Food - Drink
How Does The Maillard Reaction Actually Work?
The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction that takes place when heat is applied to protein through grilling, frying, or roasting. You'll know what it is, even if you might not know its name, as it’s responsible for putting the sear on a steak and making coffee smell and taste the way it does.
The Maillard reaction is named after a French scientist Louis-Camille Maillard, who, in 1912, discovered that raw ingredients changed color and emitted carbon dioxide when they cooked. However, we now know that a change in color isn't as important as the change in flavor when the Maillard reaction takes place.
High temperature is key to triggering the Maillard reaction, as it kicks in on average around 300 F, though it doesn't manifest in the same manner across different ingredients. A steak being grilled undergoes the Maillard reaction, as does bread baking in an oven, and the Maillard reaction in coffee creates the tastes and smells you associate with the drink.