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iii_bake

Expired Baking Soda

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HI Guys,

Recently my perfect buttermilk cake came out flop.

The top taste chewy with toffy like texture ( it is dry, not sticky).

The cake itself was coarse..

It is like uneven heated.

This happend a few times.

first i thought it was the oven.

I had it checked and changed the Thermostat.

Somehow, the cake still came out the same.

The top which used to be evenly brown with fine texture turned out only brown in the middle. The texture was coarse and tasted like crisp toffee.

The only culprit i can think of now is the baking soda that may be expired.

This buttermilk cake used baking powder 1tsp + baking soda 1/2 tsp.

The baking powder is new...

Can anyone think of anything else that could have gone wrong here?

I have been making this cake for years with perfect result.

I made banana cake this afternoon also ( with Baking soda), it came out with the same top texture.

SOS.

iii :sad:


Edited by iii_bake (log)

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The only culprit i can think of now is the baking soda that may be expired.

iii_bake, I don't think that baking soda expires. Baking powder expires because the ingredients mix with humid air and cause a chemical reaction. But soda is a single ingredient - the most it can do is get lumpy.

Is it possible that the leavenings were not well incorporated? For example if the soda were concentrated in one area that could cause exess browing.

What about overmixing? That might explain the chewiness.

One last possibility I can think of is the buttermilk. When I occassionally use a different brand of buttermilk, I notice that the consistency is not the same. Buttermilk also seems to thicken with age.

Hope this is helpful.

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The only culprit i can think of now is the baking soda that may be expired.

iii_bake, I don't think that baking soda expires. Baking powder expires because the ingredients mix with humid air and cause a chemical reaction. But soda is a single ingredient - the most it can do is get lumpy.

Is it possible that the leavenings were not well incorporated? For example if the soda were concentrated in one area that could cause exess browing.

What about overmixing? That might explain the chewiness.

One last possibility I can think of is the buttermilk. When I occassionally use a different brand of buttermilk, I notice that the consistency is not the same. Buttermilk also seems to thicken with age.

Hope this is helpful.

Hi thanks...about the baking soda...you really scared me because that is the only thing i can pot a blame on :smile: ( I tested it with hot water and it still bubbled though :huh: )

Over mixing...that should not be the case...as the chewy thing is just the top...

Buttermilk...this is possible in the sense that i used frozen Buttermilk which was not smooth...( This brand of buttermilk says it is freezable).

I have never thought about te buttermilk before...

Thank you.

Willkeep u posted.

Thanks again :smile:


Edited by iii_bake (log)

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Freezing buttermilk can sometimes have an effect on the acid level and it must be at a certain percentage to work correctly with the soda.

Add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of buttermilk if there is any possibility it might not work.

I would be more suspicious of the baking powder - some types can deteriorate more rapidly than others and I don't trust the dates on some brands.

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Hi thanks...about the baking soda...you really scared me because that is the only thing i can pot a blame on  :smile: ( I tested it with hot water and it still bubbled though :huh: )

Over mixing...that should not be the case...as the chewy thing is just the top...

Buttermilk...this is possible in the sense that i used frozen Buttermilk which was not smooth...( This brand of buttermilk says it is freezable).

I have never thought about te buttermilk before...

Thank you.

Willkeep u posted.

Thanks again  :smile:

Baking soda usually gets tested with vinegar, I thought. Baking powder is tested with hot water.

My best guess is that you either forgot an ingredient, or you thought you used one when you really used another.

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The only culprit i can think of now is the baking soda that may be expired.

iii_bake, I don't think that baking soda expires. Baking powder expires because the ingredients mix with humid air and cause a chemical reaction. But soda is a single ingredient - the most it can do is get lumpy.

Is it possible that the leavenings were not well incorporated? For example if the soda were concentrated in one area that could cause exess browing.

What about overmixing? That might explain the chewiness.

One last possibility I can think of is the buttermilk. When I occassionally use a different brand of buttermilk, I notice that the consistency is not the same. Buttermilk also seems to thicken with age.

Hope this is helpful.

Hi thanks...about the baking soda...you really scared me because that is the only thing i can pot a blame on :smile: ( I tested it with hot water and it still bubbled though :huh: )

Over mixing...that should not be the case...as the chewy thing is just the top...

