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Baking Soda vs Baking Powder, what’s the difference – Jughandle’s Fat Farm

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder, what’s the difference?  When should we use one over the other?  Are there any other uses for either, than baking or cooking?

If you are a serious cook, you should be able to rattle off the answers to those questions instantly.

Baking is more of a science than an art.  Chemistry and exact proportions are very important to achieving a quality finished product consistently.

Dough Rising

The holes are formed by the expansion of CO2 as the dough rises and sets.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, bicarbonate, and bicarb are all names for the same thing – NaHCO

It is a salt made up of sodium and bicarbonate molecules.  For a more in-depth explanation and chemistry, go to Wikipedia.  Sodium Bi-carbonate is used for many things but since our many focus is cooking, let us look at that first.

the leavening difference

without and with

Cooking

In cooking Sodium bi-carbonate is called Baking Soda.  By providing CO2, its primary use is as a leavening agent in batters and dough such as pancakes and breads, but is also used to crisp up the batter in fried foods.  Baking soda is very alkaline and in too large a quantity can leave sodium carbonate, which has a bitter or soapy taste.

What you need to remember is that Baking Soda releases CO2, carbon dioxide gas, that causes the batter or dough to rise by expanding within the lattice like structure of protein, known as gluten, in the dough.  The gluten traps the CO2 gas as it forms to make the bread or batter rise. 

Ok, now dig deeper and recall a little high school chemistry.  Baking Soda, aka: Sodium Bi-carbonate, is a base.  A base will decompose in the presence of of heat, starting at 180 deg F, but give up only half of its its CO2 leaving, proportionately, more of its bitter, soapy flavor, relative to the gas, in the final product.

You may also recall that a base and an acid have a strong chemical reaction.  In the case of Baking Soda, if you also use an acid such as a phosphate, cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa vinegar or even a sourdough batter, you can create a reaction that will release much more of its CO2. Remember that unlike batter or dough that has no acid, which will only rise when CO2 is released at 180 deg when baking.  When your acid and baking soda are mixed the reaction will start immediately and you will need to hurry and start the cooking.

Additionally

You might find useful the fact that when adding baking soda to your coating for fried foods, your crust will be more crispy.  The reason for the crispiness is that the emerging CO2 leaves passages for steam to escape from the food not only keeping the breading from being soggy but also preventing the crust from being blown off during cooking.

Baking Powder

Let us now consider, baking powder.  Not the stuff with a thousand uses that you put open in the refrig, but the powder in a round can that that said
“Double Acting” on it.

Baking powder generally contains around 30% sodium bicarbonate combined with calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate  or cream of tartar, which are activated by adding water, not needing acid.  Having both the Baking Soda and other additives make it “double acting”.

While baking soda is alkaline; the acid used in baking powder helps to avoid the metallic, bitter, soapy taste when the chemical change during baking creates sodium carbonate.

Tipsbulletin.com

Tips bulletin is a very informative site that gives tips on all sorts of different topics.  The following are excerpts from their 50+ Amazing Uses of Baking Soda

1. Clean Your Bathtub

Bathtub Cleaner Recipe

  • Baking soda (1/2 Cup)
  • Coarse salt (1 Tbsp)
  • Dish soap (1 Tbsp)
A safe and effective way to wash your bathtub, sink, and surrounding tile is by sprinkling a light layer of baking soda on a clean, damp sponge and scrubbing the tub as usual. Thoroughly rinse the bathtub and wipe it dry with a clean towel.

Baking soda also works well to clean fiberglass and glossy tiles. For extra cleaning power, you can make a paste with the baking soda for a deep-down clean.

9. Clean Furniture

Baking soda is an excellent product if you need to clean or remove marks from painted furniture or walls. Apply baking soda to a clean damp rag or sponge and lightly rub the area that you need to clean.

Baking soda works especially well to clean patio furniture. Using a clean, dry cloth, remove the residue from the furniture or wall. This method will even work for removing crayon marks from your walls and furniture.

17. Natural Fruit and Vegetable Scrub

Even if you buy organic produce, it is important to make sure to wash your fruits and veggies before consuming them. Not only can this get rid of any pesticides that may have seen use during the growing of the produce, but it can remove bacteria from your food.

Baking Soda Uses: Keeps Produce Fresh

You can make a natural produce cleaner by adding one teaspoon of baking powder to one tablespoon water. The paste is an excellent way to get rid of unwanted bacteria and pesticides from your produce.

23. Extinguish Grease Fires

If you encounter a minor grease fire in your kitchen, you can use baking soda to put it out quickly. Pouring baking soda on the fire will instantly stifle the flames. When the baking soda is heated, it discharges carbon dioxide and produces water.

