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Old 11-03-2011, 01:25 AM   #1
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buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder?


I'm watching chef john besh on the create channel. He's making grand daddy's corn bread when he added baking powder to the dry mixture. He said that whenever his grand daddy used buttermilk he would add baking powder. I'm wondering why use baking soda when using buttermilk and only baking powder when not using buttermilk? What does buttermilk do to the cornbread if baking powder is used?


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Old 11-03-2011, 01:50 AM   #2
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I remember Alton Brown talked about this in his biscuit show. He said when baking, we should look for an acid-base balance. So buttermilk is very acidic, and to counter it, he would add baking soda which is alkaline when dissolved in water. The result of it will be some gas generated which can help making the baked goods more fluffy, like a single-reaction baking power would do.

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Old 11-03-2011, 04:44 AM   #3
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The baking powder is the leavening agent, the baking soda is the acid neutralizer. The bs can contribute a bit to the leavening as well. This is what I remember from the "chemistry of cooking" segment of my grade 8 home economics class. (I suspect the teacher really wanted to be teaching chemistry but got stuck with 8 grade economics).
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:17 AM   #4
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Baking powder is baking soda with an acid added.

Buttermilk is acidic.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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Baking soda needs an acidic environment to activate. Buttermilk provides that. If you don't use buttermilk, you switch to baking powder (which contains baking soda) as it contains cream of tartar. C of T converts to tartaric acid that activates the baking soda that is part of baking powder.
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