Food Research for 2014/15

Leon van Riesen-Haupt and I are working on an MSci Project with Prof. Peter Török and Dr. Carl Paterson on the physics of cooking and will be sharing our progress through this blog for the rest of the academic year.

There are many interesting research topics when it comes to the physics of cooking and is demonstrated well by the breadth of the research already conducted by previous MSci students. Echoing previous research, the initial aim of our work was to define experimentally and/or theoretically what constitutes the perfect French fry. Now many a chef will tell you that it has to be a perfect balance of a crispy, glassy exterior with a fluffy, light interior, but what is the underlying physics from which this sensory perception emerges? It turns out to be more complex than you might at first think.

Thinking more about this problem, we looked into existing literature pertaining to the quantification of crispness in food products and found research for crusted foods with high-moisture cores (French fries, bread, breaded foods etc.) to be particularly inconclusive. Therefore we began to appreciate ‘The Perfect French Fry’ problem in the context of a wider sparsity in existing research, namely the quantification of crispness across all food types. Our motivations have henceforth developed into quantifying crispness in crusted food products with have high-moisture cores, the hope being that it will contribute to the wider endeavour of correlating instrumental measurement with sensory perception of food texture.


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