why do you need baking soda in cookies

If you learn nothing else from this post, remember this:
Baking powder puffs (rises). Baking soda spreads. LetБs take the example of cookies. (Yum,б! ) For, youБd use baking powder because it allows the dough toб rise but doesnБt make your proud gingerbread man look like he had a close encounter with a car tire. But for, youБd useб baking soda because it allows the dough toб spread, and you get thinner, crisp edges with a tender center. (Now IБm craving! ) That, in an easy-to-remember nutshell, is the science behind baking powder and baking soda. Of course, IБm not going to leave it there. Deb Wise, our resident baking expert and Test Kitchen Recipe Developer and Tester, walked through the science of the two ingredients with me: Both are chemical leavenersБthat is, they both break down in the presence of moisture and/or heat and release carbon dioxide bubbles. The gas bubbles are trapped by the starch in the batter or dough and cause the baked good to expand while in the oven. In essence, these leaveners are responsible for making baked goods so light, porous, and fluffy.

Baking soda needs an acidБbuttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, or sour cream may be usedБto begin reacting, releasing gas bubbles, and rising. Baking soda is also typically responsible for any chemical flavor you might taste in a baked goodБthat bitter or metallic taste is a sign youБve used too much baking soda in your recipe, and you have unreacted baking soda left in the food. Baking powder needs first a liquid (as when mixed into a batter) and heat (from the oven) to react and begin releasing gases. You may see this described as Бdouble-actingБ baking powder. Shelf Lives Baking powder needs to be replaced every 6 to 12 months (follow the expiration date on the can). Baking soda, however, can last you several years, if stored correctlyБthat is, in a cool, dry place. Because she is a kitchen nerd, Deb likes to date her new can or box so she can remember when to replace it. Test your baking soda to see if itБs still a viable product by pouring 2 teaspoons vinegar in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. If the mixture bubbles immediately, your soda is still good for baking.

If it makes a paste but no bubble, toss the soda. Test your baking powder by combining 1/2 cup hot water with 1 teaspoon baking powder. If it bubbles, your baking powder gets the thumbs up. If it doesnБt, thumbs down. Toss it, and get another container. DonБt have baking powder? You can actually make your own. For one teaspoon of baking powder, combine 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch. (The cornstarch absorbs any moisture and prevents a reaction before the DIY baking powder is in the batter, so donБt skip it. ) Be sure to б sift or whisk together your baking powder or baking soda with your flour and other dry ingredients (such as salt, cinnamon, etc. ) before combining it with wet ingredients in your recipe. Otherwise, you might end up with very large holes throughout your baked good. And a nasty bite tasting like you licked the inside of a rusty can. A. K. A What is it? An extremely alkaline a white, water-soluble powder. When mixed with an acid, it spurs a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas or put more simply, it creates bubbles that cause baked goods to rise.

You ll always see baking soda in recipes that also include some sort of acidic ingredient, such as vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, or cream of tartar. Because it begins to react as soon as it meets an acidic liquid, combine baking soda with the dry ingredients (not wet) and cook the batter soon after the liquid is added. In order for baking soda to produce light, airy pancakes and muffins, the batter must have the correct amount of acidity (from buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, applesauce, vinegar, or honey, for example). If there isn t enough acidity in the batter (if you substitute fresh milk for buttermilk, for instance), the baking soda won t be converted to carbon-dioxide gas. The resulting batter won t rise properly and the unconverted baking soda will leave behind an unpleasantly soapy taste. Baking soda will keep for quite a while kept in a cool, dry place. But its leavening powers lessen over time, so if it s been a while, check the expiration date; you may need to open a new box.

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