Food Science Terms - B

B vitamins: water soluble vitamins which help the body release energy from food. There are many B vitamins, all of which are required in a healthy diet

Bacteria: Large group of single-celled microorganisms which can be both harmful and helpful to food. They contain a cell wall but no organelles

Bacteriocin: Small, naturally occurring protein produced by one species of bacterium that effectively protects it from competing organisms. Different bacteria produce different bacteriocins. 

Bacteriophage: Bacterial virus; a virus capable of infecting bacteria. 

Baking chocolate: Cooled, hardened chocolate liquor. It is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes, or as a garnish. 

Balance: The relation of malt to hops in a beer. Ideally they are balanced. 

Balling hydrometer scale: A hydrometer scale calibrated so that readings at a specified temperature (usually 20°C) equal the percentage by weight of sugar in the solution. It is numerically equivalent to the Brix scale, but is chiefly used by brewers, whereas the Brix scale is used by sugar refineries and vintners. Devised by C J N Balling. 

Base: Substance with a pH above 7.0. Substances with a base pH include soap (pH 10.0) and ammonia (pH 11.2). When combined with an acid, will form a salt. Accepts hydrogen ions from an acid

Base kitchen: Kitchen in which foods are prepared, served at that location, and transported to other locations or satellites for service. Also known as a regional kitchen. 

Batch treatment: Treatment of a static mass of food in bulk or packaged. 

Beta-carotene: Orange-colored plant pigment that can be converted into vitamin A in the human body. Beta-carotene is found in deep-yellow and leafy dark-green vegetables. 

Beta-glucan: Soluble fiber in oats which provides the health benefit of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing circulating blood cholesterol. 

Beta-oxidation breakdown of fatty acids to generate acetyl coenzyme A during a metabolic process

Bi-metallic thermometer: Food thermometer used to measure product temperatures. Uses a spring mechanism to determine temperature. 

Biofilm: protective layer that microbes gradually create in order to survive a hostile environment

Biological hazard: Danger posed to food safety by the contamination of food with pathogenic microorganisms or naturally occurring toxins. 

Biological indicator system: System (bacteria or enzyme) used to determine whether a process cycle has met the specified requirements. 

Biopolymer: polymers (eg cellulose, protein, DNA) produced by living organisms (eg plants, animals).

Biotechnology: Use of living organisms or parts of living organisms, through controlled manipulation of biological systems, to create new products. 

Biotin: One of the B vitamins. 

Bitter Chocolate: Chocolate liquid which has been cooled and shaped into blocks. Best when used in baking or cooking. 

Bitter: Flavor characteristic of food or beverages. 

Bittering hops: Varieties of hops that are used to infuse a bitter taste in beer. 

Bitterness: strong flavor, generally lacking in sweetness and usually quite sharp eg in coffee and citrus fruit

Bitterns: The highly saline liquor which remains after most of the salt has crystallized from brine. 

Bittersweet chocolate: Dark chocolate containing a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. Bittersweet and semi-sweet both fall under this definition; however, bittersweet is a common term for chocolate with a minimum of 50% chocolate liquor. 

Blancher: Lidded pot designed with a fitted perforated basket to hold food in boiling water, or with a fitted rack to steam foods. Useful for loosening skins on fruits to be peeled, or for heating foods to be hot packed. 

Blanching: Process where foods, such as vegetables, are immersed in boiling water or heating in steam at 95°C for 1-5 minutes to reduce enzyme activity. They are then plunged into cold water to stop the cooking process

Blast chiller: Refrigeration unit that chills foods from 60° to 3°C in 90-120 minutes or less. 

Bleaching: Treatment to reduce natural pigments (carotenoids, chlorophylls and xanthophylls) and other impurities such as cations of iron, copper and zinc. 

Bleaching agents: Used to artificially whiten flour. 

Bloom: Cocoa butter, the fat component of chocolate, is polymorphic; meaning it can solidify into different crystalline forms at different temperatures. It is also monotropic, which means that over time, all crystals will transform to the higher melting point crystals, or b crystals. Chocolate therefore needs to be tempered to gain an adequate proportion of stable b crystals in the liquid chocolate before it is used in coating or moulding. If the chocolate is not tempered, cooled and stored correctly, b' (beta prime) crystals may form, later transforming to large b crystals, appearing on the surface of the chocolate as a white hazy substance, or bloom. 

Body: Richness and the amount of mouth feel a drinker experiences from a beverage. 

Boiling point elevation: One of the colligative properties. The boiling point of a solution is increased over that of water by the presence of solutes, and the extent of the increase is a function of both concentration and molecular weight. 

