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Baking powder is a mixture of one or more acidic salts and baking soda, an alkali. These two compounds react when they get wet and release carbon dioxide gas bubbles. These, in turn, cause baked goods to rise. Baking powder is perishable. To test a batch, add 1 teaspoon to ½ cup hot water. If it doesn't bubble, throw it out. Look for baking powder among the baking supplies in most supermarkets.
Varieties: Most recipes that call for baking powder intend for you to use double-acting baking powder. This includes two acidic salts--one that reacts when wet and one that reacts heated. By giving the baking soda two chances to react, it usually results in light and airy baked goods. Less common is single-acting baking powder, which only reacts when it becomes wet. When using this kind of baking powder, you have to get the batter into a preheated oven immediately after you mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Aluminum-free baking powder is preferred by many cooks; powders made with aluminum lend an unpleasant flavor to delicately-flavored baked goods. Substitutes (for 1 teaspoon of baking powder): Combine 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda OR Combine two parts cream of tartar plus one part baking soda plus one part cornstarch OR Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to dry ingredients and ½ cup buttermilk or yogurt or sour milk to wet ingredients. Decrease another liquid in the recipe by ½ cup. OR Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to dry ingredients and ¼ cup molasses to wet ingredients. Decrease another liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons. OR 1 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (This yields a very light, airy product, but can impart an ammonia flavor to baked goods. It's best used in cookies, which are flat enough to allow the ammonia odor to dissipate during cooking.)
baking soda = bicarbonate of soda = sodium bicarbonate = bicarb = bread soda Equivalents: One tablespoon of baking soda = 1/4 oz = 7 grams Notes: Baking soda is alkaline, and when mixed with acidic ingredients, it reacts and releases bubbles of carbon dioxide. These bubbles, when trapped inside batter, help baked goods rise. Baking powder contains baking soda, along with acidic salts that react with the soda when they get wet or heated. Recipes that call for both baking powder and baking soda are probably using the baking soda to offset extra acidity in the batter (from ingredients like buttermilk or molasses) and to weaken the proteins in the flour. Omitting the baking soda from these recipes may alter the color or flavor of whatever you're baking, and make it less tender.
Baking soda is used in devil's food cake because it turns the cocoa powder reddish brown.
Vegetables cooked in water mixed with baking soda don't lose as much color, though the baking soda makes them mushier and causes them to lose vitamin C.
Sprinkling baking soda on a grease or electrical fire will help extinguish it.
Placing an opened box in the refrigerator or freezer will absorb bad odors
Baking soda is a good, mildly abrasive scouring powder.
Store baking soda in a cool, dry place.
Substitutes: potassium bicarbonate (sodium-free; substitute measure for measure)
Hope this helps!
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