Chemistry and thermodynamics…

This is not a cookbook, though it involves cooking. Actually; you may find it useful in creating your own recipes and brews. It’s what I know about food and beverage in the kitchen and on the table basically. It is a work in process and may evolve into a statement on aspects of agriculture and energy and even the transportation sector.

Louis Pasteur

Some aspects of the writing to follow is intended to exemplify the biotic nature of food. The thermodynamics of life pertain.

Pathogenic Food Biology:

It is generally said that food safety is based upon keeping food either too cold, or too hot, over time, for micro-populations of microorganisms to propagate. It is therefore important to remember “The Temperature Danger Zone” of between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit.

Basic Thermometer Calibration

Assuring food is near or below the 32°F freezing point of water, or above the 140°F temperature where microorganisms tend to die (similarly to yeast*), is essential to maintaining low fecundity and growth rates in those microorganisms, because at room and body temperatures, certain microorganisms can grow at exponential rates. It’s unavoidable that food needs to be kept in “the temperature danger zone” (between 40° to 140°) for brief quantities of time for the purposes of preparation, service and consumption. Yet, those dangerous temperature timespans should be kept to a minimum. And, though biotic life is everywhere, and even healthy for us to have inside our alimentary tracts in small quantities, exponential growth of these microorganism populations can cause severe illnesses in individuals and families and even epidemiological concerns across large geospatially defined regions in extreme cases. In fact, humanity has been concerned with food safety for several millennia at least; so if you’ve ever considered the Pentateuch as a geospatial story of people and places, then you’d probably agree that Moses was the first dietitian epidemiologist.


Yeast Metabolism Relative to the Production of Food and Drink:


Bread, Pita, and Biscotti.


Flour and Water (2:1) + yeast activated in some water and sugar at between 100°F and 145°F. Leaven 1hr ~130°. Bake 30min at 350°F.

(2:1) ingredients: 2 parts white, wheat, dark rye, quinoa flour and/or cornmeal; and 1 part water. Approximately 2 tbsp. ea. of yeast and a glucosic sugar, honey, nectar or syrup, though I now postulate options including excessive yeast with plentiful glucose to metabolize. Seeds, grains, herbs, nuts and berries can be added. Lipids are said to inhibit leavening. Yet, milk/skim milk and egg/egg whites should be considered in deducing recipes and their tolerance of lipid content.


1) Activate yeast and sugar mixture in some water on stove top at between 100° and 110°F until mixture froths to twice it’s initial volume, making sure the yeast mixture temperature remains significantly below 140°F, whereupon yeast dies. Ideal stovetop glucose/yeast activation between 100° and 110°F allows for some thermal variability and comparably if oven temperature can be maintained between 110° and 130°; then a certain optimal activated yeast environment can be maintained in a temporal continuum until baking over 300° produces a toasted top simultaneous to a steak knife test being batter free. Further, application of moisture, and perhaps additional seeds, herbs, salt, etcetera, as well as scoring, during the final stages of baking, are variables.

2) Mix activated yeast mixture with the 2:1 flour and water quantities, until desired consistency of dough is achieved. 3) Add seeds, grains, herbs, nuts, berries. 4) Place dough mixture to an approximate 2/3 depth of an oiled pan, or upon an oiled oven safe cooking surface for Boule, French rolls, Biscuits, Etcetera. 5) Allow significant time near or within the optimal 100° to 140° yeast activation thermal parameters for leavening, prior to baking, and consider in oven leavening beneath the aforementioned 140° temperature where the yeast will die and cease to metabolize the glucosic ingredients into CO2 and Ethanol. Initial low temperature oven warming may help leavening and/or over dry the bread by the time the baking process at approximately 350° is complete. 6) Traditional pan short loaves can later be sliced and baked a second time at 200° for biscotti while considering additional toppings.

Soda Bread: (~2:1) 2 parts white, wheat, dark rye, or quinoa flour, and/or cornmeal, and 1 part buttermilk. One tsp. baking soda as reactant in buttermilk (in place of yeast activation and leavening decreases requisite time). Irish soda bread includes raisins and caraway seeds. Fruits, nuts, herbs, seeds and berries can be components of soda breads and soda muffins.