The carbon dioxide doesn’t support combustion like oxygen. It smothers the fire, allowing the water that has formed to cool the fire to below the temperature needed for ignition.

31. Deodorize Recycling Bin

You can make sure your recycling bin doesn’t smell by adding baking soda to the top of the container every time you add to the container.

You can also clean the recycle bin with baking soda after it is empty. Place some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe down the inside of the recycle bin, followed by a thorough rinse with warm water.

And many others – Check it out – Jughandle

Stuffed Mushrooms

My niece Kellie has inspired me to find out all I can about stuffed mushrooms.  Here goes nothing.

 

It seems that everybody has a recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  They come in small, for hors-d’oeuvres, medium sized, for side dishes and large for main courses.  Mushrooms can be stuffed with just about anything from meat to veggies or any combination there of.  They can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, sauteed, roasted or any other way that sounds good to you.  Mushrooms have a subtle flavor (most that we cook with anyway) and a great texture and mouth feel.  They are sponge like and absorb liquid easily.

There are a couple of things you night need to know about mushrooms to make good cooking decisions and some information that is just fun to know.

Nutritional Information:

  • 3.5 oz of mushroom has around 27 calories
  • 4.1 grams of carbohydrates
  • .1 gram of fat
  • 2.5 grams of protein
  • various vitamins and minerals

Cooking and storing information:

  • shrooms are sponge like and should be marinated or coated in liquid before cooking to keep from drying out.  Becareful not to marinate too long (no more than a few minutes should do) or you’ll have a soggy, dense mushroom.  Taste the marinade before using to insure it isn’t too strong.  With mushrooms, what you taste is what you get.
  • high heat quick methods of cooking allow the mushroom to heat throughly while getting a nice crust without shrinking
  • You should never wash mushrooms, just brush off the dirt.  If you just have to wash them wait until you are about to cook them then pat them dry.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place.  Do not cover in plastic or put in a plastic bag.  Wrap in a cloth,cheese-cloth, or store in a cloth bag or use them soon after purchase.

Best Cooking Methods for un-stuffed mushrooms:

  • Saute is great for small button sized or chopped mushrooms.  Saute in butter or olive oil and season while cooking.  No marinating is necessary but pickled mushrooms saute nicely and are a great addition to a stew or stir fry.
  • Grilling or Broiling in the oven – These methods are best suited to larger whole mushrooms or caps such as Portabellas and Shiitakes.  Brush the shrooms with oil or butter and season.  Grill or Broil close to the heat source for 4 minutes per side flipping once or twice. Baste a couple of times with your seasoned butter or oil mixture while cooking.
  • Roasting – Preheat your oven to 450°, brush mushrooms as with the grilling method and roast in a shallow pan for up to 20 mins, flipping once.

Seasonings and Marinades:

  • dry seasoning combinations sprinkled on a olive oil brushed mushroom are great.  Try Lemon-Pepper or McCormick’s Grill Mates
  • Olive oil, seasoned with herbs and or vinegar is nice.
  • Sherry or other cooking wines make a good marinade.
  • Sauces, such as brown sauce, white sauce or tomato sauce are a great way to raise the flavor profile.
  • Don’t forget Balsamic vinegar and
  • Soy sauce
  • Try your favorite salad dressing, like Italian or ranch.

Stuffing:

  • like I said before – anything – try:
  • bread crumbs, sausage and onions covered with Parmesan cheese
  • chopped bell pepper, onion, cheese and herbs
  • roasted veggies chopped or diced and marinated in soy sauce or balsamic vinegar for a vegan solution
  • seasoned rice and tofu with a balsamic sauce

Best method for Cooking Stuffed Mushrooms:

  • Baking– you can bake a stuffed mushroom in a 400° oven for 30-45 mins. cover with foil for the first 2/3 of the cooking time
  • Roasting in foil – wrap your stuffed mushrooms in foil and put on the grill for 30 mins or until they seem done.  This is best if you have a cheese topping or stuffing that shouldn’t brown too quickly.
  • Pan frying/steaming – For smaller stuffed mushrooms fill a frying pan with the stuffed mushrooms and fry on med/high heat in a little oil until the bottoms start to brown.  Pour in a 1/2 cup of wine, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce or a combination and cover with a tight fitting lid, reducing the heat to med and steam in the liquid for 10 or 15 mins.  This is also a good way to melt a cheese topping.
Look for stuffed mushroom recipes I’ll be adding in the next few days.  Let me know if you have a good combination you’d like to share with the Farmers – Jug