Baking bridges the gap between art and science

Baking merges the creativity of art with the precision of science. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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Many would argue that the natural sciences and the fine arts are on completely different sides of the spectrum and require totally different approaches. The study of extinct animals seems to be as far from oil painting as one could get. At first glance, science and food are also completely different: one a practical activity conducted by some of the greatest minds in the world, and another a form of self-expression undertaken by some of the most creative people in the world. 

However, when you take a closer look at each — science and food, that is — it becomes evident that they work hand in hand, fueling one another in a continuous cycle. A prime example of this: baking.

Daydream Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches is “a woman owned and family run company that believes in the power of people and their dreams.” Based in Atlanta, Ga., and founded by Kathy Carpenter in 2021, Daydream combines its made-from-scratch brownies, ice cream and mix-ins to create a treat worthy of a love letter. Not only are Daydream sandwiches a delicious combination of chocolate and ice cream, but they are also an interesting combination of science and the arts.

While culinary arts would seem to rely more heavily on the side of arts and self-expression, it is truly also a form of science. Every gram and teaspoon plays a part in the final creation, and being just slightly off can ruin your treat. Baking powder and baking soda are obvious essentials when making any baked goods, but using even slightly too little can result in a dense final product. Too much sugar or too little salt can ruin the taste, and once you put your creation in the oven, it’s too late to go back and fix any chemical reaction mistakes you make in the mixing phase. 

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Every ingredient one uses in baking has a specific role to play and causes a specific reaction. Baking powder and soda help the mixture to rise, while flour provides structure and eggs bind everything together. 

The ingredient ratios are also important: Keeping everything proportional allows for each ingredient to do its job properly. When baking, it is important to use exact measurements rather than ‘eyeballing’ amounts. If a typical recipe calls for four tablespoons of salt, four tablespoons is what should be added.

At the same time, baking is part of the culinary arts. Like any other form of cooking or food art, it expresses an individual’s soul in the final product. Coming up with new recipes and flavors requires creativity and passion in addition to a basic understanding of chemistry.

For example, take one of Daydream’s new fall flavors: the Boozy Bourbon Maple Bacon (BBMB). This dessert consists of simple syrup, bourbon, maple syrup and cooked chopped bacon bits mixed into a simple vanilla ice cream base sandwiched between two thick brownies. The idea to combine these different ingredients into one truly shows the mind of a creative and a scientist. Bourbon complements chocolate, bringing out the best flavors of the brownie, while maple and bacon are a staple pairing. With the vanilla base to balance it all out, the BBMB understands how to use a wealth of different flavors without being overwhelming. 

The idea to put these ingredients together shows an understanding of how different flavors complement each other and how different ingredients can have an effect on the final product. Baking with bourbon specifically shows an understanding of how to make an otherwise heavy baked good lighter and richer. 

Creating such a product as the BBMB is itself a bridge between science and art. Knowledge of how different flavors can complement and impact one another allows one to explore creative ways to put together new creations. Baking is food science, and the culinary arts are bridges between the natural sciences and fine arts. Simply put, excelling in both fields allows one to create foods worthy of mounds of praise. 

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