The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to Bake Without Baking Powder

How to Bake Without Baking PowderI always enjoy Leigh Tate's books, and her newest is no exception. But before I sing its praises, I want to make sure you don't miss out on her big summer giveaway. There are seven prizes --- one paperback version of How to Bake Without Baking Powder and six ebooks with topics ranging from growing ginger to making your own whitewash. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on her blog. Good luck!

Okay, back to the book review. Tate outdid herself with her newest book, which is chock full of both historical data and actionable information. If you're like me, you probably understand the basics of baking powder/baking soda --- you can use the latter if you include an acid, but need the former if you don't. But I've been left scratching my head many times when I saw a recipe that called for baking soda without anything I considered an acid to prompt the leavening reaction. Tate's book explained why, listing many culinary acids I hadn't considered and also explaining that baking soda actually causes some rising action by itself at high temperatures (such as in cookies).

Then she delves even deeper, looking at other ways you can get baked goods to rise without purchasing either baking powder or soda. Beaten eggs are a moderately mainstream method, but have you ever heard of the idea of soaking wood ashes and using that alkaline liquid along with an acid to puff your biscuits up? If the world comes to an end and baking soda is no longer available in the grocery store, you'll definitely want this book! And, in the meantime, the copious recipes at the end would be a really fun homesteading and/or homeschooling experiment to combine science with lunch. Actually, as I type this, just looking at the recipes is making me hungry....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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"...have you ever heard of the idea of soaking wood ashes and using that alkaline liquid along with an acid to puff your biscuits up?"

Yep. Learned that in an 18th Century cooking class when I used to do historical recreation at various historical sites. Plug: Take a trip to Rocky Mount in Piney Flats, TN. They have wonderful classes there on 18th Century cooking and gardening.

This book sounds like something I should add to my library. Thanks!

Comment by Nayan Mon Aug 8 09:55:55 2016

Best not try this at home.

Amateur chemistry is best left out of your food!

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Aug 8 11:24:31 2016
Eh, I guess I don't understand the point of this.(But then, I don't seem to get the point of a lot of things...) Is this book intended for some post-apocalyptic time when baking powder is scarce or horribly expensive?
Comment by Julie Mon Aug 8 15:36:24 2016
It sounds like an interesting book, I always love learning more about culinary science. But if the world ends, I don't think anyone will be here to search grocery store shelves for baking powder! ;-)
Comment by Another Julie Mon Aug 8 18:14:17 2016

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