Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

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Theta
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Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Theta » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:56 am UTC

Hi All.

So this morning, while crunching up a cookie into crumbs, I wondered whether it would be possible to reverse the baking of cookie.
Basically, have the cookie become once again cookie dough. The possibility of melting it came up, but isn't it true that more heat would likely burn the cookie rather than melt it?
I then thought of eggs.
Eggs are similar. We boil and fry eggs. So is it possible to revert a fried or boiled egg into a raw egg?
And if so, under what conditions?
I've found that it's possible that because the protein structure is damaged, it cannot be reverted, but if it was possible to repair that damage, would it be possible to return an egg into a raw state?
There seems to be a missing ingredient in the regression.
Any aid on the mystery of this topic would be well appreciated.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby BlackSails » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:12 am UTC

[imath]\mathcal{S}\geq0[/imath]

Yes, its possible, no its not bloody likely. Entropy always increases.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Theta » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:39 am UTC

So it is possible.
Under what conditions?

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Soralin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:09 am UTC

Theta wrote:So it is possible.
Under what conditions?

Well you could feed your cooked egg to a chicken and have it use the raw materials to make a new egg. :)

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby BlackSails » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:12 am UTC

Theta wrote:So it is possible.
Under what conditions?


On the 7th day of the 7th month, when the moon is full you need to sacrifice a young chicken in a circle made of 13 black candles and chant forbidden verses from the forbidden book.

Or you can wait around for something on the order of forever.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Tass » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:59 am UTC

I think you are not giving very useful answers in this thread.

The point with eggs are that all the proteins are denatured. In the raw egg there are a lot of proteins - long chained molecules - that are folded into a more or less globular state. When it is cooked they unfold and stick together, making the egg solid. This is damn hard to reverse, there is no macroscopic process that will return the order. One would have to, on a microscopic scale, take it apart and reassemble it correctly at a cost of energy. As we don't make artificial eggs in the first place, the easiest way would be, as all ready stated, to feed it to a hen. Of course you would need more than one cooked egg to make a raw.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Cobramaster » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:06 am UTC

Yeah until we have nano technology on the Hollywood level feeding 2 of them to a chicken is the only way to make a raw egg again.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Mr. Mack » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:18 pm UTC

As a general rule, I'd say that you can't uncook something due to the number of different chemical reactions occurring simultaneously.

For instance, let's say that the cookie was made with a simple, single action, aluminum-free baking powder. For the sake of simplicity, let's say its just baking soda and cream of tartar. Once you add liquid to the batter, you'll get potassium sodium tartrate(aq), carbon dioxide, and water.

If you were to do this reaction in DI water, and you wanted to reverse it; first, you'd have to capture all of the escaping CO2, and force it into the solution. Then, you would need to figure out how many moles of potassium sodium tartrate were formed, and dissolve that amount in the solution. This should force the equilibrium to the left and give you back your original baking powder, albeit in solution. Next, you'd have to remove all of the water, but not by evaporating it because the heat would decompose the sodium bicarbonate. I'm not sure whether or not a drying compound would react with the ions in the water. I guess it all depends on which drying compound is used.
Once done with that, you'd have your baking powder back, but it'd have an equal amount of potassium sodium tartrate mixed in with it and I have no idea how you would separate them.

Of course, that's just a hypothetical. In real life baking powder contains cornstarch, which would absorb the water created by the original reaction. And with cookies, you don't have a pure solution, you have cookies. If you tried to separate out the baking powder products by crushing the cookie and mixing it with water, then you'd have the problem of all of the other cookie ingredients that are soluble, like sucrose and salt.

That's just for one ingredient. There's also the way the formation of gluten, the evaporation of vanilla extract, and the thermal decomposition of certain nutrients.
Uncooking is a fun thought experiment, but I don't think it'd be possible for the vast majority of foodstuffs.

BlackSails wrote:Entropy always increases.
When you consider how hot an oven gets to bake cookies, just imagine how much energy you'd need to un-bake them!
I'm going to say, "A lot more than not baking."
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

A simpler thought experiment is "unbreaking a ming vase".

