Soft condensed matter perspective on moisture transport in cooking meat

Authors

  • R. G. M. van der Sman

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    1. Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
    • Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

We have viewed cooking meat from the perspective of soft condensed physics and posed that the moisture transport during cooking can be described by Flory-Rehner theory of swelling/shrinking polymer gels. This theory contains the essential physics to describe the transport of liquid moisture due to the denaturation and shrinkage of the heated protein matrix. The validity of our hypothesis is shown by a numerical model, which comprises a linearization of the Flory-Rehner theory augmented with Darcy's law for porous media flow, applied to the simulation of cooking experiments performed on a rectangular piece of beef. Reasonably, comparable results are obtained from simulations and experiments. Further analysis of simulations resolves yet another unexplained phenomena observed during heating of meat. Literature review suggests that Flory-Rehner is applicable to cooking of other gel-like foods. © 2007 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2007

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