Boiling-water canner: Large standard-sized lidded kettle with jar rack, designed for heat-processing 7 quarts or 8 to 9 pints in boiling water. 

Botulism: rare but potentially fatal illness resulting from toxins produced by bacterial spores (Clostridium Botulinum ) that cause Acute food poisoning. Humans consume the toxin produced in moist, low-acid food, containing less than 2% oxygen and stored between 40 degrees and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper heat processing destroys this bacterium in canned food. Freezer temperatures inhibit its growth in frozen food. Low moisture controls its growth in dried food. High oxygen controls its growth in fresh foods. Food-borne botulism can be caused by eating improperly processed canned foods

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE): Also known as "mad cow disease." It is a rare, chronic degenerative disease affecting the brain and central nervous system of cattle. Cattle with BSE lose coordination, develop abnormal posture and experience changes in behavior. Clinical symptoms take 4-5 years to develop, followed by death in a period of several weeks to months unless the affected animal is destroyed sooner. 

Breakdown: General term for describing the onset or progress of undesirable chemical or physical changes in a fat or oil. Thus, breakdown of frying fats may include darkening, formation of excess free fatty acids or peroxides, polymerization and gumming and undesirable foaming. 

Bremasstrahlung: One of the three possible ways to generate X-rays, and the one commonly used to create X-rays for food irradiation. Literally translated from the German it means "braking" (brems) "radiation" (strahlung). Bremsstrahlung X-rays are generated when electrons accelerate on coulomb collision with other particles or when a beam of particles decelerates on encountering an obstacle. Synchrotron radiation or Compton scattering can also generate X-rays. 

Brew kettle: Large cooking container, usually between 3-6 gallons, used in boiling the wort. 

Brew kit: Brewing package that comes complete with all necessary ingredients to make beer. 

Brewing: producing beer by soaking starch in water, then fermenting the sweet liquid with yeast, producing ethanol and carbon dioxide bubbles

Brine: The liquid which contains high concentrations of salt from which product salt is crystallised. 

Brix hydrometer scale: Sugar content of a solution at a given temperature. Named for AFW Brix, a nineteenth-century German inventor. The Brix (sugar content) is determined by a HYDROMETER, which indicates a liquid's SPECIFIC GRAVITY (the density of a liquid in relation to that of pure water). Each degree Brix is equavalent to 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams of liquid. Also known as the Plato scale. 

Broad spectrum light: For pulse light technology, it refers to ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectrum of light. 

Browning: when the surface of food becomes darker and browner in color as a result of cooking

BSE: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy: Also known as Mad Cow Disease, is a chronic progressive degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle. There is no treatment, and affected cattle die. BSE is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The causative agent for BSE has not been determined. Some believe it is a "slow virus" or a "virino" while others believe it is a "prion" (an aberrant form of a normal prion protein) that causes the normal protein to conform to its aberrant shape, which leads to a cascade of abnormal proteins accumulating in brain cells. The accumulation of protein plaques causes cell death and leaves holes in the brain giving a "sponge-like" appearance. The etiologic agent is extremely resistant to destruction. BSE was first officially recognized in the United Kingdom (UK) in November 1986. The incubation period for BSE in cattle is from 2 to 8 years. 

Buffer: Mixture containing both a weak acid and a weak base capable of absorbing additions of either strong acid or strong base with little corresponding change in pH. Buffers are used for calibrating pH meters. 

Buffering salts: Buffering salts are applied to lower the gelling temperature and, in the case of low-methoxyl pectins, to delay the reaction with calcium. Thus, buffering salts are also called retarding agents. 

Bulk: Method of transporting food in large quantities, requiring that portioning be done at the receiving kitchen. Bulk food may be transported either hot or cold. 

Bulk fermentation: Whole of the dough is fermented at 27°C in a closed container to prevent surface drying. 

Bulking agents: food additive used to increase weight and/or volume of food volume without significantly adding to the energy levels or nutritional value of the food. Normally used in diet foods but can also be used to pad out expensive ingredients. Not usually digested and acts as a source of dietary fibre (roughage). 

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA): Phenolic chemical compound used to preserve foods by preventing rancidity. It may also be used as a defoaming agent for yeast. BHA is found in foods high in fats and oils; also in meats, cereals, baked goods, beer, and snack foods. 

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): Phenolic chemical compound used to keep food from changing flavor, odor and/or color. It is added to foods high in fats and oils and cereals. 

Butyric acid: carboxylic acid that can be found in, for example, milk and parmesan cheese



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