Chemistry surrounds us, and a Kitchen is a laboratory where a lot of complex chemical reactions take place while we are making our foods. A common task like boiling an egg involves chemical changes.
So I couldnt find a better place to talk and learn about proteins than a kitchen.
In this instructable you are going to learn something about proteins and how they are involved in cheese making. Of course I'll explain how to make fresh cheese, a very simply and easy to make cheese
Step 1: Proteins and enzymes
First we are going to review a few concepts about proteins and its characteristics and functions
I'm sure you've heard about proteins, but, what are proteins?
Well, in a few words, proteins are complex polymers composed of amino acid monomers which are arranged in a specific three dimensional pattern held together by a variety of chemical forces and, they are considered to be the primary structure of all living organisms. Some examples of protein are muscle, hair, skin, hormones, and enzymes
Protein structure can be affected by different factors like pH, temperature and the presence of other compounds like enzymes. When an external factor affects the protein structure it losses its biological activity and we call this process protein denaturation. An example of protein denaturation is our boiled egg and of course cheese (In this instructable we are going to denaturate milk proteins using a enzyme, temperature and changing its pH using an acid)
Now that you know what proteins are, let's talk about enzymes
Chemical reactions in living cells are complex and highly controlled. Certain chemicals accelerate reactions without being changes themselves. These agents are called catalysts, and the rate acceleration caused by such substances is called catalysis. Enzymes are specialized proteins uses as catalysts in biological reactions and are produced naturally in plant, animal and microbial cells, and there are thousand of enzymes because they have a specific function and they work at very low concentrations.
In an enzyme catalyzed reaction, the enzyme joins with the substrate (a reactant in a chemical reaction) and helps transform the substrate into the product. As I told before, an enzyme is a catalyst, which means that it participates in the reaction but is not used up during the reaction. The action of the enzyme continues until it losses it biological activity which means is denaturized affected by temperature, pH or other compounds.