Maillard reaction

The Maillard reaction (pronounced 'may-ard') is a reaction between amino acids - the building blocks of protein - and certain types of sugars called reducing sugars. The Maillard reaction is one of the chemical processes that cause bread to turn brown during baking; it is also very important in creating flavour in bread.

The Maillard reaction is distinct from pyrolysis, which also causes browning in bread. Pyrolysis occurs in all food when it is cooked in a dry atmosphere, but the Maillard reaction only occurs in foods that contain reducing sugars.

Want to find out more? Look at the chapter on baking in the book flour and water.

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