You will be experimenting on one of the following.. Breads or Doughs or Sugar or Chocolate
I have attached the main question..
Why is your idea relevant or interesting? Why should we care?
What did you do? What did you test and how did you test it. Why is this a good set up for your experiment?
What did your data show?
How does science explain (or not explain) what you saw in your data
Goals and questions of the experiment: My Goal in this experiment is to see how using regular baking (all-purpose) flour and coconut flour affect the baking and result in chocolate chip cookies. I wish to answer the following questions: will the coconut flour need an additive to keep the dough together since there is no gluten in the almond flour? Will the coconut flour cookies result in harder or softer cookies? Will the coconut flour cookies bake at the same time as the original recipe?
Hypothesis: I think that the coconut flour cookies will not hold together the same way that the original flour will. I think that they will have a harder texture and consistency than the all-purpose flour cookies.
Method of research: To perform this experiment I will use the same recipe (Nestle Tollhouse with my mom’s tweek, ½ butter, ½ butter flavored Crisco) for both types of cookies. I will bake both at 350 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes each batch. I will roll two cookies with each dough and bake them together for the 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I will observe the cookies every 5 minutes while baking and note the changes or lack of change. I will let the cookies completely cool before testing the texture and consistency. I will have two testers, me and my fiancé, and we will each break apart a sample of each cookie to test the texture and consistency, and then we will each taste a sample of each cookie. Between each cookie we will take a drink of milk between each test. We will only be testing each sample once.
Results: My hypothesis was correct that the coconut flour would behave differently than all-purpose flour, however they weren’t harder in texture, not like I thought they would be. They were a bit crisper on the outside, however the middle remained soft. The flour acted the same up until I added the eggs and vanilla, then I noticed how much crumblier and dry it was. I didn’t stick together even when I ditched my spoon and worked it with my hands. It also didn’t spread like the all-purpose flour cookies, instead they remained in ball form and baked that way.
Review: Overall I really enjoyed this lab, I loved making one of my familiar recipes with a new twist. It was fun to try something new and see just how much a difference changing one ingredient can make. I highly recommend the cookies to anyone, the coconut flour is very tasty and although they were crumblier than the original recipe, they were fun to pack together and flatten. My fiancé and I both enjoyed this a lot and will be experimenting more in the future. I also had fun playing with the coconut flour dough, it felt like kinetic sand. It’s something I will do with my future kids for a fun sensory (and yummy) activity.
BCBT 100: Science of Cooking
Individual Experimental Labs
Overview of project:
The second half of the class consists of three units covering the chemistry of specific types of foods. You will need to
design and carry out a lab experiment for each to explore questions you have about the science behind the foods
covered in each unit. Example experiment ideas pertinent to each unit are provided in the D2L content for the unit. Each
lab will need to adhere to the scientific method (see: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/sciencefair/steps-of-the-scientific-method ) following good techniques for a food-based science experiment. Each lab will need
to be written up and submitted according to the guidelines below.
Each experiment must be designed scientifically, involve making measurements, and be hypothesis driven. You will need
to ask a specific question about the foods you are interested in and come up with a testable hypothesis that gets at the
science behind the food. A good way to do this is to make note of questions you had or things you found interesting as
you read through the units. For example, you may question what the effect of aging is on cheese, and your hypothesis is
that an aged cheddar cheese will be more crumbly, harder, denser, and have a more pungent flavor than cheddar
cheese curds that have not been aged. Or perhaps you wonder how the process of making cheese changes how the
cheese melts, so you hypothesize that cheddar cheese will take longer to melt than mozzarella or brie cheeses. Maybe
you wonder how acids and bases influence cooking vegetables, and hypothesize that boiling vegetables in water with
baking soda will result in them being greener than cooking them in acidic water.
There are many things you can measure to gain evidence that either supports or disproves your hypothesis. You can
make a ranking sheet of particular tastes/textures/characteristics and do a blind test (like in Unit 2). You can measure a
variety of physical properties using your scale, thermometer, measuring cup or other household gadgets (ruler, cell
phone timer, etc) to monitor things like mass, volume, density, time, temperature, stretch, or spread (like in Unit 3). You
could even measure water content by weighing something before and after a drying (or wetting) process, such as baking
a cake or cooking beans or lentils, to see how much mass was lost as it dried out or gained as it absorbed water.