You have a ming vase on the edge of a table. It falls off, shattering on the ground.

Imagine if all of the parts of the ming vase exactly reversed their direction. They would have enough energy to fly together, recrystallise the broken parts, then bounce up onto the table, then give your hand a push away from where it was.

These steps require ridiculously accurate motion at the molecular (and sub-molecular) level so that the energy needed to reform the bond arrives just as the molecules get close, and they are shoved together by it, etc.

...

Cookie unbaking makes the above look simple.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Minerva » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:06 pm UTC

Perhaps this is best answered in song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch#v=5bueZoYh ... re=related
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Chen » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:23 pm UTC

I think some people are confusing spontaneous unbaking to forced unbaking. Spontaneously, yes you have the second law to contend with so it is fairly unlikely. In terms of forced unbaking, you'd need to be able to manipulate things at the molecular (or smaller) level to get things back to their original conditions. Presumably it would be possible with sufficiently advanced nano-technology, though somewhat pointless.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Coffee » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:00 pm UTC

*Looks left then right, then grabs and eats the cookie.*

Not unbaking that one!
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby frezik » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

Take a look at Molecular Gastronomy, which is basically chemistry applied to cooking.

It is, in fact, possible to unboil an egg, and you don't need nanotech to do it. This can be done in a lab with sodium borohydride, but that's pretty nasty and expensive stuff for home use ($200 for 500g). At home, your best bet is to try vitamin C, but you need to get some very pure stuff. The vitamin C in supplement tablets from drug stores usually have a buffer agent that make them easier on your stomach, but it'll prevent it from working on the egg.

You may also be interested to know that heating something isn't the only way to cook (denature) proteins. You can do it with acids, too.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Coffee » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

mmmmmm... Ceviche
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby BlackSails » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Sodium borohydride is not going to unboil an egg. It might make it liquid again, but its not going to be the same as an egg that was not boiled.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Technical Ben » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:
Theta wrote:So it is possible.
Under what conditions?

Well you could feed your cooked egg to a chicken and have it use the raw materials to make a new egg. :)


You beat me to it.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby edgey » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:41 am UTC

Yakk wrote:A simpler thought experiment is "unbreaking a ming vase".
You have a ming vase on the edge of a table. It falls off, shattering on the ground.
Imagine if all of the parts of the ming vase exactly reversed their direction. They would have enough energy to fly together, recrystallise the broken parts, then bounce up onto the table, then give your hand a push away from where it was.


My intuition tells me this is false - isn't the impact with the floor not reversible?
The glass would have to somehow recover the energy it lost in the impact with the ground and not lose yet more on the "second" impact.
Wouldn't the individual molecules making up the ground also have to have their velocities reversed to give the necessary "kick"? And gravity from the Earth, and I'm sure a lot more.
Sorry if this comes off as criticising you, I'm genuinely curious at the amount of problems with "reversing" time in this way.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Cobramaster » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:09 am UTC

That was the point he is trying to make reversing the cooking process is the same type of phenomena and just as unlikely to happen.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:34 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:Yes, its possible, no its not bloody likely. Entropy always increases.
You realize a raw egg, being liquid, would have significantly higher entropy than a hardboiled egg?
Mr. Mack wrote:a simple, single action, aluminum-free baking powder.
Crikey, people cook purposefully with aluminum compounds? Isn't that seriously unhealthy?

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Tass » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:53 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Yes, its possible, no its not bloody likely. Entropy always increases.
You realize a raw egg, being liquid, would have significantly higher entropy than a hardboiled egg?


Thats not how thermodynamics work.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:02 am UTC

Tass wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Yes, its possible, no its not bloody likely. Entropy always increases.
You realize a raw egg, being liquid, would have significantly higher entropy than a hardboiled egg?
Thats not how thermodynamics work.
My point precisely.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Tass » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:37 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Tass wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Yes, its possible, no its not bloody likely. Entropy always increases.
You realize a raw egg, being liquid, would have significantly higher entropy than a hardboiled egg?
Thats not how thermodynamics work.
My point precisely.