Unleavened Foods from Flours:

Pasta and Tortilla: (2:1 flour and water) And, egg is utilized more readily in the absence of yeast or baking soda leavening agents. Pasta is rolled, cut, and dried or pressed into a ravioli press, Etcetera. Tortilla, also ~2:1 with egg, utilizes a tortilla press prior to frying on a comal. Seasonings in pastas and tortilla differ from ingredients in breads and muffins. A mortar and pestle may be found utile.

Brewing and Alcohol:

Active yeast metabolizes glucose into carbon dioxide and ethanol at temperatures approximately between 100° and 140° in aqueous solution when in an anaerobic environment.

Fermentation Jug and Rooting Asparagus.

1) Yeast metabolizes (2)Glucose molecules into (2)CO2 and (2)Ethyl alcohol molecules, by proportion, when in the anaerobic environment of interior dough or a sealed fermentation jug or barrel that has a vapor lock valve aspect. Note that ethanol boils at 180°F, and that water boils at 220°F. Also recall that CO2 is the leavening agent in breads though the ethanol produced evaporates during baking after the desired CO2 is excreted by the yeast organism during leavening. And, CO2 is released from most alcoholic beverages, with the exception beer and champagne. Comparatively, distillation is the process of isolating ethanol (or any substance) by boiling the previously fermented or chemically changed mash/solution at a temperature beneath that of it’s solvent. That means that if ethanol is boiling at 200° and water has yet to reach it’s boiling point of 220°; then the ethanol in the water escapes as gaseous alcohol steam which can be trapped by a still, which then cools and condenses the ethanol concentrate from the mash. Fundamentally an imprecise process, concentrations of mash aspects additional to the ethanol isolates within the fluid and thermodynamic transfer of liquids thereby add flavor based upon not only recipes, but also upon procedures and the characteristics of particular stills. Finally, distillation can not be reversed. There is, in fact, an exemplary case of a French attempt to transport red wine by sail. Distillation yielded cognacs which could not be reconstituted via the replacement of water as had been planned.

Jesús Morado (Concord and Tequila)

Beer: fermentation creates the alcohol in beer from glucose, yet the CO2 remains part of the beverage.

Wine: in all wines other than champagne, CO2 is allowed to escape.

Liquor: the basic premise of distillation is that water boils at 220°F while ethyl alcohol boils at a lower temperature of 180°F.




350° for 20 minutes per pound is a great general rule for all larger baked cuts of meat. Combined with periodic use of a probe thermometer and also of an oven thermometer with wire or Bluetooth probe, and, also perhaps of a simple oven internal temperature thermometer; achieving an excellent roast is more exact than ever.

Steaks: The premises chef, to whom I am a sous chef, has added both oven and probe thermometers to all of our viande repertoire. This, in addition to thermodynamic concerns pertaining to baking and brewing. Instruments, thermometers, yes, yet the art remains; as I so often am learning. Further and beyond this premise of proper and monitored preparation is this: the USDA not grades meat products on scales from non food product, to nonhuman food product, to the gradients of Choice and upwards into levels of Prime; hedonistic survey data is compiled into a market specific grid distribution system where knowledgeable populations of meat consumers are supplied with the industry known higher grade meats. Thus, the actual marketplace knowledge and demand of quality generates the industry supply of said quality.

Burgers: Similarly to other levitical meat products and the twofold interest in actualizing a combined effort to achieve the perfect preparation of the perfect product; ground meat is an issue of thermodynamics, perfect timing, and the touch applied to the highest quality grade. Those who know to seek the best burger tend to find it to be possible when highest quality is in highly skilled hands.

More Beef:

Experimental Meatballs: optimally a half of a dozen soufflé dishes and a baking sheet would be among nice possessions for a chef du viande. The intent here is to create assessment possibilities in an experimentation with meatballs, meatloaf, or even raviolis.

Suggested are approximate parts du viande at 2 beef, 1 pork, 1 veal. It is also possible to use a quantity of poultry in the mixture. Add breadcrumbs to a desired consistency with one or two eggs. Mix together all ratio proportions of base meat mixture as a first step in making each soufflé palette, and/or, mix select variabilities of the 2:1:1 ratio quantities of the ground meat (balls) mixture with the other ingredients. Those ingredients should be added to the meats as chosen mixtures of ingredients for a postulated outcome. Add the ingredients, including several of yet not limited to any quantity or combination of garlic, basil, oregano, black olive, anchovy, choice cheeses, peppers, sundried tomato, mushroom, truffle, onion, chive, and capers, etcetera. Form for container an appropriately sized meatball (balls) or meatloaf; in each soufflé or pan. Then prepare and place one specific, unique meatball in each of the half dozen or so individual, oiled or buttered soufflé dishes. Bake the half dozen separate recipe soufflés together at 350°. Use an instant probe thermometer. Fork test when near done. By perfecting favorite meatball recipes; choose/make pastas, sauces, accompanying cheeses and breads. Also, try various precooked noodles with the same experimental meat mixtures ingredients in soufflé dishes.


