Powder Puff

G wanted to make pancakes for breakfast yesterday. He’s been using my groceries, because I didn’t have the heart to throw them away when I left North Carolina.

He asked me where the baking soda was. And I told him it was baking powder he was looking for. And he found it, following the instructions for a possible location for the tin of baking powder.

Which brings me to this post. Now, I know you can google the difference between the two and be happy. But I want to write it here, nevertheless.

So here goes:

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. It is basic (as in, alkaline) and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. You’ll find baking soda in cookie recipes. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat! That’s also why mum uses Eno when she makes Dhoklas.

And of course, those experiments with the volcano erupting, as part of science class in middle school. Coloured vinegar in a little container in that papier-mâché mountain. Sprinkle some baking soda when the younger kids get to your table. And voila!!!! Acid + soda bicarb, given fluid bubbling with excess carbon dioxide.

I remember using really fat incense sticks (my grandfather calls them dhoop) to give that smokiness before the actual eruption and a tiny blast of burned paper (for the ashes), after the show. And let’s leave the stinky clean up for another day.

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits.

You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you’ll need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can’t use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise.

However, you can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.

Baking          =           Two parts        +        One part
Powder                cream of tartar          baking soda

This information has been gotten from http://chemistry.about.com/cs/foodchemistry/f/blbaking.htm

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