I have been reading a book called Kitchen Science – A Guide to Knowing the Hows and Whys for Fun and Success in the Kitchen by Howard Hillman (I got mine from the library – 1989 edition).
The beauty of this book is the facts are laid out in FAQ-style , so don’t expect it to be a science text book or encyclopedia. I think it is perfect for people who have short attention span of a goldfish – like myself. That said, my mind did wander a bit whenever Howard went into details about scientific stuffs like molecules and gas. Feel a little like Chemistry classes in high school? Yeah, I think so.
It covers all areas of cooking and baking starting from understanding your cooking equipment, cooking methods, baking, beverages to nutrition and health. Although I must admit I have conveniently skipped the last part. *cough*cough* Boring!
My favourite chapter would have to be baking. In my opinion, baking is more technical knowledge demanding than say, making stir frys – no offence to Chinese sifu chefs.
Anyway, here’re two of the many things I’ve learned from the book (all baking powder related in order to stay true to my post title):-
To make 1 tsp of commercial baking powder, you’ll need:-
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp cornstarch (add this if you plan to store it as cornstarch absorbs moisture in the air and therefore prevent a premature chemical reactions between cream of tartar and baking soda)
A quick note – you have to work quickly when using homemade baking powder.
To check the potency of baking powder kept over some time
- Pour one quarter cup of hot tap water over one-half teaspoon of baking powder. The fresher the baking powder, the more actively this mixture will bubble. In other words, no bubble no rising to occcasion!
That’s all about baking powder and thanks for reading. Unfortunately, I have to return this book to the library today (reluctantly) before I start packing for my big move tomorrow. Oh well.