Monday, March 26, 2012

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Can I Substitute Baking Soda or Powder for Eggs in Pancakes?
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Whether you have an egg allergy, avoid animal products as part of a vegan lifestyle or simply want to reduce cholesterol and saturated fat in the foods you eat, you may think you need to remove pancakes from the menu. However, by demonstrating a little kitchen chemistry, you can feel confident about incorporating egg-free pancakes into a healthful brunch, dinner or even dessert.

Getting a Rise Out of Pancakes

Pancake recipes traditionally include eggs for their binding and leavening properties to keep the batter together and cause it to puff when cooked. However, the chemical changes in pancake batter as it heats and the physical structure of the finished product can be achieved by ingredients other than eggs. Removing eggs from the pancake equation leads to a more healthful result, eliminating calories, cholesterol, saturated fat and allergens.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents that create air bubbles in batter when the dry ingredients are mixed with liquid and heated, causing pancakes to be lighter and fluffier. The air is carbon dioxide released when alkaline, or base, and acidic agents meet; acids include lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. If you do not have any acids in your recipe already, using baking soda as a base alone may lead to flat, heavy pancakes. Baking powder, however, is actually a mixture with alkaline baking soda and an acid, such as cream of tartar, all in one product.

Health Considerations

By removing eggs from the pancake equation and relying on baking powder, you eliminate added calories, cholesterol, saturated fat and potential allergens. Pastry chef and author David Lebovitz also says foods taste better using aluminum-free baking powders, rather than their metallic-tasting counterparts. Some people avoid brands that contain aluminum because of possible negative health effects. However, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, there is no definitive proof that aluminum is linked to brain conditions like Alzheimer's or other diseases.

Going Eggless With Your Pancake Recipe

For each egg in your original pancake recipe, substitute a mixture of 2 tsp. of baking powder, 1 tbsp. of unsaturated oil or applesauce and 1 tbsp. of water or other liquid, such as soy milk. Alternately, use 3/4 tsp. of baking soda and 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar in place of the baking powder in the egg-substitute mixture. Make your own baking powder by mixing 1/4 tsp. of baking soda and 3/4 tsp. of cream of tartar for each teaspoon of baking powder. For an added puff factor when making egg-free pancakes, try sifting the flour in your recipe and gently folding it into the liquid ingredients to preserve the airy texture in your batter.

Pantry Protocols

Store baking powder and baking soda in a dry, airtight container at room temperature, such as in a pantry or cupboard rather than in the refrigerator. To test if your baking powder is still active, combine 1 tsp. with 1/3 cup of warm water and see if it bubbles.


Article reviewed by Jay Lawrence Last updated on: Aug 21, 2011

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