How was that you point? You can't just say "because it's liquid it has higher entropy".

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Jorpho » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:18 pm UTC

Tass wrote:How was that you point? You can't just say "because it's liquid it has higher entropy".
I thought you were implying something else.

Okay, so why can't you just say "because it's liquid it has higher entropy" ? It's generally a pretty safe bet, is it not?

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Xanthir » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

If it was simply a matter of Substance A being in liquid form vs solid form, then sure, it's a safe bet. Eggs, however, go from Substance A (liquid) to Substance B (solid) when cooked. This makes that rule of thumb no longer applicable. Either substance could be higher in entropy.

The fact that a cooked egg is substantially higher entropy can be observed by the fact that you go from raw to cooked simply by applying heat. That's like a shot of raw entropy.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Cobramaster » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

Actually Xanthir the cooked egg has a lower entropy the reason you have to add so much heat is because the partially cooked stages have much higher entropy because you are re-folding the proteins with brute force.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Tass » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:24 pm UTC

We go from proteins folded in a very specific manner to unfolded coagulated messy proteins. Crystalline structures generally have very low entropy because of their order. Cooked eggs are not crystalline.

In determining whether something will happen spontaneously we should really consider the entropy of the surroundings as well, that is use the Gibbs free energy. It depends on temperature (because of deltaS=Q/T) and as we know there is systems that undergo transformations on heating which are reversible on cooling. At low temperatures the entropy of surroundings dominate, that is exothermic processes are favored. At high temperature the entropy of the system it self dominates.

This means that we cannot heat something to force it to a low entropy state. We heat things either to overcome the activation energy and reach the already favorable state, or to make the high entropy state more favorable. I would say that eggs to a degree are actually the latter case, meaning it should in theory be somewhat reversible, it just gets kinetically trapped. At high temperatures the unfolded high entropy solid state are favored, at low energy the native state of the proteins might be stable, but the temperature is to low to allow refolding.

So the uncooking is sort of prohibited by a catch 22.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby sikyon » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:24 pm UTC

It depends on what is going on with the egg.

If the protiens are reacting with each other and becomming larger protiens, then the entropy is decreasing (more -> less)
If the protiens are just unfolding and mixing together without reaction, then entropy is increasing (unmixed -> mixed)

HOWEVER,

If the protiens are unfolding, mixing together and sticking (reacting) with each other... you will have to determine the result experimentally. Does the entropy of mixing overcome the loss of entropy/increase of enegery from the favorable reactions between mixed proteins? Unknown.

Note that you cannot evaluate using Gibbs, as the entire system would be the heat source + egg, and you cannot say without experiment what is happeneing to your heat source in terms of entropy/energy.

Conclusion:

Count the calories of the entire system near the cooking point. i believe that we have machines to do this... little ovens that count the energy of the system.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Tass » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:16 am UTC

sikyon wrote:Count the calories of the entire system near the cooking point. i believe that we have machines to do this... little ovens that count the energy of the system.


Naturally. They are called calorimeters, and can indeed be made extremely accurate. I have one right here in the lab. Denaturation of proteins are generally quite endothermic.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Waylah » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:28 am UTC

Hey dudes! Physics and philosophy are probably not as helpful as chemistry in this one. So let's actually answer the question! Let's uncook a cookie. So what reactions happen when you mbake the cookie? What about this one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction
We find out what's happening chemically, then we see how reversible those reactions are. (if a chef, with the right equipment, could do it.)
We should get the recipe for the dough. And find a Molecular gastronomist.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Jorpho » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

I was thinking of the Mallard reaction, but there's a heck of a lot more than that going on in the typical cooking process.

Did you know that apparently the exact chemistry of caramelization remains a mystery?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramelization

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby BlackSails » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:54 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Did you know that apparently the exact chemistry of caramelization remains a mystery?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramelization


I wouldnt say the exact chemistry remains a mystery. Im pretty sure that every reaction that occurs is well-characterized. Its just that you are putting a TON of compounds into the mixture, so there is going to be a vast number of possible reactions to sort through.