You will write up your experiment according the instructions below. In addition to handing in your reports through the
Unit 4-6 Lab Report Submission assignment folders in D2L, you will share your experiment report and images with the
rest of the class through the D2L Unit 4-6 ‘Experimental Lab Presentation’ discussion boards. A combination of your
report and comments on other experiments will be what is graded for the lab based on the rubric below. Your
experiment must be appropriately documented with at least one selfie of you taking measurements and appropriate
documentation of the data collection!
***IMPORTANT NOTE*** While you may be used to seeing market or social science research (i.e. 3 out of 4 people
like this brand of ice cream best, or most people prefer the taste of muffins made with sugar vs artificial sweetener),
that is not appropriate for a natural science study. Natural science research is designed to be as objective as possible,
and asks questions about the physical and chemical properties of the food itself, not how people respond to it. Social
science research on food preferences is very interesting, but is based on specific types of statistics and study design
not covered in this course and LASC 3 rubric, and so cannot be used for this assignment.
Instructions for Each Lab Report:
Your report should consist of each of the following headings with text, images, and/or data tables that address the
content required for each section.
1. Introduction and Hypothesis (5pts):
This section is to introduce the basics of your experiment with a focus on why you are doing it, what you expect
to see as you carry out the experiment, and your rationale for why you think you will obtain those results.
Your hypothesis section must address the following:
• Describe the overall question you are answering in this experiment.
• What is your hypothesis?
• What is your justification for your hypothesis?
Specifically, you will need to let us know what question you are hoping to answer in doing your experiment. A
good question will be based on trying to understand the food characteristics described in this unit itself, and will
tell you something about the science of the foods being explored.
Your best guess of the answer to this question is known as the hypothesis of your experiment. A hypothesis is a
statement of what you think will happen in an experiment. It should be specific and testable. This is your
educated guess of what you think the experiment or activity will produce or show. For example, your hypothesis
might state what the difference will be between two types of cheese based on your readings, or how you expect
your homemade yogurt to taste/feel/look like. Remember that this is scientific, so should be focused on
measurable things that you can test in the experiment, NOT PREFERNCES. The words ‘best’, ‘favorite’, or
‘prefer’ should not appear in your hypothesis (or anywhere else in your experiment). These are opinions based
on the expectations and experience of yourself and anyone else involved, and will likely drastically differ if
someone else does the experiment. Instead, stick to more objective outcomes that may influence why you find
something to be ‘the best’. For example, a hypothesis like “I think sweet cream butter will taste better than
margarine” is an opinion, and not repeatable or scientific so will receive minimal points. Something like “I think
sweat cream butter will be more solid and less spreadable than margarine” or “I think sweet cream butter will
melt faster than margarine” are more scientific and testable.
Finally, a hypothesis is an educated guess, not a random idea, so you also need to include a short justification for
why you think your experimental question/hypothesis is reasonable. Examples of this could be something you
read or came across in the materials for the class, that all recipes you have seen said to do this, that it is an old
family trick, or observations you have made in the past. That said, it is 100% fine (and actually expected) if your
data do not support your hypothesis! You don’t have to be right, just thoughtful.
2. Experimental design and methods (10pts):
Design your experiment and write a paragraph or two detailing specifically what you tested or carried out and
why you chose your specific measurements to test your hypothesis. Your methods section must address the
• What was your independent variable? Your dependent variable(s)?
• What steps did you take to reduce ‘confounding’ factors? In other words, how did you ensure that the
independent variable is responsible for any differences or results you saw in the experiment, rather than
• Describe how you are objectively measuring your dependent variables in a way that would enable
someone else to repeat the experiment and get the same results.
