Have you ever wondered why your seared steak or freshly baked bread tastes so good?
It is called the Maillard reaction or sometimes the “browning reaction”. Cooked meats, seafood, and other protein-laden foods that undergo the Maillard reaction turn brown, but there are other reactions that also cause browning. The reaction creates brown pigments in cooked meat in a very specific way: by rearranging amino acids and certain simple sugars, which then arrange themselves in rings and collections of rings that reflect light in such a way as to give the meat a brown colour.
The reaction isn’t just about the color, it always gives food distinctive taste and gorgeous aroma. In fact it should be called the “flavor reaction”. The molecules it produces provide characteristic roasting, baking or frying smell. The Maillard reaction occurs in cooking of almost all kinds of foods, but simple sugars and amino acids present produce diffrent taste and smell for every ingredient. This is why baking bread doesn’t smell like roasting meat or frying fish, even though all these foods depend on Maillard reactions for flavor.
You may think thank raising the temperature would enhance the “browning reaction”, but above 168°C your food starts to burn. Some may like your food lightly chared, but too much and the food becomes bitter. That black parts may also be carcinogenic so watch out for that.