Ferran Adria in Spain and Heston Blumenthal in England, experiment with industrial and laboratory tools -- gelling agents from seaweeds and bacteria, non-sweet sugars, aroma extracts, pressurized gases, liquid nitrogen -- to bring new forms of pleasure to the table.As science has gradually percolated into the world of cooking, cooking has been drawn into academic and industrial science. And over the last decade its focus, the understanding of culinary excellence, has taken on new economic significance. The modern industrial drive to maximize efficiency and minimize costs generally lowered the quality and distinctiveness of food products: they taste much the same, and not very good. Improvements in quality can now mean a competitive advantage; and cooks have always been the world's experts in the applied science of deliciousness. Twenty years ago, there wasn't much demand for information about extra-virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar, farmed salmon or grass-fed beef, cappuccino or white tea, Sichuan pepper or Mexican mole, sake or well-tempered chocolate. I've expanded the text by two thirds in order to cover a broader range of ingredients and preparations, and to explore them in greater depth. To make room for new information about foods, I've dropped the separate chapters on human physiology, nutrition, and additives. Of the few sections that survive in similar form from the first edition, practically all have been rewritten to reflect fresh information, or my own fresh understanding.This edition gives new emphasis to two particular aspects of food.
These days the easy movement of products and people makes it possible for us to taste foods from all over the world.
And traveling back in time through old cookbooks can turn up forgotten but intriguing ideas. I've tried throughout to give at least a brief indication of the range of possibilities offered by foods themselves and by different national traditions.The other new emphasis is on the flavors of foods, and sometimes on the particular molecules that create flavor.
Flavors are something like chemical chords, composite sensations built up from notes provided by different molecules, some of which are found in many foods. I give the chemical names of flavor molecules when I think that being specific can help us notice flavor relationships and echoes. The names may seem strange and intimidating at first, but they're just names and they'll become more familiar. Of course people have made and enjoyed well seasoned dishes for thousands of years with no knowledge of molecules. But a dash of flavor chemistry can help us make fuller use of our senses of taste and smell, and experience more -- and find more pleasure -- in what we cook and eat.Now a few words about the scientific approach to food and cooking and the organization of this book. Like everything on earth, foods are mixtures of different chemicals, and the qualities that we aim to influence in the kitchen -- taste, aroma, texture, color, nutritiousness -- are all manifestations of chemical properties. On the other hand, the great virtue of thought and analysis is that they free us from the necessity of following recipes, and help us deal with the unexpected, including the inspiration to try something new. Thoughtful cooking means paying attention to what our senses tell us as we prepare it, connecting that information with past experience and with an understanding of what's happening to the food's inner substance, and adjusting the preparation accordingly.To understand what's happening within a food as we cook it, we need to be familiar with the world of invisibly small molecules and their reactions with each other. There are a hundred-plus chemical elements, many more combinations of those elements into molecules, and several different forces that rule their behavior. Foods are mostly built out of just four kinds of molecules -- water, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. If you know that heat is a manifestation of the movements of molecules, and that sufficiently energetic collisions disrupt the structures of molecules and eventually break them apart, then you're very close to understanding why heat solidifies eggs and makes foods tastier.Most readers today have at least a vague idea of proteins and fats, molecules and energy, and a vague idea is enough to follow most of the explanations in the first 13 chapters, which cover common foods and ways of preparing them. Chapters 14 and 15 then describe in some detail the molecules and basic chemical processes involved in all cooking; and the Appendix gives a brief refresher course in the basic vocabulary of science. You can refer to these final sections occasionally, to clarify the meaning of pH or protein coagulation as you're reading about cheese or meat or bread, or else read through them on their own to get a general introduction to the science of cooking.Finally, a request.
In this book I've sifted through and synthesized a great deal of information, and have tried hard to double-check both facts and my interpretations of them.
I'm greatly indebted to the many scientists, historians, linguists, culinary professionals, and food lovers on whose learning I've been able to draw.
I will also appreciate the help of readers who notice errors that I've made and missed, and who let me know so that I can correct them. My thanks in advance.As I finish this revision and think about the endless work of correcting and perfecting, my mind returns to the first Erice workshop and a saying shared by Jean-Pierre Philippe, a chef from Les Mesnuls, near Versailles. Chef Philippe told us that he had thought he knew everything there was to know about meringues, until one day a phone call distracted him and he left his mixer running for half an hour. Humans are mammals, a word that means "creatures of the breast," and the first food that any mammal tastes is milk. Milk is food for the beginning eater, a gulpable essence distilled by the mother from her own more variable and challenging diet.
