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  • So say you're ruining yet another batch of cookies because, who knows, too much butter?

  • not enough flour? didn't chill the dough long enough?

  • Could be anything, there's too many variables and this is why baking from scratch is hard

  • and I'll stick with mathematics thank you very much.

  • But I do know one delicious recipe that's hard to get wrong.

  • And by the way this video is in VR180 so use a headset or look around by moving your phone

  • or dragging the video because today we're making Monkeybread.

  • Monkeybread, aka puzzle bread or pull-apart bread, is a classic american food invented

  • in the 1970s to take advantage of pre-prepared refrigerated biscuit dough for an easy-to-make

  • snack suitable for groups of children and/or adults with no plates or utensils necessary.

  • I'll be making the dough bits round to better simulate properties of Voronoi diagrams, but

  • the basic idea is that each ball of dough is like a little cell coated in cinnamon sugar,

  • and large amounts of brown sugar butter.

  • Lots and lots of butter.

  • In the oven all these spheres of dough will expand and develop facets as they smoosh into

  • each other, so they're more polygonal and no longer spheres.

  • What kind of shapes would you expect the cells to form?

  • Let's go back to my batch of cookie, and I'll use icing to draw the lines where the

  • cookieblobs hit each other.

  • It looks a lot like a Voronoi diagram, which is a kind of diagram where you start with

  • a bunch of points, or, cookiedough blobs, and then it's as if each point spreads out

  • until it gets all the area that's close to it, or at least, closer to it than to any

  • other point.

  • If you started with points organized into a very efficient cookie packing like this,

  • then the Voronoi diagram would look like a bunch of hexagons, except on the edges where

  • technically the cell includes the slice of space going infinitely off the cookie sheet,

  • not that I have enough dough for infinitely large cookies, which just marks another place

  • where mathematical theory is better than the realities of baking.

  • But for our more randomly placed cookie blob sheet, the Voronoi cells are irregular polygons,

  • and these look pretty typical for 2D Voronoi cells.

  • But what about 3D Voronoi cells?

  • There's many theoretically perfect way to pack spheres together where they'd expand

  • into perfectly fitting cubes or rhombic dodecahedra or other fun shapes, but when you toss all

  • the dough balls randomly into a bundt pan we'll get more typical random Voronoi cells.

  • I mean it's not quite mathematically Voronoi-y because of how dough works and physics but

  • it's similar enough that our Monkeybread bits will have that distinctive Voronoi flavor.

  • The Bundt pan, by the way, not only makes genus 0 baked goods into genus 1 baked goods,

  • but the hole in the middle adds surface area, which is not only great for having lots of

  • glaze or crust but essential for Monkeybread in particular so that more cells are on the

  • surface.

  • You eat it by just grabbing a cell and pulling it apart from the bread, and the toroidal

  • shape means you can pick at it from all sides, including inside.

  • Bundt pans also provide areas of both negative and positive curvature to observe, which helps

  • better simulate a comparison to the formation of epithelial cells, hence the Scutoid connection

  • (more about scutoids next time).

  • Altogether, Monkeybread is quite the mathematical snack.

So say you're ruining yet another batch of cookies because, who knows, too much butter?

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B2 dough butter genus bread diagram baked

The Mathematics of Monkeybread

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/30
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