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Old 12-15-2006, 05:28 AM   #31
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appologies, 543K = 270 centigrade, just take 273 off any temp marked in Kelvin to get the Centigrade.

Sugar (C12H22O11) doesn`t have any freely available/replacable Hydrogen ions, therefore it`s non acidic and Ph neutral (7).

NaHCO3 is slightly basic though (alkaline), however it will decompose at quite a low temperature (270c) to give your CO2 gas bubbles, and actualy leaves Sodium carbonate (yes, Washing Soda!).
sodium ions do have a taste though, which is why Salt is added to certain sweets and cookies etc...
in fact even a crappy coffee can be taste improved by the addition of a little salt! :)

however that`s where I leave off, I`ve never made peanut brittle myself or tested with/without types. so I can`t really comment with any authority as to what it does to it from a Cooks/Tasters perspective.

all I can say is that it will give of CO2, you will be able to taste it, and it will on a perhaps noticable level affect the crystaline structure of the end product.
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:52 AM   #32
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don't read this; you've been warned

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.

case closed.

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
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:14 AM   #33
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if you got a fiz with you baking soda in plain water and sugar then there`s a contaminant somewhere.
either the water is a little acidic, the sodium bicarb is impure, or there`s still traces of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) in the sugars crystal latice.

Sucrose is quite a large sugar molecule, HCl is added to break this down into more simple sugars such as Fructose and Glucose etc...

as for doing these types of things on the computer, these types of things I do IN real life also :)
don`t be ashamed of it, You`ve have further Empirical evidence brought out through experimentation and observation, Be Proud of your nerdiness! :)


EDIT: you asked also: "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?"

a) you`de need to make some without the peanuts as their density varies, then you would make a batch of each, with and without the bicarb. weigh each peice, then see how much volume it takes up (simple displacement test will suffice), so that you have a Mass over Volume equasion and that will give you the density of each, the difference will be trapped CO2 :)

b) you`de need to react this with an acid, the quantity of CO2 evolved will give you an idea in Molar values of the amount left unreacted.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:20 AM   #34
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Wink

I bought some peanut brittle 20-30 yrs. ago at a church christmas bazarre, have never seen it since. It was pale yellow and real buttery tasting very good brittle! Any ideas how it was made ? Thanks all !
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Old 12-15-2006, 03:35 PM   #35
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Ok one thing....273 Centigrade is 518 Degrees F. For Brittle the temp only comes up to 305-310 Degrees F....hum....

Robert
Chocolate
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:40 PM   #36
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YT2095 "... or there`s still traces of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) in the sugars crystal latice...."

eek! hydrochloric acid??? is that what's eating up my teeth??

"as for doing these types of things on the computer, these types of things I do IN real life also :)
don`t be ashamed of it, You`ve have further Empirical evidence brought out through experimentation and observation, Be Proud of your nerdiness! :)"

that's all fine and well, but now that i've pointed the finger at confectioners for screwing up the environment with their greenhouse gas emissions, i'm living in mortal fear of an assasination attempt by some culinary goon squad.


"EDIT: you asked also: "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?"

a) you`de need to make some without the peanuts as their density varies, then you would make a batch of each, with and without the bicarb. weigh each peice, then see how much volume it takes up (simple displacement test will suffice), so that you have a Mass over Volume equasion and that will give you the density of each, the difference will be trapped CO2 :)

b) you`de need to react this with an acid, the quantity of CO2 evolved will give you an idea in Molar values of the amount left unreacted.

ok. i'll straighten up my research lab and get right on it!
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:26 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aguynamedrobert
Ok one thing....273 Centigrade is 518 Degrees F. For Brittle the temp only comes up to 305-310 Degrees F....hum....

Robert
Chocolate
I don`t use F myself (don`t understand it), the 270c is the outside max for total decomp 100%, the actualy decomp starts 60c+, at 200c+ the decomp is quite violent.


Philso: the HCl pressent would be in PPM, and harmless to your teeth :)

EPA - Envirofacts Warehouse - TRI
will give you an idea of the amounts used in sugar refineries.
as for greenhouse gasses... ROFLOL
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Old 12-17-2006, 03:38 PM   #38
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Just a note on microwave peanut brittle. If your microwave is not at least a 1,000 watt oven-it wont work. Been there and done that. I cant make it this year cause i am using an old microwave-which still works-but not powerful enough for brittle.
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:46 PM   #39
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I make my Aunt Rosie's peanut brittle, with baking soda, and the soda definitely makes a big difference in the brittle. My peanut brittle is thick and full of bubbles, which make it melt in your mouth. And buttery tasting, like Barb L wanted.

Commercial peanut brittle is thin and glassy.

Don't make this peanut brittle unless you have a will of iron--once you take a bite, you won't quit til it is all gone.

Aunt Rosie's Peanut Brittle

3 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups white corn syrup
1 1/3 cup water
1 to 1 1/2 pounds dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup butter--NOT margarine
1 heaping tsp. baking soda.

In a large, heavy pan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir constantly until mixture boils. Cover pan and let mixture steam for 2 minutes. (This ensures that you have no stray sugar crystals to interfere with the crystalization of the brittle.)

Cook the syrup mixture until it reaches about 290*. Add butter and peanuts, and cook to 305*. STIR CONSTANTLY--the mixture burns very easily once the peanuts are added.

Working quickly, stir the baking soda in, and pour onto lightly buttered cookie sheet. Do not spread the peanut brittle. (you can tilt the pan a little to allow it spread out over the pan.

Tips and warnings--be sure to set your cookie sheet on something heatproof--that candy is hot enough to damage a countertop. If you warm the peanuts in the microwave for a minute or two, they won't lower the temp of syrup so much, and it will be easier to stir. Wear cotton gloves or new white socks on your hands when you break the brittle--it can be sharp enough to cut you. It breaks more easily if it is still just a bit warm.

I use real butter, best I can find, and Planter's low salt dry roasted peanuts. If I can't find them, I put regular ones in a colander and rinse most of the salt off. If you have a big enough pan, you can double this recipe.
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