Science & Food at UCLA
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At UCLA, students learn the science of apple pie

Teaching assistant Andy Trang provides measurements and weights to help students in the UCLA Science & Food class formulate pies for a “scientific bake-off.”  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

A student consults a recipe for her apple pie.

 (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Steven Hilz mixes some sticky dough for his team’s pie.  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Ying Lu Peng makes pie dough in a food processor. Her team tested how adding different amounts of rum to pie crust affected its flakiness. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Ying Lu Peng, left, and Carmen Peng check the pH level of rum in their pie crust.  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Science & Food class students work on their pies for the bake-off competition.  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
One challenge Amy Rowat’s students faced: shortages of baking tins and appliances. In the foreground, one baker crafts a pan out of aluminum foil. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Carter Varnum retrieves his mother’s apple pie recipe from his email.

 (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Peanut butter mousse was a key ingredient in the winning pie in the “scientific bake-off.”  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Caleb Turner looks at the bubbles in peanut butter mousse through a microscope. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
An image of egg white bubbles in peanut butter mousse as they appeared through a microscope is captured on a student’s iPhone.  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
A student prepares her pie in UCLA’s Hedrick Hall dining services kitchen for the bake-off competition. (Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times)
UCLA student Stephen Phan, left, helps prepare his team’s apple pie for the competition.  (Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times)
A finished apple sphere, an experiment in diffusion and gelation, awaits tasting. (Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times)
As the pie-tasting event begins, the students’ scientific efforts are displayed on posters near their pies. (Christina House / For The Times)
This student poster, displayed at UCLA, shows how a pie’s shape might affect browning. (Eryn Brown / Los Angeles Times)
Individual pie portions await tasting.  (Christina House / For The Times)
UCLA teaching assistant Andy Trang tastes a student’s entry in the pie competition.  (Christina House / For The Times)
Restaurateurs Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, left, and Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry judge students’ pies in the bake-off.  (Christina House / For The Times)
Huckleberry’s Zoe Nathan, left, and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi compare notes on student pies.  (Christina House / For The Times)
By the end of the event, four student teams emerged victorious. (Christina House / For The Times)