Where does the smell of gingerbread come from?

There is no Christmas without the delicious gingerbread. Whether it comes in the form of small houses or cute and smiling little men, we find it on all Christmas markets and under the tree. For the pleasure of young and old gourmands.

Where does the gingerbread come from?

If today he embodies the spirit of Christmas, you should know that gingerbread has been around for ages.

The first recipes recorded in our history come from ancient Greece and date from 2,400 BC. That is to say, if this recipe is old. Their gingerbread is mainly made of honey. It was then in China that the recipe spread in the 10th century.

In Europe, we had our own recipe. Hard gold leaf cookies, harder and shaped like animals, kings, and queens found at medieval fairs in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

The shapes changed according to the seasons. Flowers in spring, birds in autumn.

House-shaped gingerbreads have come from Germany since the 16th century. They became very famous thanks to the account of Hansel and Gretel. In Germany, gingerbread is mainly consumed during the Christmas period.

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What is gingerbread made of?

Gingerbread is basically a mixture of honey, molasses, and spices like ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

This combination of spices is essential for developing the characteristic flavor of gingerbread.

What chemistry is behind the gingerbread?

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But what interests us here is the peculiar smell of gingerbread.

You can’t go past a shelf without being drawn to the aromas. And what about their special flavors?

The taste of gingerbread comes from 3 molecules essentially: gingerol, zingerone, and shogaol.

Gingerol is a molecule that belongs to the same family as vanilla and which is found in ginger. It’s what gives the spicy taste.

The other two also come from ginger, but after it has been dried or cooked. So it’s an advantage to use powdered ginger, because zingerone will bring both sweet and sweet taste to your cookies, while shogaol brings a spicy note.

Zingerone

Shoagol

The other two also come from ginger, but after it has been dried or cooked. So it’s an advantage to use powdered ginger, because zingerone will bring both sweet and sweet taste to your cookies, while shogaol brings a spicy note.

In terms of smell, it is more than 14 different molecules that our nose detects thanks to the mere presence of ginger. All these molecules that we capture, we call them “volatile”, because they are easily found in the air that we breathe.

When they enter our nose, they come into contact with hundreds of thousands of olfactory receptors. Some of these receptors will interact with these “volatile” molecules and send electrical signals. Our brains receive and decode everything to tell us if it smells like gingerbread or fir.

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