When our ancestors took up dairying, they adopted the cow, the ewe, and the goat as surrogate mothers. These creatures accomplish the miracle of turning meadow and straw into buckets of human nourishment. And their milk turned out to be an elemental fluid rich in possibility, just a step or two away from luxurious cream, fragrant golden butter, and a multitude of flavorful foods concocted by friendly microbes.No wonder that milk captured the imaginations of many cultures.
The ancient Indo-Europeans were cattle herders who moved out from the Caucasian steppes to settle vast areas of Eurasia around 3000 BCE; and milk and butter are prominent in the creation myths of their descendents, from India to Scandinavia. Peoples of the Mediterranean and Middle East relied on the oil of their olive tree rather than butter, but milk and cheese still figure in the Old Testament as symbols of abundance and creation.The modern imagination holds a very different view of milk! Mass production turned it and its products from precious, marvelous resources into ordinary commodities, and medical science stigmatized them for their fat content. Fortunately a more balanced view of dietary fat is developing; and traditional versions of dairy foods survive. It's still possible to savor the remarkable foods that millennia of human ingenuity have teased from milk. A sip of milk itself or a scoop of ice cream can be a Proustian draft of youth's innocence and energy and possibility, while a morsel of fine cheese is a rich meditation on maturity, the fulfillment of possibility, the way of all flesh.Mammals and Milk: The Evolution of MilkHow and why did such a thing as milk ever come to be? It came along with warm-bloodedness, hair, and skin glands, all of which distinguish mammals from reptiles.
Milk may have begun around 300 million years ago as a protective and nourishing skin secretion for hatchlings being incubated on their mother's skin, as is true for the platypus today. It gives newborn animals the advantage of ideally formulated food from the mother even after birth, and therefore the opportunity to continue their physical development outside the womb.
The human species has taken full advantage of this opportunity: we are completely helpless for months after birth, while our brains finish growing to a size that would be difficult to accommodate in the womb and birth canal. In this sense, milk helped make possible the evolution of our large brain, and so helped make us the unusual animals we are.The Rise of the RuminantsAll mammals produce milk for their young, but only a closely related handful have been exploited by humans. Cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, yaks: these suppliers of plenty were created by a scarcity of food. This shift favored plants that could grow quickly and produce seeds to survive the dry period, and caused a great expansion of grasslands, which in the dry seasons became a sea of desiccated, fibrous stalks and leaves. So began the gradual decline of the horses and the expansion of the deer family, the ruminants, which evolved the ability to survive on dry grass. Cattle, sheep, goats, and their relatives are all ruminants.The key to the rise of the ruminants is their highly specialized, multichamber stomach, which accounts for a fifth of their body weight and houses trillions of fiber-digesting microbes, most of them in the first chamber, or rumen. Their unique plumbing, together with the habit of regurgitating and rechewing partly digested food, allows ruminants to extract nourishment from high-fiber, poor-quality plant material. Ruminants produce milk copiously on feed that is otherwise useless to humans and that can be stockpiled as straw or silage.
The European race was domesticated in the Middle East around 8000 BCE, the heat- and parasite-tolerant zebu in south-central Asia around the same time, and an African variant of the European race in the Sahara, probably somewhat later.In its principal homeland, central and south India, the zebu has been valued as much for its muscle power as its milk, and remains rangy and long-horned. The European dairy cow has been highly selected for milk production at least since 3000 BCE, when confinement to stalls in urban Mesopotamia and poor winter feed led to a reduction in body and horn size.

To this day, the prized dairy breeds -- Jerseys, Guernseys, Brown Swiss, Holsteins -- are short-horned cattle that put their energy into making milk rather than muscle and bone.