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby sikyon » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:57 pm UTC

Tass wrote:
sikyon wrote:Count the calories of the entire system near the cooking point. i believe that we have machines to do this... little ovens that count the energy of the system.


Naturally. They are called calorimeters, and can indeed be made extremely accurate. I have one right here in the lab. Denaturation of proteins are generally quite endothermic.


Well in that case, since the protiens are denatured in the egg, we would say that the entropy has increased!

In order to uncook the egg then, we would need both high pressure to overcome an entropy deficit and some heat to overcome an energy of activation. I would suggset a pressure cooker in an argon environment - but realistically, you're only likely to recover a fraction of the egg in any 1 attempt and it will be a delicate procedure between getting these protiens to unmix and refold vs bonding with each other. You might even have to do it at very low temperatures and high pressure to get a noticible reversal of the system... it's all about speed vs yeild.

A better process might be if you could get some sort of enzyme or bacterium that could digest the denatured protiens and spit out refolded one. Like a chicken, eating the omlette, to make more eggs. Howver, such a system is infinitly more complex!

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby bio_nerd08 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:30 am UTC

Cooking is a chemical change. When you cook something you change the fundamental nature of the substance. For example, in cookie dough the components are still separate, although it would be difficult to separate the components, you could still do so. After baking, the heat causes a chemical reaction. After baking, you have "cookie" not, "flour, eggs, sugar, etc."

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

bio_nerd08 wrote:Cooking is a chemical change. When you cook something you change the fundamental nature of the substance. For example, in cookie dough the components are still separate, although it would be difficult to separate the components, you could still do so. After baking, the heat causes a chemical reaction. After baking, you have "cookie" not, "flour, eggs, sugar, etc."


To elaborate on this, the molecules in cookie dough have bonds that were the most favorable when the ingredients were separate, but have become less favorable when they are mixed, though it's still a local energy-minima so there's no instant spontaneous cookiefication. If you excite the molecules through heat, they can re-arrange to form more favorable bonds. This process happens even without heat, but at a much slower rate, and the change from microbes and germs is generally dominant (which is why cookie dough goes bad instead of turning into cookies if you let it sit around).
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby burkleypatterson » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

My intuition tells me this is false - isn't the impact with the floor not reversible?
The glass would have to somehow recover the energy it lost in the impact with the ground and not lose yet more on the "second" impact.

You may be interested in listening to this TED lecture: http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_o ... _time.html
It does a pretty good job of explaining entropy

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Mavrisa » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:43 am UTC

edgey wrote:Wouldn't the individual molecules making up the ground also have to have their velocities reversed to give the necessary "kick"? And gravity from the Earth, and I'm sure a lot more.

I had a post on this at some point, although my example was with a ball that didn't break, but came to rest. Basically, all of the energy dissipated into the air and walls from the sound, all of the vibrations that travelled through the floor, lost in the vase as heat when force was applied to it would have to all come together in the form of tiny molecular motions and interactions at exactly the right moments to bounce the individual pieces in the right directions. I suppose the reason I wanted to post though, was that gravity would not have to "reverse". The vase would then fly up into the ceiling and you'd still be left with a broken vase. Forces act in the same way backwards as forwards through time. A ball hitting my hand will cause an acceleration on the ball in the same direction as if I had hit the ball in that direction. A ball bouncing off the ground will still be accelerated downwards by gravity until it comes to rest on a table.
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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby Jorpho » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:43 am UTC

News of the day is that scientists are now able to unboil an egg. Of course, the implications are actually much more interesting than that.
http://www.livescience.com/49610-scient ... l-egg.html
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 7/abstract

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Re: Regression of Cooked State into an Uncooked State

Postby meat.paste » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:46 pm UTC

A little more information on the unboiling of an egg (TL;DR - add a urea-like compound to liquify the initial protein state, then use liquid shear to encourage the proteins to refold into their original form)
Huh? What?


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