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Old 02-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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Baking powder - did something go wrong?

Hello,

I made pancakes this morning with water because I did not like the smell of the milk I had in the fridge. I noticed that my pancakes did not rise as they do when I use milk. Does baking powder have a different affect with milk then with using water?

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Old 02-11-2012, 11:19 AM   #2
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My guess is that it had more to do with your milk than the baking powder.

Chances are the milk was on the edge or over the edge of going sour, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think buttermilk or sour milk here.

However, because the milk probably developed a different acidic characteristic because of it's probable sourness, your baking powder didn't react as it should have with sweet or non-sour milk.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie H View Post
My guess is that it had more to do with your milk than the baking powder.

Chances are the milk was on the edge or over the edge of going sour, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think buttermilk or sour milk here.

However, because the milk probably developed a different acidic characteristic because of it's probable sourness, your baking powder didn't react as it should have with sweet or non-sour milk.
Katie, Julio didn't use the milk. He used water instead.
I imagine it has as much to do with the protein structure in the milk. The sour milk would have been a better choice than water.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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How old is the baking powder? You did use baking powder not soda right?
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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This is a guess. In baking powder, the soda and acid is balanced for the desired effect, which is correct generation of carbon dioxide at the proper time. The nature of the acid also determines when that time is, and double action baking powder has one that becomes active at room temperature and a second that activates with heat. Anything that upsets the expected balance of acid alters the actions. Milk is normally slightly acidic. Tap water can be anything, but is generally more of less from slightly acid to slightly alkaline but can begin as more either way, depending on the makeup of bedrock in the regiom. But cities sometimes raise the pH as high as 9 to reduce pipe damage. If your water is very alkaline, it could neutralize the acid in baking soda, and there would be no rise. Or I suppose if the water was very acid, it could exhaust the soda too early. But I more likely suspect alkaline tap water, "hard" water being very common. Knowing the pH of your tap water is a good thing for folks baking a lot with baking powder. Mine is very hard. I paved my drive with what I chipped out of the bottom of my tea pot.

(Pure water is slightly acid by chemical nature, but it's only coincidence is any given water you find matches that. Distilled water is usually significantly acid, because it immediately begins forming carbolic acid.)
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
Katie, Julio didn't use the milk. He used water instead.
I imagine it has as much to do with the protein structure in the milk. The sour milk would have been a better choice than water.
Thanks, Hammster, you're correct. I saw "milk" mentioned in the latter part of his post and I guess my mind wrapped around that. I'll chalk it up to a "senior moment."

Beyond that, I'd have to advise new baking powder and try again with fresh.

I can't address the water issue as I always use bottled spring water for all my baking needs, which would include pancakes.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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You need to check your baking powder to see if it's still active. Pay no attention to the expiration date, since sometimes baking powder can lose its power before that date.

Here's how to test it:
Mix 1 tsp (5 grams) baking powder with 1/2 cup (120 ml) hot water and the mixture should bubble immediately and vigorously. The fresher the baking powder, the more active the bubbles. If no reaction occurs or if the bubbles are weak, the baking powder is not strong enough to raise whatever you are planning to bake.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Yeah, check the date on your baking powder, and remember that it is usually better to err on the side of a bit too much, especially with something like pancakes. I don't even really measure, just put some in the palm of my hand and then mix it with the dry flour. And I use soured milk for pancakes all the time. Actually makes a better pancake, imho.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #9
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Oh, we loved it when we found sour milk in the fridge! It always meant pancakes for breakfast!!!
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:25 AM   #10
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The bottom of the can says it expires on sept 2012 its covered in a dark cool area. I've never tried sour milk so I'll give it a try.
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