The modern zebu is not as copious a producer as the European breeds, but its milk is 25% richer in butterfat.The Buffalo The water buffalo is relatively unfamiliar in the West but the most important bovine in tropical Asia. Bubalus bubalis was domesticated as a draft animal in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE, then taken to the Indus civilizations of present-day Pakistan, and eventually through India and China. This tropical animal is sensitive to heat (it wallows in water to cool down), so it proved adaptable to milder climates. The Arabs brought buffalo to the Middle East around 700 CE, and in the Middle Ages they were introduced throughout Europe. The most notable vestige of that introduction is a population approaching 100,000 in the Campagna region south of Rome, which supplies the milk for true mozzarella cheese, mozzarella di bufala. Buffalo milk is much richer than cow's milk, so mozzarella and Indian milk dishes are very different when the traditional buffalo milk is replaced with cow's milk.The Yak The third important dairy bovine is the yak, Bos grunniens.
This long-haired, bushy-tailed cousin of the common cow is beautifully adapted to the thin, cold, dry air and sparse vegetation of the Tibetan plateau and mountains of central Asia. Tibetans in particular make elaborate use of yak butter and various fermented products.The Goat The goat and sheep belong to the "ovicaprid" branch of the ruminant family, smaller animals that are especially at home in mountainous country.
The goat, Capra hircus, comes from a denizen of the mountains and semidesert regions of central Asia, and was probably the first animal after the dog to be domesticated, between 8000 and 9000 BCE in present-day Iran and Iraq. It is the hardiest of the Eurasian dairy animals, and will browse just about any sort of vegetation, including woody scrub. Its omnivorous nature, small size, and good yield of distinctively flavored milk -- the highest of any dairy animal for its body weight -- have made it a versatile milk and meat animal in marginal agricultural areas.The Sheep The sheep, Ovis aries, was domesticated in the same region and period as its close cousin the goat, and came to be valued and bred for meat, milk, wool, and fat.
Sheep were originally grazers on grassy foothills and are somewhat more fastidious than goats, but less so than cattle. Camels are well adapted to arid climates, and were domesticated around 2500 BCE in central Asia, primarily as pack animals. Their milk, which is roughly comparable to cow's milk, is collected in many countries, and in northeast Africa is a staple food.The Origins of DairyingWhen and why did humans extend our biological heritage as milk drinkers to the cultural practice of drinking the milk of other animals? Archaeological evidence suggests that sheep and goats were domesticated in the grasslands and open forest of present-day Iran and Iraq between 8000 and 9000 BCE, a thousand years before the far larger, fiercer cattle. At first these animals would have been kept for meat and skins, but the discovery of milking was a significant advance.
Dairy animals could produce the nutritional equivalent of a slaughtered meat animal or more each year for several years, and in manageable daily increments. Dairying is the most efficient means of obtaining nourishment from uncultivated land, and may have been especially important as farming communities spread outward from Southwest Asia.Small ruminants and then cattle were almost surely first milked into containers fashioned from skins or animal stomachs. The earliest hard evidence of dairying to date consists of clay sieves, which have been found in the settlements of the earliest northern European farmers, from around 5000 BCE. Rock drawings of milking scenes were made a thousand years later in the Sahara, and what appear to be the remains of cheese have been found in Egyptian tombs of 2300 BCE.Diverse TraditionsEarly shepherds would have discovered the major transformations of milk in their first containers. When milk is left to stand, fat-enriched cream naturally forms at the top, and if agitated, the cream becomes butter. The remaining milk naturally turns acid and curdles into thick yogurt, which draining separates into solid curd and liquid whey. Some milk was repeatedly boiled to keep it sweet, and then preserved not with salt, but by the combination of sugar and long, dehydrating cooking (see box, p. 26).The Mediterranean world of Greece and Rome used economical olive oil rather than butter, but esteemed cheese.
The Roman Pliny praised cheeses from distant provinces that are now parts of France and Switzerland. And indeed cheese making reached its zenith in continental and northern Europe, thanks to abundant pastureland ideal for cattle, and a temperate climate that allowed long, gradual fermentations.The one major region of the Old World not to embrace dairying was China, perhaps because Chinese agriculture began where the natural vegetation runs to often toxic relatives of wormwood and epazote rather than ruminant-friendly grasses. Even so, frequent contact with central Asian nomads introduced a variety of dairy products to China, whose elite long enjoyed yogurt, koumiss, butter, acid-set curds, and, around 1300 and thanks to the Mongols, even milk in their tea!Dairying was unknown in the New World.