• Write out your step-by-step experimental process, explaining the reason for each key
Specifically identify your variables, or what you changed/your categories (independent variable) and what was
being measured (dependent variables) over the course of the experiment. In designing your experiment, you will
need to isolate and change only one aspect of the experiment so that if you notice differences or changes you
can determine what caused them. For example, if you changed the brand of vanilla ice cream and determined it
melted at a different rate, you need to have designed your experiment so that you know this was due to the ice
cream brand and not the amount you scooped or the initial temperature of the ice cream. If you are comparing
the flavor of nuts based on bitterness, greasiness, and texture, you need to have designed your experiment so
that the tasters aren’t biasing their results based on their preconceived preference or knowledge of the price of
Your experiment also needs to be repeatable so that someone else could do your experiment and get the same
results as you did. This means you have to be careful about what and how you measure. If you are comparing
things like taste or texture, you should make an objective scale based on observable characteristics (NOT
PREFERENCES) and observe and rank everything on the same scale. If measuring physical properties (time,
temp, etc), you should include details on exactly what and how you were evaluating/measuring and the
procedure you used for collecting the data. Additionally, you will want to include details of what you did like
brand names, amounts, main/differing ingredients, and types of equipment or tools used.
3. Results (10pts):
The goal of this section is to thoroughly document your experiment. Show us what you observed/measured/etc
in order to test your hypothesis and answer your experimental question. All of the data you collected for your
experiment should be presented here. Data tables must be used to organize your data and observations. A table
of rankings or measurements or observations is expected. Organizing your results into a graph may be useful.
You may need to do some calculations to determine the average of your measurements.
You are sharing your experiment with others, so make sure to use pictures as an aid to sharing your results! You
will need to include at least one selfie of you carrying out the lab, a picture of your set-up, and at least one
during your experiment or of the results. If you do not include pictures (including at least one selfie) you will
automatically lose credit for the assignment. Remember, it is your responsibility to make it obvious via your
pictures that you have completed the lab and have earned the lab credit for this class.
4. Analysis and Discussion (6 pts):
• Summarize your results and tell us what you think they mean. What conclusions can we draw from your
• Discuss in a paragraph or two how what you saw relates to what you have learned in class and explain
the science behind what you observed (or didn’t observe) in your results, citing your sources and page
numbers in the book. Suggest a scientific reason why your results may or may not have supported your
initial predictions. Explain why there were differences between your samples or what scientific
principles were responsible for the observations you made as you completed the activity. Make sure to
focus on the molecular aspects of the food and how that relates to the cooking/taste/texture/etc
changes you observed in your experiment.
• Finally, discuss what you could do in the future to add to your results and gain additional information.
This must be something new you could do, not how you would re-do the experiment to be better next
5. Comment on two other student’s posts (4pts):
A huge aspect of scientific research is peer-review, or having other scientists view and analyze your experiments.
You will need act as a peer reviewer by commenting on at least two posts of other students per lab. Your
comments should have substance and show your understanding of the course material to receive full points.
Please keep all comments respectful and constructive in nature, even if you are pointing out a flaw or something
the experimenter didn’t consider. Disrespectful or degrading comments will be removed and will receive no
points. Please be part of the discussion by responding to posts on your own experiment as well!
Examples of substantive contributions may include (but are not limited to):
• You could compare the poster’s experiment (methods and results) to your own and suggest reasons for
• You could suggest further experiments or tests that could be done and discuss what additional insights
they might provide.
• You could add thoughtful commentary or additional insights to the poster’s methods or analysis that
may help them in future experiments.
**Reminder: If you do not include a picture of your set up with a name card and knife in the frame you will
automatically lose credit for the assignment.**
Introduction and hypothesis (5pts)
Goal or purpose of the experiment is clear and articulate.
Hypothesis is scientific and testable.
Scientific rationale is appropriate and thoughtful.
Goal or purpose of the experiment is reasonably stated.
Hypothesis is scientific and testable.
Rationale may be vague or not articulated.
Experimental goal and/or hypothesis are vague or not scientific in nature.
Experimental question/hypothesis is based on determining the “best” or does not
address the topic of the unit.
Experimental design and methods (10 pts)
Experiment is logically designed and a great deal of effort was taken to control
variables. Logical independent and dependent variables are identified.
Appropriate methods for answering hypothesis or question were used and the rationale
for why those measurements were chosen is clear.
Experiment is documented well enough that another student in the class could repeat it
given the information provided.
Details on methods for measurement/ranking/etc are clear
Experiment is reasonably designed and some effort was made to minimize variables.
Method choices are acceptable and related to hypothesis/experimental question, some
limited rational is provided
It is clear from the given information what was tested and how, though enough data to
faithfully replicate may not be provided.
Experiment includes too many variables to produce interpretable results.
