The secret behind the humble soup stock
This chapter discusses umami as the secret behind the humble soup stock. By far the majority of foodstuffs, when in their raw form, have little umami. Drawing out the fifth taste from them, therefore, becomes a question of breaking down their constituent parts, especially converting proteins into small peptides and free amino acids. Nucleic acids have little direct impact on nutrition, but they unquestionably have influence when it comes to taste and to interacting with glutamate to impart synergistic umami. This is especially true with the humble soup stock, a basic tool in virtually all cuisines. This chapter examines the chemical underpinnings of soup science using some well-known stocks as examples. It also considers osmazome and the physiology of taste, amino acids in soup stocks, the taste of a beef stock, and ready-made umami. Finally, it takes a look at two umami pioneers in Europe: Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr and Julius Maggi.
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