With time, livestock were selected for the climate and needs of different regions, and diversified into hundreds of distinctive local breeds (the rugged Brown Swiss cow for cheesemaking in the mountains, the diminutive Jersey and Guernsey for making butter in the Channel Islands).
By medieval times, fame had come to French Roquefort and Brie, Swiss Appenzeller, and Italian Parmesan. In the Renaissance, the Low Countries were 0renowned for their butter and exported their productive Friesian cattle throughout Europe.Until industrial times, dairying was done on the farm, and in many countries mainly by women, who milked the animals in early morning and after noon and then worked for hours to churn butter or make cheese. Country people could enjoy good fresh milk, but in the cities, with confined cattle fed inadequately on spent brewers' grain, most people saw only watered-down, adulterated, contaminated milk hauled in open containers through the streets. Tainted milk was a major cause of child mortality in early Victorian times.Industrial and Scientific Innovations Beginning around 1830, industrialization transformed European and American dairying. The railroads made it possible to get fresh country milk to the cities, where rising urban populations and incomes fueled demand, and new laws regulated milk quality.
Steam-powered farm machinery meant that cattle could be bred and raised for milk production alone, not for a compromise between milk and hauling, so milk production boomed, and more than ever was drunk fresh. With the invention of machines for milking, cream separation, and churning, dairying gradually moved out the hands of milkmaids and off the farms, which increasingly supplied milk to factories for mass production of cream, butter, and cheese.From the end of the 19th century, chemical and biological innovations have helped make dairy products at once more hygienic, more predictable, and more uniform.
Most traditional cattle breeds have been abandoned in favor of high-yielding black-and-white Friesian (Holstein) cows, which now account for 90% of all American dairy cattle and 85% of British. The cows are farmed in ever larger herds and fed an optimized diet that seldom includes fresh pasturage, so most modern milk lacks the color, flavor, and seasonal variation of preindustrial milk.Dairy Products Today Today dairying is split into several big businesses with nothing of the dairymaid left about them.
Butter and cheese, once prized, delicate concentrates of milk's goodness, have become inexpensive, mass-produced, uninspiring commodities piling up in government warehouses. Manufacturers now remove much of what makes milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter distinctive and pleasurable: they remove milk fat, which suddenly became undesirable when medical scientists found that saturated milk fat tends to raise blood cholesterol levels and can contribute to heart disease.
As the sole sustaining food of the calf at the beginning of its life, it's a rich source of many essential body-building nutrients, particularly protein, sugars and fat, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and calcium.Over the last few decades, however, the idealized portrait of milk has become more shaded.
We've learned that the balance of nutrients in cow's milk doesn't meet the needs of human infants, that most adult humans on the planet can't digest the milk sugar called lactose, that the best route to calcium balance may not be massive milk intake. These complications help remind us that milk was designed to be a food for the young and rapidly growing calf, not for the young or mature human.Milk NutrientsNearly all milks contain the same battery of nutrients, the relative proportions of which vary greatly from species to species. A calf doubles its weight at birth in 50 days, a human infant in 100; sure enough, cow's milk contains more than double the protein and minerals of mother's milk.
Thanks to the rumen microbes, which convert the unsaturated fatty acids of grass and grain into saturated fatty acids, the milk fat of ruminant animals is the most highly saturated of our common foods. Saturated fat does raise blood cholesterol levels, and high blood cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease; but the other foods in a balanced diet can compensate for this disadvantage (p. Physicians now recommend that plain cow's milk not be fed to children younger than one year. One reason is that it provides too much protein, and not enough iron and highly unsaturated fats, for the human infant's needs. The infant's digestive system is not fully formed, and can allow some food protein and protein fragments to pass directly into the blood. These foreign molecules then provoke a defensive response from the immune system, and that response is strengthened each time the infant eats. Somewhere between 1% and 10% of American infants suffer from an allergy to the abundant protein in cow's milk, whose symptoms may range from mild discomfort to intestinal damage to shock. The obstacle is the milk sugar lactose, which can't be absorbed and used by the body as is: it must first be broken down into its component sugars by digestive enzymes in the small intestine. But if an adult without much lactase activity does ingest a substantial amount of milk, then the lactose passes through the small intestine and reaches the large intestine, where bacteria metabolize it, and in the process produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane: all discomforting gases.
