Math Used in Cooking

Math is in every kitchen, on every recipe card, and at each holiday gathering. The mathematics of cooking often goes unnoticed, but in reality, there is a large quantity of math skills involved in cooking and baking.

For example:Math in Cooking

  • A recipe calls for 6 medium eggs, you only have a dozen jumbo or small eggs - what is the weight difference in egg sizes so you can figure out how may to use?
  • You have no flour to thicken your gravy, how much cornstarch will it take to thicken the same amount of gravy?
  • Your recipe calls for 1 cup of an ingredient, but you can only find your 1/4 measuring cup. What should you do? (Measure out 1/4 cup of the ingredient four times)
  • Why does low temperature, long cooking time produce more tender meat than high temperature cooking? It's a function of the proportions of 2 different types of fat, and the conflicting temperatures each becomes soft and edible, rather than hard and inedible.
  • How much aluminum or copper will leach out of cooking utensils, and how long will it take under differing temperatures, and how much is safe for human consumption, over what length of time?
  • What is the 'smoke' temperature of butter, and how will mixing oils effect this?
  • How much oil (of differing types) do I need to add to raise the 'smoke' point enough so I can stir fry with butter at high temperature (butter has a low smoke point)?
  • Why does low temperature, long cooking time produce more tender meat than high temperature cooking? It's a function of the proportions of 2 different types of fat, and the conflicting temperatures each becomes soft and edible, rather than hard and inedible.
  • What minimum percentage of fat is needed to have a hamburger that has good taste.

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