Buttermilk...this is possible in the sense that i used frozen Buttermilk which was not smooth...( This brand of buttermilk says it is freezable).

I have never thought about te buttermilk before...

Thank you.

Willkeep u posted.

Thanks again :smile:

Hey there-

If you "tested" the baking soda with water and it bubbled, you've definitely mixed up the baking powder and baking soda. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, and it requires an acid or intense heat to give the CO2 which is the leavening agent. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and an "acid salt" which is a acidic solid that reacts with the sodium bicarbonate when water is added to give CO2. Baking powder can lose its omph over time if it comes into contact with atmospheric moisture...but baking soda does not because it requires an acid (vinegar, buttermilk, etc.) to activate it, or high heat.

Sorry, I do go on. Occupational hazard. :wink:

Take care,

Anne

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we need the recipe iii_bake.

Making a cake that doesn't leaven could have problems with the leavening ingredient, have a cake that bakes and becomes dry and brittle like toffee sounds like the liquifyers aren't being scaled right. If the chemical properties aren't working right, which would mean the sodium bicarbonate became exposed to excess moisture/water while being stored, then the cake should take a considerable amount of time to dry out, and at 350 the top would start to burn before the whole thing dried out.

Having a cake dry out and carmelize improperly sounds like the egg/sugar/NAC2/Water(buttermilk) ratio is considerably off. As long as there is saccharides to caramelize, it should caramelize relatively evenly at moderate temperatures. If the sugar quantity is low, the only thing browning is the proteins, which can be greatly uneven is the sodium content is minimal. Thats why bread without salt struggles to brown, especially before drying out.

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:blink::blink::blink:

Guys: Thank you so much for pitching in.

About the ratio: i love your expalnation, i do need to know more n live reading about it. For this one, it is Flo Braker's Buttermilk cake...which i have successfully done it for years...so i think it is not the issue for this case.

I used the soda, i am sure :smile: ( Probably, this is the only thing i am sure of at the moment ha ha)...because my soda jar is huge...i use it to clean my fruits & veggie too.

Anne...can this be anything with the oven?

I am ashamed to tell you this: i had all ingredients line up, all newly bought.

The batter came out gorgeous but i forgot to take five baking sheets i put at the bottom out...so the cake came out as a disaster...again, the top are will holes and like baked chewy cookies. These sheets were not in the oven for those cases i had problems with.

How can i test if it is the oven?

Can i bake a Chiffon cake and see the result?

SOS,

Thanks

Nantana

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you should still get a rought idea about how well the oven is baking by the time involved. And there really isn't any circumstances I can think of that the cake will come out like a cookie, regardless of temperautre, either you will have long bake time and little caramelization or you will have quick baking time and dry airy crumb.

the ingredients should be accountable.

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I used the soda, i am sure :smile:  ( Probably, this is the only thing i am sure of at the moment ha ha)...because my soda jar is huge...i use it to clean my fruits & veggie too.

Just to be clear, then, when you tested your baking soda, did you use hot water as you stated, or did you use vinegar? Because if you used hot water and it tested fine, then it's not baking soda.

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I used the soda, i am sure :smile:  ( Probably, this is the only thing i am sure of at the moment ha ha)...because my soda jar is huge...i use it to clean my fruits & veggie too.

Just to be clear, then, when you tested your baking soda, did you use hot water as you stated, or did you use vinegar? Because if you used hot water and it tested fine, then it's not baking soda.

I've found that baking soda will fizz lightly in very hot water (recently boiled). I don't know if it's that my tap water is very acidic, but once in cleaning my travel mug I filled it with boiling water, then added spoonful after spoonful of baking soda. Each spoonful fizzed as I put it in, and I put a lot in. I think heat of that level breaks down baking soda.

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About the baking soda...i was thinking about how i make my honey comb stiring the soda in hot syrup and it bubbles...so i just used it with boiling water...it started with little bubbles and continued to release bubbles like when you freeze the soda pop when it is too cold it foaming out of the can.

It is the soda, i can assured you that. I cut the label and put in the jar, the label is there.