Sugar also draws water from the intestinal walls, and this causes a bloated feeling or diarrhea.Low lactase activity and its symptoms are called lactose intolerance. It turns out that adult lactose intolerance is the rule rather than the exception: lactose-tolerant adults are a distinct minority on the planet. Several thousand years ago, peoples in northern Europe and a few other regions underwent a genetic change that allowed them to produce lactase throughout life, probably because milk was an exceptionally important resource in colder climates. About 98% of Scandinavians are lactose-tolerant, 90% of French and Germans, but only 40% of southern Europeans and North Africans, and 30% of African Americans.Coping with Lactose Intolerance Fortunately, lactose intolerance is not the same as milk intolerance.
Cheese contains little or no lactose (most of it is drawn off in the whey, and what little remains in the curd is fermented by bacteria and molds).
The bacteria in yogurt generate lactose-digesting enzymes that remain active in the human small intestine and work for us there. Bone tissue is constantly being deconstructed and rebuilt throughout our adult lives, so healthy bones require adequate protein and calcium supplies from our diet.
Many women in industrialized countries lose so much bone mass after menopause that they're at high risk for serious fractures. A quart of milk supplies two-thirds of a day's recommended protein, and would displace from the diet other foods -- vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, and fish -- that provide their own important nutritional benefits. Other countries, including China and Japan, suffer much lower fracture rates than the United States and milk-loving Scandinavia, despite the fact that their people drink little or no milk.
So it seems prudent to investigate the many other factors that influence bone strength, especially those that slow the deconstruction process (see box, p.
The best answer is likely to be not a single large white bullet, but the familiar balanced diet and regular exercise.Milk Proteins Become Something More We used to think that one of the major proteins in milk, casein (p.
19), was mainly a nutritional reservoir of amino acids with which the infant builds its own body. But this protein now appears to be a complex, subtle orchestrator of the infant's metabolism. When it's digested, its long amino-acid chains are first broken down into smaller fragments, or peptides. It turns out that many hormones and drugs are also peptides, and a number of casein peptides do affect the body in hormone-like ways.
One reduces breathing and heart rates, another triggers insulin release into the blood, and a third stimulates the scavenging activity of white blood cells. Do the peptides from cow's milk affect the metabolism of human children or adults in significant ways? We don't yet know.Milk Biology and ChemistryHow the Cow Makes MilkMilk is food for the newborn, and so dairy animals must give birth before they will produce significant quantities of milk. The mammary glands are activated by changes in the balance of hormones toward the end of pregnancy, and are stimulated to continue secreting milk by regular removal of milk from the gland. The optimum sequence for milk production is to breed the cow again 90 days after it calves, milk it for 10 months, and let it go dry for the two months before the next calving. In intensive operations, cows aren't allowed to waste energy on grazing in variable pastures; they're given hay or silage (whole corn or other plants, partly dried and then preserved by fermentation in airtight silos) in confined lots, and are milked only during their two or three most productive years. Dairy breeds of sheep and goats give about one gallon per day.The first fluid secreted by the mammary gland is colostrum, a creamy, yellow solution of concentrated fat, vitamins, and proteins, especially immunoglobulins and antibodies.
After a few days, when the colostrum flow has ceased and the milk is saleable, the calf is put on a diet of reconstituted and soy milks, and the cow is milked two or three times daily to keep the secretory cells working at full capacity.The Milk Factory The mammary gland is an astonishing biological factory, with many different cells and structures working together to create, store, and dispense milk. The principal nutrients, however -- fats, sugar, and proteins -- are assembled by the gland's secretory cells, and then released into the udder.A Living Fluid Milk's blank appearance belies its tremendous complexity and vitality.
It's alive in the sense that, fresh from the udder, it contains living white blood cells, some mammary-gland cells, and various bacteria; and it teems with active enzymes, some floating free, some embedded in the membranes of the fat globules. 22) greatly reduces this vitality; in fact residual enzyme activity is taken as a sign that the heat treatment was insufficient. Pasteurized milk contains very few living cells or active enzyme molecules, so it is more predictably free of bacteria that could cause food poisoning, and more stable; it develops off-flavors more slowly than raw milk. But the dynamism of raw milk is prized in traditional cheese making, where it contributes to the ripening process and deepens flavor.Milk owes its milky opalescence to microscopic fat globules and protein bundles, which are just large enough to deflect light rays as they pass through the liquid.
