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Learn about cooking for free online

White House pastry chef Bill Yosses was one of the culinary consultants for this course.
White House pastry chef Bill Yosses was one of the culinary consultants for this course.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered about exactly how things happen in cooking? Maybe you have an interest in science or chemistry. If so, you owe it to yourself to take Harvard University's Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science class, which starts on October 8. You just need an Internet connection for your computer, and you are good to go. If you would like, you can participate by conducting cooking experiments in the comfort of your home's kitchen that go along with that week's concept.

It is free to audit this class, which means that you only have to listen to the weekly lectures in your free time, but you can also choose to get a Honor Code Certificate from edX, the site offering the course. To get your certificate, you watch the lectures each week, but then you have to pass the tests given over them to see how much you learned. It is also free to audit this course.

During the course, you will learn about the science behind the cooking. Like what makes bread rise or why you need different types of flour for baking and general cooking. Some of the contributors to the course work include White House pastry chef Bill Yosses; Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking, which serves as the textbook for this course; chef Joanne Chang of Boston's Myers + Chang and Flour Bakery; chef Dan Barber who co-owns and cooks at Blue Hill in New York city. Joanne Chang has been here to Houston before on her last book tour, as have some of the other culinary consultants for this course.

If the course is too much for you, you can also listen to public lectures given at Harvard University, too, by checking them out on iTunes. These lectures are also free and available all the time.