About the oven and the ingredients, i made another batch yesterday..with all ingredients "just bought" and the cake came out flat with porous and chewy top.

When i noticed the flat cake ( it used to dome and burst like volcano in the middle, usual pound cake look), i was thinking about how i used the magic cake strip soaked in the wakter and wrapped around the tin to avoid the doming.

What can be wrong now that i have replaced all the ingredients with newly bought stuff? I have been making this cake since i bought Flo's book many many years ago on a regular basis.

Other cakes came out flat with pourous chewy top too.

I will go to my friend's house she has the same gaggenau oven today and bake there.

So confused and despair ha ha :sad:

Thank all of you for helping.

Wish me luck!

iii

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:huh: Guys...Please bear with me a little bit more.

I baked at my friend's to day...

The result? The cake came out exactly like baked at mine.

So it is not the oven.

I tried to recall and sequence the latest happenings:

The cake started to turn poorer and poorer each time i baked. Not floping or bad top but not that tender and the grain was not that fine.

It did not bother me much as it was not that bad, i assumed...maybe the creaming was not that perfect.

Then one day, it came out a disaster. I checked the baking powder. It expired 6 months ago. I then assumed the poorer n poorer result was from the deteriorating quality of the baking powder.

I bought a new one.

The cake still came out ugly, another total disaster.

So i checked the oven. It seemed to me the oven was not functionoing properly.

I had the thermostat changed.

Still disaster.

I bought all new ingredients....still disaster.

I baked with a friend's oven...still disaster.

I measured everything accurately.

The recipe is Flo Braker's. The one I baked for years regularly.

What i can think of is i changed the brand of Buttermilk and the baking powder is "double action".

Is this possible?

What is the difference between normal baking pwder n the double action?

Why it worked with one brand of Buttermilk and not the other?

I am too paranoid to embark on another round of baking.

SOS.

iii

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Now I'm getting myself turned around in circles! :wacko: Are we talking about baking powder or baking soda here? If we are talking about baking powder now, and you are in the U.S., the vast majority of the stuff sold here is "double acting," that is, it reacts once when combined with water, and again when heat is applied. So to test it you add it to water and make sure it bubbles. Of course, that only tests half the reaction, it can't check to make sure it reacts again with heat. Unlike baking soda, baking powder has a finite shelf-life, so you need to periodically replace your box. The change in the buttermilk could conceivably change the level of acidity, reducing the reaction with the baking soda, however. In my experience most brands of buttermilk have reasonably similar levels of acidity, but I don't know what it's like where you are.

How would you describe the looks of your recent failures? Did they just never rise, or was the crumb unacceptable, or what? It sounds like you've covered almost all of the normal things that we would check to diagnose a cake failure, so any additional detail you can give would be helpful.

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Now I'm getting myself turned around in circles!  :wacko: Are we talking about baking powder or baking soda here? If we are talking about baking powder now, and you are in the U.S., the vast majority of the stuff sold here is "double acting," that is, it reacts once when combined with water, and again when heat is applied. So to test it you add it to water and make sure it bubbles. Of course, that only tests half the reaction, it can't check to make sure it reacts again with heat. Unlike baking soda, baking powder has a finite shelf-life, so you need to periodically replace your box. The change in the buttermilk could conceivably change the level of acidity, reducing the reaction with the baking soda, however. In my experience most brands of buttermilk have reasonably similar levels of acidity, but I don't know what it's like where you are.

How would you describe the looks of your recent failures? Did they just never rise, or was the crumb unacceptable, or what? It sounds like you've covered almost all of the normal things that we would check to diagnose a cake failure, so any additional detail you can give would be helpful.

Thank you for offering your help...i do need this.

First here is the recipe:

Cake Flour 250 g

Baking Powder 1 1/2t

Baking Soda 1/2t

salt 1/4 t

Egg 3

Buttermilk 1 cup

Vanilla

Butter 6 oz (170g)

granulated sugar 300 g

My first Failure: Bad crumbs & Dried...edible but you know it can be better ( I found out that the baking Powder expired 6 months ago)

Following failure: Even with replaced new Baking Powder ( double action), the cake came out worse...sticky porous top...when it is just out of the oven you can taste the chewy like a lot of sugar came afloat to the top.

