Chemistry of food preparation

This chemical reaction makes any morning toast tastier!

Did you know that the for­ma­tion of bread crusts has been stud­ied for over 100 years?

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.


  • toast­er;
  • fry­ing pan;
  • bread;
  • veg­etable oil;
  • pota­toes.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

If you toast a slice of bread for a minute, it turns out gold­en and crisp. When you peel some pota­toes and fry them in a greased fry­ing pan, they also turn a beau­ti­ful gold­en-brown af­ter a while. Why?

Process de­scrip­tion

All foods con­tain pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates. When heat­ed, these com­pounds par­tial­ly de­com­pose to amino acids and sug­ars. Amino acid mol­e­cules con­tain spe­cial frag­ments (amino groups), as do sug­ars (alde­hyde groups). Due to these frag­ments, amino acids and sug­ars re­act in what is known as the Mail­lard re­ac­tion to form hun­dreds of new com­pounds, which are re­spon­si­ble for the crisp­ness and pleas­ant aro­ma of cooked food. This re­ac­tion has been stud­ied for more than a hun­dred years, but the ex­act com­po­si­tions of all the prod­ucts of this re­ac­tion have not yet been es­tab­lished.

Cool and safe ex­per­i­ments await you in the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!