What comes to mind when you think of baking soda? Something you use when you bake. A while back I saw a commercial that suggested putting an opened box in the fridge to eliminate odors, and I did. It seemed to do the job pretty well. However, there are many more uses that maybe you hadn’t thought about. Some uses have amazed even the experts. Here are 7 new uses for simple powder.
Of course if you are baking sans gluten, you have to add a substitute ingredient to hold things together. The best gluten substitute I know of is potato starch. Use about a tablespoon for each cup of gluten-free flour. Arrowroot starch is also a good alternative for baking and both of these starches are wonderful thickeners for sauces and soups.
Baking is a part of so many people’s holiday traditions. It got me thinking on why baking? Why now? After all, most local grocery stores and super centers have bakeries that produce delicious goods for a decent price. However no store can make prettier sugar cookies than little kids. And no one does fudge and date pudding like my Grandma.
If you’re a beginning baker then I’m sure most bread recipes you’ve been exposed to have been in volume measurements i.e. 2 cups flour, 1 cup water etc. There is a problem with measuring ingredients in this manner however: the amount of an ingredient in one cup is almost never the same from cup to cup! In bread baking, especially when starting out, exactness is extremely important. Bread baking is hard enough to do consistently when all your ingredients are accurately measured. With volume measurements you could be executing what is essentially a totally different recipe every time you make it! Why put yourself in a hole before you even get started?
Temperature is even more important for a beginning baker who does not yet have a feel for the dough and when it is ready to move to the next step of a recipe. All you have to rely on starting out are the times stated in the recipe and if your temperature is off by even five degrees the times become nearly useless. I saw the greatest improvement in my breads as a beginner when I started to get serious about temperature. Before that my results were always inconsistent and I had to make a lot of guesses about when to execute steps.
Keep up with needed supplies. You’ll likely want to replenish perishables weekly and staples monthly, preferably through a food co-op or a wholesale baking supply vendor.
If you want to take your first steps in baking with whole grain products then wholemeal flour is probably the place to begin. It has a kind of familiarity to it. It is like your usual white flour, just a little grainier. You can know that the results you get with a wholegrain flour are not going to be a thousand miles away from using your regular all-purpose flour. Depending on the recipe, sometimes you will find a 50/50 mixture is best suited, while in other cases a straight switch is fine. While you experiment you’ll learn more.
Give these two treatments a fair shot. That means at least 5 consecutive days of trying this out. You’ll body will need to acclimate itself to the baking soda before feeling the best results.