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Browning Reaction. Thermal changes that occur in the crust (q.v.) of bread products during baking and result in both color and flavor development. Heat-induced chemical interactions between the amino acids (q.v.) of protein and free reducing sugars (q.v.) lead to the formation of melanoidins (q.v.) that represent major flavor and aromatic compounds of the bread crust. Also known as the Maillard reaction, after its original investigator.