Maillard Reaction

Cooking is more complicated than you think...

C6H12O6 + C11H12N2O2 → H2O + C17H22N2O7

"Most widely practiced chemistry reaction in the world." - Jean-Marie Lehn

If you have ever cooked steak or bread then you have already experienced the Maillard reaction!

Louis-Camille Maillard

In 1912, he was the first man to try and explain what the process of food browning is.

But in 1953, a man named John E. Hodge really established it.

Occurs in all kinds of foods and each one produces its own unique smell!

It always happens but is sped up with increased heat

Heat rearranges amino acids and sugars: reflect light to make the brown color.

Hundreds of various molecules are produced.


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Palca, Joe. "100 Years Ago, Maillard Taught Us Why Our Food Tastes Better Cooked." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. <>.