Scooping cookie dough
Both baking soda and baking powder, referred to as chemical leaveners, give breads, cakes, and other doughs and batters a light texture by introducing carbon dioxide gas into the batter. The gas expands the bubbles that are already present in the batter due to the action of mixing or creaming. Once the baked good goes…

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7 Comments

  1. mrsreault@yahoo.com

    Fascinating, what else does cream of tarter do?

    • laura.monroe@culinary.edu

      It’s really versatile! We also add a pinch of cream of tartar to egg whites to help stabilize a meringue or an angel food cake, and a pinch in a cooked sugar solution can keep the mixture from crystalizing. Some people add it to water before blanching, poaching, or steaming vegetables, since the acid lowers the pH of the water and can help keep the veggies vibrant and colorful.

  2. kisper_94@hotmail.com

    What is the purpose of adding both baking soda and baking powder to a recipe?

    • laura.monroe@culinary.edu

      If a recipe calls for baking soda and baking powder, it’s generally there to add a little extra oomph. Baking soda + an acid, like yogurt or buttermilk, may not be quite enough to lift certain batters. Since baking soda needs acid, adding more baking soda would require the addition of more acid, which may not be ideal for the finished product. So instead, we add a little baking powder, since it brings its own acid to the party. Both may also be used as a way to balance the pH of a dish, either to add a more acidic flavor or to help promote browning.

  3. amwanner1985@gmail.com

    But it’s interesting that most recipes for chocolate chip cookies call for baking soda only and I don’t know what would represent an acid in a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

    • laura.monroe@culinary.edu

      Love this culinary science chit chat! Brown sugar, which contains molasses, is actually an acidic ingredient! That’s why the best chocolate chip cookie recipes contain brown sugar. You CAN make a cookie with granulated sugar and baking soda, but you’ll notice that it’s much more dense.

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