The Science of Paella

Raül Balam Ruscalleda (Moments)
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Public Lecture 06 (2012)
Key Lesson: Diffusion. The rate of many culinary processes, such as cooking and brining, is limited by diffusion, in which the distance travelled is proportional to the square root of time.
Timing is one of the essential aspects of good cooking, and the approximate times needed for different culinary techniques can be estimated based on the diffusion constant of water. Raül Balam Ruscalleda explains the role of time and temperature, among many other variables, in creating the perfect paella.




Overview of the Science

Equation of the Week

How fast does heat flow into food?
Making perfect caramelized onions takes several hours

Below is a series of photos of onions at different stages of browning:

You can find out more about browning reactions in Week XX

Beyond the Lecture

The mathematics of sous vide cooking

Applied mathematician and sous vide expert Douglas Baldwin gives a nice introduction into the mathematics of sous vide in his book.