Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's week #1 in April...and our focus is.....

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We have two items that we are focusing on this week. The first is Baking Soda. It is known as bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate, and, less commonly, saleratus. The most common practical use for baking soda is as a leavening agent in baking. In combination with a liquid and an acid, baking soda undergoes a chemical reaction that releases bubbles of carbon dioxide. Trapped in batter or dough, these carbon dioxide bubbles enable the baked goods to rise. Baked goods leavened with baking soda, therefore, generally have a light crumb and are aerated with many holes left by the escaping bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Reportedly, it can be stored on the shelf (unopened) for 2 years. However, it will not spoil and may lose some of its potency if stored for longer. To check the potency of the Soda, take one teaspoon of soda and place it with 3 tablespoons of Vinegar. If it bubbles, it is still potent enough to use.

Baking Soda has multiple uses beyond baking. Arm and Hammer has a quaint little spot on the web that is interactive. Click on the correct room and it will give you many ideas of how this versatile product can be used around your home. You can see it here:

The pricing for Baking Soda (by the box) varies between $.69 (store brand) to over a dollar depending on the size of the container.

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Baking Powder is the second item we are targeting this week.  Baking powder frequently adds an additional ingredient, usually an acid, to bicarbonate of soda. This results in a higher rise in baked goods, because the rise begins at room temperature, instead of when foods are baked. The most common combination of acids and alkalines that produce baking soda are cream of tartar and sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate activates at high temperatures, but combining it with an acid like cream of tartar activates it earlier.  What you can do, if you’ve run out of baking powder is combine baking soda and cream of tartar to make your own soda. One part baking soda is added to two parts cream of tartar. For instance, in a recipe that calls for 3 teaspoons of baking powder, you would use two teaspoons cream of tartar and one teaspoon of baking soda. (

Reportedly, you can store an unopened box for 18 months.  To test to see if it is potent, take 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder and place it in 1/3 Cup of hot water.  If the mixture bubbles, it is still potent enough to use.

There is one other issue to consider when purchasing Baking Powder.  That consideration is whether to purchase it with or without Aluminum added to it. If the Baking Powder has Aluminum, it reportedly gives the food a "tinny" or bitter flavor. To purchase this item without Aluminum, it is just a few cents more. One of the most popular brands without Aluminum is Rumsford. However, I found others that did not have it just by checking the labels on the product.

Pricing runs between $1.39 to $3.59 depending upon the brand and size. 

Stock up this week!

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