Yield: 1 servings
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Perhaps you recall from your high-school or college chemistry class experiments that carbon dioxide bubbles are generated whenever water is poured over a dry acid and alkali mixture. That's exactly what happens when you use baking powder, because this cooking ingredient is essentially a blend of acid (calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate, or cream of tartar, to name three) and alkali (sodium bicarbonate, popularly known as baking soda). Add water to this mixture and a chemical reaction results, producing carbon dioxide. The gas generated creates minuscule air pockets, or enters into existing ones, within the dough or batter. When placed in a hot oven or on a hot griddle, the dough or batter rises, primarily for two reasons. First, the heat helps release additional carbon dioxide from the baking powder. Second, the heat expands the trapped carbon dioxide gas and air and creates steam. The resulting pressure swells the countless air pockets, which in turn expands the food being baked.
Test: You can easily determine whether you need a fresh supply by conducting this simple chemical experiment. Pour one quarter cup of hot tap water over one-half tsp. of baking powder. The fresher the baking powder, the more actively this mixture will bubble. If the reaction is weak or does not occur, your baking powder will not properly raise whatever you are baking. Make Your Own: For 1 tsp.= ½ tsp. of cream of tartar, ¼ tsp. of baking soda and++if you plan to store your supply++¼ tsp. of cornstarch. The Cornstarch absorbs moisture. Work quickly with homemade, because the carbon dioxide is released more quickly and at a lower temperature than commercial.
From: Kitchen Science Shared By: Pat Stockett Submitted By PAT STOCKETT On 01-04-95