Dissolved salts and milk sugar, vitamins, other proteins, and traces of many other compounds also swim in the water that accounts for the bulk of the fluid.
The sugar, fat, and proteins are by far the most important components, and we'll look at them in detail in a moment.First a few words about the remaining components. The fat globules carry colorless vitamin A and its yellow-orange precursors the carotenes, which are found in green feed and give milk and undyed butter whatever color they have.

Breeds differ in the amount of carotene they convert into vitamin A; Guernsey and Jersey cows convert little and give especially golden milk, while at the other extreme sheep, goats, and water buffalo process nearly all of their carotene, so their milk and butter are nutritious but white.
It provides nearly half of the calories in human milk, and 40% in cow's milk, and gives milk its sweet taste.The uniqueness of lactose has two major practical consequences. First, we need a special enzyme to digest lactose; and many adults lack that enzyme and have to be careful about what dairy products they consume (p. Second, most microbes take some time to make their own lactose-digesting enzyme before they can grow well in milk, but one group has enzymes at the ready and can get a head start on all the others. The bacteria known as Lactobacilli and Lactococci not only grow on lactose immediately, they also convert it into lactic acid ("milk acid"). They thus acidify the milk, and in so doing, make it less habitable by other microbes, including many that would make the milk unpalatable or cause disease. Lactose and the lactic-acid bacteria therefore turn milk sour, but help prevent it from spoiling, or becoming undrinkable.Lactose is one-fifth as sweet as table sugar, and only one-tenth as soluble in water (200 vs. The milk-fat globules carry the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and about half the calories of whole milk. The higher the fat content of milk, the more cream or butter can be made from it, and so the higher the price it will bring. Most cows secrete more fat in winter, due mainly to concentrated winter feed and the approaching end of their lactation period. Certain breeds, notably Guernseys and Jerseys from the Channel Islands between Britain and France, produce especially rich milk and large fat globules. 13).The way the fat is packaged into globules accounts for much of milk's behavior in the kitchen.
The membrane that surrounds each fat globule is made up of phospholipids (fatty acid emulsifiers, p. This phenomenon is called creaming, and for millennia it was the natural first step toward obtaining fat-enriched cream and butter from milk. In the 19th century, centrifuges were developed to concentrate the fat globules more rapidly and thoroughly, and homogenization was invented to prevent whole milk from separating in this way (p. The globules rise because their fat is lighter than water, but they rise much faster than their buoyancy alone can account for. It turns out that a number of minor milk proteins attach themselves loosely to the fat globules and knit together clusters of about a million globules that have a stronger lift than single globules do.
Heat denatures these proteins and prevents the globule clustering, so that the fat globules in unhomogenized but pasteurized milk rise more slowly into a shallower, less distinct layer.
Milk and cream can be boiled and reduced for hours, until they're nearly dry, without breaching the globule membranes enough to release their fat. The globule membranes are robust to begin with, and it turns out that heating unfolds many of the milk proteins and makes them more prone to stick to the globule surface and to each other -- so the globule armor actually gets progressively thicker as heating proceeds. Cold milk fat and freezing water both form large, solid, jagged crystals that pierce, crush, and rend the thin veil of phospholipids and proteins around the globule, just a few molecules thick. If you freeze milk or cream and then thaw it, much of the membrane material ends up floating free in the liquid, and many of the fat globules get stuck to each other in grains of butter. When it comes to cooking behavior, fortunately, we can reduce the protein population to two basic groups: Little Miss Muffet's curds and whey. The handful of curd proteins, the caseins, clump together in acid conditions and form a solid mass, or coagulate, while all the rest, the whey proteins, remain suspended in the liquid. It's the clumping nature of the caseins that makes possible most thickened milk products, from yogurt to cheese. The whey proteins play a more minor role; they influence the texture of casein curds, and stabilize the milk foams on specialty coffees. The caseins usually outweigh the whey proteins, as they do in cow's milk by 4 to 1.Both caseins and whey proteins are unusual among food proteins in being largely tolerant of heat. Where cooking coagulates the proteins in eggs and meat into solid masses, it does not