ok, after observing the results of my very scientific test and reading rob's master confectioners comments and perusing YT2095's physics 101 perambulations, my conclusive conclusions are thus, conclusively:
the baking soda in peanut brittle may add both a touch of bitterness and some bubbles to the end product.
of course you're shouting "why? why?"
well, i observed that baking soda added to a simple syrup of purified water and granulated sugar did in fact, and against my expectation, produce bubbles. a very gentle fizz, but a fizz it was.
this gentle fizz would be taking place right from the get go, so i would guess that a considerable percentage of the fizz fizzes right out, thus contributing to the greenhouse effect of our poor blighted planet, before it reaches the hard crack stage and can be trapped in the brittle as it cools when poured.
two questions remain: a) how much bubbliness is trapped in the brittle? and b) how much of the baking soda is left unreacted upon, to contribute a certain amount of bitterness?
both answers are, i think: not a whole lot.
again, why? well we know that not all of the bubbles produced are actually trapped, and
, looking at peanut brittle it's obvious that it's not mostly air held together by a minumal amount of substance (to wit; pumice-like or bagguette-like), but mostly solid. hence, question a's answer.
also, it's been proven beyond a scientific doubt that peanut brittle is not
gnarly tasting. thus question b's answer.
however, if even after all these undeniable scientific facts, you remain unconvinced, please consider this; what's not entirely obvious to neophyte chefs is absolutely transparent to a master confectioner. so (obviously) there's something going on which, from a lay persons perspective would be: not a whole lot. maybe something along the lines of a sommelier being able to tell the difference between the world's best wine and the world's second best wine.
or maybe not, since i'd better admit, before someone else points it out in public, that i don't have the palate of a sommelier and i only just managed to get through 10th grade science by the skin of my teeth .
what i learned from this thread:
1. baking soda likely affects peanut brittle to a point where a brittle connosieur can notice, but ordinary people might not.
2. what a total idiot i am. i knew i was an idiot, but i'm only now realizing the true depths of my idiocy.
3. if i can write something like this without the aid of alcohol, it's not too likely that i have any future in literary circles.
what i haven't
learned from this thread:
why there are people, myself perhaps foremost, who would rather sit babbling in front of a computer instead of getting a real life.
thank you, and excuse me