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Wednesday April 1 2015
6:37 AM EDT

Cool Science - Baking Freshness

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Cool Science - Baking Freshness

Many of us don’t bake regularly except for special events … like the holidays. If you haven’t used your baking soda or powder since last year, how do you know if it’s still fresh?

Chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder lose their effectiveness over time, which can cause flat cakes and dense cookies! Fortunately, there is a simple way to test their freshness using science.

For baking soda, put a few teaspoons of vinegar in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and watch what happens. If bubbles form, your baking soda is still fresh. The more bubbles, the fresher the baking soda. No bubbles means it’s time to get a new box.

Baking powder is activated by a combination of heat and moisture. So we’ll mix 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. Again, if the baking powder is fresh, we’ll see bubbles.

Remember, cold water will not work for this test because baking powder needs heat to react.

To keep your baking soda and powder fresh, store them in air tight containers in a cool, dry location. If kept in ideal conditions, they should last from 12 to 18 months. Just make sure to test them before using to ensure the best baked goods possible.

Now that’s cool science!

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