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Video: Science explains why pizza tastes so darn good

Turns out, there’s a scientific reason behind the universal obsession with pizza. And we mean everything from thin crust to deep dish to stuffed crust.

In a new video seen above, the American Chemical Society explains the wonders of pizza. Regardless of your toppings, if you’ve got bread, an acidic sauce and cheese, the group claims you’re in for a magical experience.

It all starts with the dough. The yeast, a single-celled fungus, mixes with warm water in the dough and activates complex sugars. That process releases carbon dioxide, causing the dough to rise.

When it comes to the sauce, tomato sauce is king for its natural acidity. Top it with mozzarella, a super-moist, soft cheese that gets extra stringy when heated. When the cheese meets the heat, the fat in the cheese turns from solid to liquid. Mozzarella stays stringy because calcium ions in the cheese help hold the proteins together.

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But the real magic happens when you put the entire pizza in the oven. When the temperature of the pie approaches 300 degrees, something called the Maillard reaction occurs.

“It’s what causes the browning of the dough and toppings, as well as the release of some delicious compounds,” explains the video. “It’s the holy grail of culinary chemical reactions.”

Sugars react with amino acids to create flavor compounds that give food its distinct “cooked flavor.” It’s what happens when the crust, cheese and toppings all brown.

The video also points out that pizza’s structure keeps the dough underneath the sauce, cheese and toppings moist, creating a favorable mix of textures.

We basically re-learned something we’ve known since our first bite of pizza: Pizza is good, and the more pizza, the better.

I order anchovies on my pizza. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_


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