The Science Behind Sweet Treats


One may think that using feelings and conventional methods of just measuring spoons may do the tricks into making the sweet treats, but there is much more to it than what meets the eyes. When it comes to making delicious desserts, one can safely say that one may have to indulge in a scientific experiment.

From using countless baking supplies such as beaters, measuring cups, cooking thermometers to endless yet common baking ingredients, baking is indeed a scientific experiment. Today let’s focus on the holistic approach to the desserts which complete a meal.

So without any further ado, do jump right in.

A Deeper Understanding Between the connection of Baking and the Scientific Approach:

What is food if not the celebration of texture, taste, and smell? That is why each type of dish has a specific method that needs to be followed to bring forth its maximum taste. Hence, adding the ingredients in the wrong ratio may alter the taste of the delicious meal and affect the texture as well.

Therefore, it can be helpful to understand what function the different ingredients portray in baking the sweet treats. By knowing the functions of essential ingredients such as flour, leavening agents, and how it affects the product, one can get a clear idea of what goes on in the oven. Moreover, by understanding the anatomy of the ingredients and the purpose it serves, one can find the right substitute without an issue.

The Science Behind The Usage Of Flour:

A vast majority of desserts include flour in its various forms. It is “The” ingredient” that gives form and even structure to the baked goods. The flour also provides texture and nutritional content to the goods as the substance to cake, loaf, and bread.

Generally, wheat contains two types of proteins. They are called gliadin and glutenin. So, when they are mixed with water, they form a protein called gluten. Gluten can form into long strands. Moreover, they can even form into a ledge matrix or web.

This structural composition traps the escaping carbon dioxide gas generated by the leavening agents. At this time, the gluten web helps the bread or any other treats rise and eventually be set in place.

The amount of protein that the flour contains and how much one uses it impact the final texture of the delicious dessert. Some of the types of flour having different characteristics are,

  • Wheat flour
  • Self-rising flour
  • AP flour
  • Alternative flour
  • Pastry flour

The Science behind the Usage of Sugar:

Apart from lending its flavor to sweet treats, sugar has a scientific role in creating desserts. First, keep in mind that sugar comes in a variety of forms. Each form lends the recipe a complex flavor profile. Sugar has a different role, from granulated sugar to castor sugar, caramel to molasses, and even brown sugar itself.

In yeasted products, including bread, sugar works as food for the yeast to kick start the fermentation procedure. Hence, it helps the base to rise. Next, the yeasts generally eat the sugar and convert the base to generate carbon dioxide. The CO2 then aerates the dough or batter, which is the base here.

However, in cakes and pastries, the sugar tends to limit gluten development. So, it increases the tenderness of the cake. This characteristic of the sugar allows the cookies to spread evenly while being baked in the oven. That is why in the spreadsheet tray, the cookies are placed on parchment paper while maintaining distance.

The Science behind the Usage of Salt:

Salt is always added, even in a pinch, to condense the flavor profile of sweet things. But why? Because simply put, it brings out the best of the other ingredients. However, scientifically, salt tends to strengthen the gluten network in the dough. As a result, it allows the dough to trap CO2 and give excess volume to the loaf.

The Science behind the Usage of Fats:

Fats in baking may include both animal fats, like butter, lard, or maybe plant-based oils. It may include chemically altered fats as well, depending on the recipe. Fats tend to hinder the gluten development process by producing tender crumbs. That is why many use it to make crust, pastries, and doughs.


Each ingredient that goes into making the sweet treats has a role to play in the recipe. From providing its characteristics to give structure and lends taste and texture to the meal, no meal can be balanced without the right proportion.

Comments are closed.