Rye Battered Chicken Parmigiana


A baked ham is usually precooked and thus not cooked through yet rather only warmed for serving, and, therefore, cooks differently than than by using the usual 350° for 20 minutes per pound rule combined with a thermometer probe and/or oven thermometer. Therefore, prepare the surface of the ham by inserting cloves and using toothpicks to affix pineapple slices and cherries. Think of a honey glaze or honey baste. Bake precooked hams in order to achieve serving temperature while maintaining moisture.

Game and Fowl:

Hunting and fishing are discussions for a different page within STRIGIFORM SCIENTIFIC. For this “food” page I will cite the Brooklyn butcher “D’artagnan” and their frozen and fresh game and fowl. This is because although also levitical, game is legal for tender in public establishments when farm raised, and sporting is typically for personal consumption or trophy sport.

A notable digression into wildlife biology genetics here: top down population culls tend to remove not only trophies, but also trophy genetics. When beta and gamma males supersede alpha evolutionary trends by trophy culling; then the gene pool is compromised unnaturally in a way similar to the punt style over harvesting of the USA’s post bellum period during the gilded age. After all, having dominion over all of the fish of the sea and animals of the earth does not denote destructive dominion as being the essential premise of the godly vantage of earth.

Fruits and Vegetables:

ideation here is nearing a recipe for fermentation of fruits into a wine, mash or sangria with a possible acceleration of yeast metabolism in the fermentation jugs via warming trays. Remember that yeast activates at around 110° and dies above about 140° so temperatures must be maintained similarly during brewing and leavening. Vegetables are essential ingredients with multiplicitous potentials. Two favorites are: well steamed kale and sautéed Brussel sprouts with cranberries and sliced almonds.

Grains and Legumes:

I personally have an affinity for short grain brown rice, frijoles negres, navy beans, lentils and combinations therein. Obviously, vegetables become important additional ingredients.

Honey, Herbs, Spices, Salts and Funguses:

Honey is the only notable culinary entomological derivative. Herbs are numerous and better fresh. Spices are older than the Orient, the Spanish Armada and North Africa. Salts are geological and often medicinal chemical compounds or elements like Lithium. Funguses can be terribly dangerous, like zombie fungus and Deoxynivolinol, and yet culinary species like shiitake and various truffles can be highly prized for their wonderful flavors; making them often highly valuable.


Breakfast soufflé: eggs with cheese and peppers. Baked makes a difference compared to microwaved.

Boston Baked Beans

“The Bean”

Beans need to be soaked all day or overnight prior to cooking. And, like all types of flours, many types of leguminous dry bulk can be found online these days.


After soaking the Navy, Pinto and or Frijoles Negres; ingredients including some or all yet not limited to molasses, pork fat, bacon, brown sugar, chopped onion, garlic, jalapeño, mustard, mustard seed or powder, celery and celery salt, can all be added to the soaked beans in a multi pot, then sealed and set for “beans”. My general rule for soaked legumes, rice and bread is approximately 2/1 substance to liquid. The “rice” setting in a multi pot also works well for rice, with addition of capers possible after cooking, or, all types of frozen vegetables thawing well after depressurization and added for the “warm” setting… yet rice and beans should be cooked separately.

Slow cooked pork and vegetable stew. Note: occasionally, a Dutch oven inside your convection oven can maintain a lower temperature than the stovetop; just like a countertop oven can often maintain even lower temperatures that are optimal for leavening. Recall that yeast is activated in the presence of glucose at between 110°F and 140°F, and that the “temperature danger zone” premise pertaining to food safety stipulates not allowing most perishable foodstuffs to be between 40° and 140° for over four hours. It can therefore be postulated here that a warming plate might aid in fermentation of liquids and doughs; though time at temperature is always a concern for cooking and also for safety.