coagulate the proteins in milk and cream -- unless the milk or cream has become acidic. Fresh milk and cream can be boiled down to a fraction of their volume without curdling.The Caseins The casein family includes four different kinds of proteins that gather together into microscopic family units called micelles. Each casein micelle contains a few thousand individual protein molecules, and measures about a ten-thousandth of a millimeter qlacross, about one-fiftieth the size of a fat globule. Much of the calcium in milk is in the micelles, where it acts as a kind of glue holding the protein molecules together. One portion of calcium binds individual protein molecules together into small clusters of 15 to 25. That is kappa-casein, which caps the micelles once they reach acertain size, prevents them from growing larger, and keeps them dispersed and separate. If it gets acid enough to approach pH 5.5, the capping-casein's negative charge is neutralized, the micelles no longer repel each other, and they therefore gather in loose clusters. At the same acidity, the calcium glue that holds the micelles together dissolves, the micelles begin to fall apart, and their individual proteins scatter. This is what happens when milk gets old and sour, or when it's intentionally cultured with acid-producing bacteria to make yogurt or sour cream.Another way to cause the caseins to curdle is the basis of cheese making. Chymosin, a digestive enzyme from the stomach of a milk-fed calf, is exquisitely designed to give the casein micelles a haircut (p. It clips off just the part of the capping-casein that extends into the surrounding liquid and shields the micelles from each other. Shorn of their hairy layer, the micelles all clump together -- without the milk being noticeably sour.The Whey Proteins Subtract the four caseins from the milk proteins, and the remainder, numbering in the dozens, are the whey proteins.
Where the caseins are mainly nutritive, supplying amino acids and calcium for the calf, the whey proteins include defensive proteins, molecules that bind to and transport other nutrients, and enzymes.
The most abundant one by far is lactoglobulin, whose biological function remains a mystery.
When denatured in acid conditions with relatively little casein around, as in cheese whey, lactoglobulin molecules do bind to each other and coagulate into little clots, which can be made into whey cheeses like true ricotta. Heat-denatured whey proteins are better than their native forms at stabilizing air bubbles in milk foams and ice crystals in ice creams; this is why milks and creams are usually cooked for these preparations (pp. It's distinctly sweet from the lactose, slightly salty from its complement of minerals, and very slightly acid.
Its mild, pleasant aroma is due in large measure to short-chain fatty acids (including butyric and capric acids), which help keep highly saturated milk fat fluid at body temperature, and which are small enough that they can evaporate into the air and reach our nose. But in sparing quantities, the 4- to 12-carbon rumen fatty acids, branched versions of these, and acid-alcohol combinations called esters, provide milk with its fundamental blend of animal and fruity notes. The distinctive smells of goat and sheep milks are due to two particular branched 8-carbon fatty acids (4-ethyl-octanoic, 4-methyl-octanoic) that are absent in cow's milk. Buffalo milk, from which traditional mozzarella cheese is made, has a characteristic blend of modified fatty acids reminiscent of mushrooms and freshly cut grass, together with a barnyardy nitrogen compound (indole).The basic flavor of fresh milk is affected by the animals' feed. Dry hay and silage are relatively poor in fat and protein and produce a less complicated, mildly cheesy aroma, while lush pasturage provides raw material for sweet, raspberry-like notes (derivatives of unsaturated long-chain fatty acids), as well as barnyardy indoles.Flavors from Cooking Low-temperature pasteurization (p. 22) slightly modifies milk flavor by driving off some of the more delicate aromas, but stabilizes it by inactivating enzymes and bacteria, and adds slightly sulfury and green-leaf notes (dimethyl sulfide, hexanal). Prolonged boiling encourages browning or Maillard reactions between lactose and milk proteins, and generates molecules that combine to give the flavor of butterscotch.The Development of Off-Flavors The flavor of good fresh milk can deteriorate in several different ways.
Simple contact with oxygen or exposure to strong light will cause the oxidation of phospholipids in the globule membrane and a chain of reactions that slowly generate stale cardboard, metallic, fishy, paint-like aromas.
If milk is kept long enough to sour, it also typically develops fruity, vinegary, malty, and more unpleasant notes.Exposure to sunlight or fluorescent lights also generates a distinctive cabbage-like, burnt odor, which appears to result from a reaction between the vitamin riboflavin and the sulfur-containing amino acid methionine.
