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Old 04-17-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
Senior Cook
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Question The science of baking ingredients

I'm hoping someone can shine some light on some ingredients used to make breads/cakes:

1.What do baking powder and soda do in baking? I've seen them listed independently, and mixed together in recipes. What do they do independently, and what do the do together?

2. How do egg yolks, egg whites, and whole eggs each contribute to baking?

3.What does milk contribute that water cannot?

Thanks for the inisight!


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Old 04-17-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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Milk provides the acid that baking soda and baking powder need in order to create CO2 bubbles... in other words, to create lift to whatever it is that you're baking.

Baking soda reacts immediately with the milk (in the mixing bowl). Baking powder, when heated, performs its reaction (in the oven.)

Eggs also create lift when heated, as well as acting as a binder for the other ingredients.

Sometimes the recipe needs the fat from egg yolks, particularly as an emulsifier, but sometimes it will ruin the mixture, as when making whipped cream or meringue.

These are very brief explanations, but getting a good book on baking will clarify these things and more. If you can't afford one, you might try your local library. Baking is distinctly different from other forms of cooking and worth the effort to understand it!

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:51 PM   #3
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Fantastic! Thanks for the speedy response and the great details.
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