Cooking with chemistry: jellifying

Today’s bake is another one of those ‘things I thought you couldn’t make yourself’: jaffa cakes. These biscuit-sized cakes have caused much heartache on Bake Off as you have to get not only the base (the dreaded Genoise sponge, which doesn’t use raising agents but instead relies on suspended air in the batter) but also the…

Cooking with chemistry: upraising

I’ve always wondered which raising agents makes the best chocolate chip cookies. So here’s me, with some flour, sugar, eggs, butter and lots of different raising agents. I adapted this recipe for classic chocolate chip cookies, doubling the amounts given in the recipe and then splitting the overall amount into six different batches. NaHCO3 Sodium hydrogen carbonate (baking soda, bicarbonate…

Cooking with chemistry: basic stuff

Let’s start off #RealTimeChem cook-off weekend with some basic stuff (excuse this so not funny pun): making pretzels – the lye pastry that is ubiquitous in Germany. I don’t know who first came up with the idea to dunk shaped dough into a boiling alkaline solution before baking it, but kudos to them. Here’s a quick run-down…

Cooking with chemistry: α-crocin

Saffron is expensive, but given that the yellow strings are plucked from individual flowers, each of which only three of these strings, it kind of makes sense. What gives saffron its subtle taste and brilliant colour is α-crocin, a carotenoid that makes up around 10% of the spice’s mass. It is often replaced with tartrazine…

Coffee Monday

It is the 31st of October, the scariest day of all. It is also Monday, the scariest day of every week….. It is still dark when you get out of bed. You shuffle into living room, where a small night light gives off an eerie glow. You drag yourself into the kitchen, your brain yearning…

Baking the periodic table

I came, I baked, I arranged – 118 biscuits, 38 cocoa, 80 plain butter ones. Two hours of baking, one hour of writing, half an hour trying to fix my camera phone in a position so I can film myself building the table (fixing a shovel to the top of the kitchen cupboards and then fixing my phone…

Formation of spreadable condiment

General procedure for the formation of a spreadable tomato and apple-based condiment A towel-dried 5 l reaction vessel equipped with a manual overhead stirrer was charged with 350 g (12.3 oz, 1.02 mol) unrefined sucrose and heated to 150°C until it turns into a slurry. Then, the following reagents were added: acetic acid (5 wt%…

We’re all made of chemicals

When I was walking through what should remain an unnamed large shopping centre in East London the other day, I was approached by a lovely lady selling lotions and cosmetics. She asked me if I wanted to try out their new hand lotion. She didn’t need to ask twice: long lab hours wearing different types…

It’s in your blood

I presented this paper here (thanks, @luismartinMQ!) in my group’s last literature meeting. Apart from being a nice paper that also made me learn about exciton-coupled circular dichroism (that’s a story for another day), I realised how bad I am at drawing porphyrins. So what better choice for this weeks’ chemdoodle than to challenge Grumpy Cat a…

Always look on the fluorescent side of life

This week’s chemdoodle is on the colourful side, and not just literally. Last weekend I spent for a change in Amsterdam instead of the lab. No, and I didn’t just use my time there to engage in biochemical test on myself but also went to the Van Gogh museum. Big recommendation from my side, even…

Structure madness & NMRs from hell

  I know I cheated a little bit, but there was no way I was going to equal this gem. And for all the structure aficionados, here’s the proper structure: When @LouisRedux mentioned I should try my luck and draw mytotoxin for my next #chemdoodle it was meant as a joke; but a quick glance…

Axial chirality is cool

I like axial chirality and I like phosphines. And since I’ve been occupied the last couple of weeks taking tiny amounts of ridiculously expensive substituted BINOL derivatives and trying to convert them into the corresponding phosphines (BINAP), it’s my choice for my first chemdoodle. With a dihedral angle of about 90° and the limited rotation…