Milk has bubbled up to new prominence atop the coffee craze of the 1980s and '90s.MilksMilk has become the most standardized of our basic foods. Once upon a time, people lucky enough to live near a farm could taste the pasture and the seasons in milk fresh from the cow. City life, mass production, and stricter notions of hygiene have now put that experience out of reach.
Today nearly all of our milk comes from cows of one breed, the black-and-white Holstein, kept in sheds and fed year-round on a uniform diet.
Large dairies pool the milk of hundreds, even thousands of cows, then pasteurize it to eliminate microbes and homogenize it to prevent the fat from separating.
The result is processed milk of no particular animal or farm or season, and therefore of no particular character. Some small dairies persist in milking other breeds, allowing their herds out to pasture, pasteurizing mildly, and not homogenizing. Their milk can have a more distinctive flavor, a rare reminder of what milk used to taste like.Raw Milk Careful milking of healthy cows yields sound raw milk, which has its own fresh taste and physical behavior.
But if it's contaminated by a diseased cow or careless handling -- the udder hangs right next to the tail -- this nutritious fluid soon teems with potentially dangerous microbes. The importance of strict hygiene in the dairy has been understood at least since the Middle Ages, but life far from the farms made contamination and even adulteration all too common in cities of the 18th and 19th centuries, where many children were killed by tuberculosis, undulant fever, and simple food poisoning contracted from tainted milk. In the 1820s, long before anyone knew about microbes, some books on domestic economy advocated boiling all milk before use.
They must be certified by the state and inspected frequently, and the milk carries a warning label. Raw milk is also rare in Europe.Pasteurization and UHT Treatments In the 1860s, the French chemist Louis Pasteur studied the spoilage of wine and beer and developed a moderate heat treatment that preserved them while minimizing changes in their flavor. Collecting and pooling milk from many different farms increases the risk that a given batch will be contaminated; and the plumbing and machinery required for the various stages of processing afford many more opportunities for contamination. Pasteurization extends the shelf life of milk by killing pathogenic and spoilage microbes and by inactivating milk enzymes, especially the fat splitters, whose slow but steady activity can make it unpalatable. The batch process has a relatively mild effect on flavor, while the HTST method is hot enough to denature around 10% of the whey proteins and generate the strongly aromatic gas hydrogen sulfide (p. The treatment called homogenization was developed in France around 1900 to prevent creaming and keep the milk fat evenly -- homogeneously -- dispersed. It involves pumping hot milk at high pressure through very small nozzles, where the turbulence tears the fat globules apart into smaller ones; their average diameter falls from 4 micrometers to about 1. The sudden increase in globule numbers causes a proportional increase in their surface area, which the original globule membranes are insufficient to cover. The naked fat surface attracts casein particles, which stick and create an artificial coat (nearly a third of the milk's casein ends up on the globules). The casein particles both weigh the fat globules down and interfere with their usual clumping: and so the fat remains evenly dispersed in the milk. Milk is always pasteurized just before or simultaneously with homogenization to prevent its enzymes from attacking the momentarily unprotected fat globules and producing rancid flavors.Homogenization affects milk's flavor and appearance. Though it makes milk taste blander -- probably because flavor molecules get stuck to the new fat-globule surfaces -- it also makes it more resistant to developing most off-flavors. Today, low-fat milks are made more efficiently by centrifuging off some of the globules before homogenization.
Low-fat milks have a thin body and appearance and are usually filled out with dried milk proteins, which can lend them a slightly stale flavor. More helpful to milk lovers who can't digest lactose is milk treated with the purified digestive enzyme lactase, which breaks lactose down into simple, absorbable sugars.Storage Milk is a highly perishable food.
Even Grade A pasteurized milk contains millions of bacteria in every glassful, and will spoil quickly unless refrigerated. Freezing is a bad idea because it disrupts milk fat globules and protein particles, which clump and separate when thawed.Concentrated Milks A number of cultures have traditionally cooked milk down for long keeping and ease of transport. According to business legend, the American Gail Borden reinvented evaporated milk around 1853 after a rough transatlantic crossing that sickened the ship's cows. The idea of sterilizing unsweetened milk in the can came in 1884 from John Meyenberg, whose Swiss company merged with Nestle around the turn of the century.

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