Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking from Scratch 101

The first breading that we are going to look at is for…

Baking Soda Batter…

Why?

Because most of us have had it sitting in our pantry or fridge for how long without knowing what to do with it?

There is sits, day after day, week after week…sad and lonely.

Yet this big yellow box contains hidden secrets lurking beyond its cardboard…

  • Beauty uses—such as cleaning your face…
  • Health uses—such as calming indigestion, treating heartburn, soothing canker sores, and whitening your teeth.
  • Household uses—such as neutralizing odors, cleaning, and removing tough stains,

And of course the obvious…Baking.

But baking soda can also make a great batter for frying seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.

 

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Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents primarily used in baking. This means that whenever they reacts with an acidic compound—such as molasses, cream of tartarlemon juiceyogurtbuttermilkcocoa, and vinegar—.carbon dioxide is released.

This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…

  • causes the batter to expand
  • adding a lightness to the final fried product
  • enhancing crispness
  • allowing passages for steam to escape
  • keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.

 

 

 

But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?

Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.

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How Do I Use Baking Soda?

Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.

So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.

 

 

 

In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.

Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.

 

 

 

Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.

To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…

Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.

If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.

Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Batter Up

potato fries with fried meat and red sauce on round white ceramic plate
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

The What

When we were pan-frying, we typically used breading…

But now that we are deepfrying, we’re most likely to be using a batter instead.

Batters will give youf food a lighter, thinner style coating…instead of  the thicker, heavier coating associarted with breading.

Batters also consist of the same ingredients as breading—flour, egg, and milk or water—but are mixed together instead of being dipped onto the food…and may also include salt, baking powder or baking soda, and sugar.

Baking soda, baking powder, beer, or any other type of carbonated liquid are often used to make the batter more  fluffy as it cooks.

Also herbs, spices, fruits, and even vegetables can be added to your batter to give it more flavor.

 

 

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The Why

 

Using batter when deep-frying serves many functions, including…

  • forming a protective, crispy shell around the food
  • giving your foods that expecteed crispy crunch
  • keeping the food from absorbing excessive amounts of fat
  • preventing your food from scorching
  • retaining the flavor and juices of the food
  • simply having a pleasing texture

 

 


The How

Find the right consistency for what you are  cooking…Batters range in consistency from the “very heavy” batters that will adhere to an upturned spoon…to “very thin” batters that will quickly pour or drop from that same spoon.

The ideal batter for fried foods is thick enough to adhere to the food, but not so thick as to become heavy.

 

Slow down the thickening process…Your batter will thicken very quickly after you finish making it. You can slow down this process the the following three methods…

  • using beer instead of baking powder or baking soda
  • using ice water when mixing
  • making it at the last possible moment before use

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The Which

In the next series of posts, we will looking at some of the different batters—such as baking powder batter, beer batter, egg white batter, flour and water batter, and yeast batter—and which batters are best for which foods…(more recipes, yeah)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Dreading the Breading

So we’ll start our discussion on frying foods with breading.

Breading is a basic process that involves coating your food—such as fried chicken and onion rings—before frying it.  

This coating can consist of many different types of crumbs—such as rushed corn flakes, fine dried breadcrumbs, crushed cracker meal, and even potato chips…(more on this later)…

Breading differs from using a batter to prep your food.

 

Breading involves using basically dry ingredients whereas Battering your food involves combining flour of some sort with a liquid and perhaps other ingredients—such as eggs and baking powder.

Battering your food coat them in a thicker and more goopy layer.

Your goal whenever you are frying food is to create delicious food that has a crunchy and delicious exterior with a moist and flavorful interior.

Batters and breadings are important in this process because they both serve the same basic purpose—to help seal in moisture.

You do not want the oil to immediately come into direct contact with the food because you are more likely to end up with food that is either burned or leathery.

Instead you want to create a barrier between the hot oil and the raw food that will help the food cook more gently and evenly, instead of burning.or turning leathery.

Breading not only serves these purposes, but also helps reduce spatter, adds a very subtle crunch, and aids with browning.