Experiment is poorly designed and does not appropriately assess hypothesis
Method is unclear and could not be replicated from the information provided
Results (10 pts)
Results are detailed and well documented.
Sufficient observations, pictures, and/or data points are included to appropriately
Data is displayed in a clear and concise manner, such as a data table.
Data is displayed and presented in a way that makes trends and results clear.
Data takes variability/error of results into account if appropriate.
Results are sufficient to be able to interpret, but may be lacking in quantity or quality.
Data is included and displayed in a reasonable manner.
Data may not be displayed in a way that makes trends and error/variability clear.
Results are limited, incomplete and/or are not of sufficient quantity or quality to be able
to obtain information.
Analysis and Discussion (6 pts)
Thorough, well-researched and articulate science-based explanations are suggested for
the results of the experiment.
Sources are used and cited to explain results in the context of course materials.
Discussion shows evidence of mastery of course content.
Thoughtful future directions extending from the current experiment are proposed.
Scientifically reasonable explanations are suggested for some of the results.
Discussion shows evidence of some understanding of course content.
Some aspects of the discussion may be superficial or do not address scientific principles
related to the experiment.
Discussion is superficial or shows limited use or understanding of course content to
Comment on two other student’s lab reports (4pts)
Score (per post) Criteria
Post is substantive and contributes to continuation of a scientific dialog
Post is thoughtful but may be somewhat superficial or does not show evidence of
engagement with the scientific principles of the experiment.
Post does not contribute to discussion in any substantive way (i.e. “I like what you
did” or “cool”) or no post was submitted.
Example Experimental Ideas for Unit 6: Breads, Doughs, Sugar, and Chocolate (or you can come
up with your own!)
1. Compare the gluten content of at least two to three different flours by mixing/kneading with water and then
washing away the starch to leave only the gluten networks.
• One flour should be a standard wheat gluten based flour (all purpose or bread flour)
• The other flour(s) can be of any variety
• See further instructions at: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/activity-gluten.html
• See pages 521-531
2. Choose your favorite flour-based cookie, cake, muffin, or bread recipe. Make it the normal way, and then make
it a second time changing one ingredient in the recipe.
• Example of possible changes: use a different type of flour (i.e. swap for bread or cake flour), leave out or
triple the baking powder/soda, swap baking powder for baking soda, eliminate the eggs, change the
type of fat, eliminate or significantly increase the fat
• See pages 554-559
3. Measure and compare the chemical and physical properties of three types of breads
• As breads are very diverse, try to keep your types of bread to a theme (and brand) to minimize
variables. Make sure to check ingredient lists for differences.
▪ Choose three breads made from different leavening agents (white sandwich vs sourdough vs
biscuits vs unleavened flat bread)
▪ Choose three breads made from different baking techniques (French bread vs baguette vs
sandwich bread vs flatbread vs bagel vs steamed bread)
▪ Choose three breads made with different grains added (White vs whole wheat vs rye vs potato).
▪ Choose three flatbreads (pg 548)
• See pages 534-549
4. Measure and compare the chemical and physical properties of several types of chocolate
• See pages 703-705
5. Compare the properties of several types of sweeteners (honey vs tree syrup vs molasses vs corn syrup vs
• See pages 663-670, 677-680
6. Compare the properties of multiple types of sugars (cane sugar vs beet sugar vs powdered sugar vs ultra-fine
sugar vs brown sugar)
• See pages 670-675
7. Heat a simple sugar syrup (up from room temperature to ~300°F or the ‘hard crack’ stage to explore the sugar
• You can either use pure maple syrup or mix together 2 cups white sugar, 2/3 cup corn syrup and 1 cup
• For more instructions see https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/maple-syrup-science-cooking-upsome-candy/
• Use the cold-water test (pg 681) and a candy thermometer (optional) to follow the heating process
o For descriptions and video of the stages in the cold water test see:
• NOTE: Please use common sense and do not attempt if you are at all uncomfortable with the process.
Sugar syrup will get very hot and can easily cause burns if you are not careful. Use appropriate safety
gear (hot pads, sturdy pot of an appropriate size, etc)
• See pages 680-686
8. Compare different methods/temperatures/techniques of tempering chocolate
• See pages 709-712
9. Compare methods for either preventing seizing or ‘rescuing’ seized chocolate
• See pages 706-707
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