Transglutaminase (TG) is a naturally occurring enzyme in plants, animals, and bacteria. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts in chemical reactions; they speed up reactions and make reactions occur that otherwise wouldn’t. Although TG is a newcomer to the kitchen, cooks have used enzymes for thousands of years. Enzymes in papaya, for instance, are traditionally used as meat tenderizers. The enzyme rennet is used to curdle milk when making cheese. Enzymes that break down starches into sugar are used to brew beer. Naturally occurring enzymes in meat tenderize dry-aged steaks and give cured meats their distinctive flavors. Enzymes are the reason fresh pineapples hurt your mouth. They also keep gelatin from setting. TG is safe. It will not harm you or glue your hands together. TG is deactivated by most cooking techniques and imparts no off-flavors to foods. (There is some debate about off-flavors. Read the next section, Long, Long Story.) TG is delivered as a powder and, like all powders, should not be inhaled. TG should not be consumed directly in large quantities, but consuming active TG in the levels recommended for food usage is harmless. TG is classified by the FDA as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe) when used properly. Although some studies have shown that stomach enzymes have difficulty breaking down proteins after they have been bonded by TG, other studies have shown that these bonded proteins are absorbed and broken down in the body into normal products as though they had never been bonded. http://www.cookingissues.com/primers/transglutaminase-aka-meat-glue/#section2 * molecular gastronomy does not aim solely at attaining pure knowledge of this sort. * it seeks also to give practical knowledge a sound basis by explaining why successful recipes work and why mistakes occur. * understands the reasons for the results he or she obtains in the kitchen can improve on them * Salt is important because it increases...
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