I checked the oven and cahnge the thermostat. still disaaster...

I then blame the frozen buttermilk.

The last time twice i made,

I used all new ingrdients, one with my own oven and the other a friend's.

again, i have been making this for years. It is the best yellow cake...very fin tender crumbs...smooth top...rise high.

I have been using the same baking powder, baking soda. what i changed is the flour, sugar, buttermilk.

What can have gone wrong?

Thanks

iii :unsure:


Edited by iii_bake (log)

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When was the last time you successfully made this recipe? Was it at your current location or have you moved since then? If you recently moved to a higher elevation then that would also cause problems with your cake.

Also, what type of flour did you use previously and which one are you using now?


Edited by sheetz (log)

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When was the last time you successfully made this recipe? Was it at your current location or have you moved since then? If you recently moved to a higher elevation then that would also cause problems with your cake.

I moved but just from Bangkok to Singapore.

I sucessfully made it here in Singapore a couple of times though but i cannot recall if i had used different baking powder. ( when i first moved here i could not find double action so i used something that is not double action one)

TO elaborate on this baking powder experience, when i first moved i made my volcano brownie with this single action baking powder and the brownies did not erupt like a volcano like when i made it in BKK so i added a bit more of baking soda ...it worked perfect.

( sorry for any confusion caused about baking powder vs baking soda, i first i thought it was the soda that caused all the troubles but i cahnged the soda later and still did not work....)

The double action baking powder i have contains 30% baking soda.

Is it possible that this plus additional 1/2t baking soda means too much baking soda for "this" buttermilk. ( again, it worked fine with buttermilk i used in BKK).


Edited by iii_bake (log)

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Well, it seems like you may be down to trial-and-error testing. I would start with your theory that the new buttermilk is either more or less acidic than what you were using before, and bake two cakes, one with a little more making soda and one with a little less, and see if the results start to change back to the way you remember. Based on your description of the problem, it doesn't sound like the protein content of your flour is the issue here, though I can't rule it out completely. Has any of your other equipment changed, like your mixer? Does this recipe call for creaming the butter and sugar? If so, one possible culprit could be that your new equipment is not doing as good a job as your old at the creaming step, which is critical for proper cake structure. Are you making sure the butter does not get too warm during that step? I'm starting to grasp at straws here!

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Well, it seems like you may be down to trial-and-error testing. I would start with your theory that the new buttermilk is either more or less acidic than what you were using before, and bake two cakes, one with a little more making soda and one with a little less, and see if the results start to change back to the way you remember. Based on your description of the problem, it doesn't sound like the protein content of your flour is the issue here, though I can't rule it out completely. Has any of your other equipment changed, like your mixer? Does this recipe call for creaming the butter and sugar? If so, one possible culprit could be that your new equipment is not doing as good a job as your old at the creaming step, which is critical for proper cake structure. Are you making sure the butter does not get too warm during that step? I'm starting to grasp at straws here!

Thank you.

I will start baking again in a few days then. Need to tune myself back a bit.

Still haunting ha ha!

Will definitely report the next result !

Thanks again :smile:

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i may be having trouble getting all the facts straight, but I think you said the times your recipe failed, you may have been using single action baking powder. If you've used double action in the past with good results, I think you've found your culprit.

"Double-acting (D.A.) baking powders are the most common type of baking powder in US supermarkets. The first "action" refers to the release of gas when the baking soda in the powder reacts with an acidic liquid. D.A. baking powders contain a dry acid which does not react with the baking soda in the powder until water is added; at that point the baking soda dissolves, the acid dissolves, and the two can now mix and the reaction shown above occurs.

The second "action" refers to the release of gas when the batter is heated in the oven or on a griddle. This relies on the presence of the slower acting acid, S.A.S. which only combines with soda when the temperature increases." from http://users.rcn.com/sue.interport/food/bakgsoda.html


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

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i may be having trouble getting all the facts straight, but I think you said the times your recipe failed, you may have been using single action baking powder. If you've used double action in the past with good results, I think you've found your culprit.

"Single-acting baking powders are characterized by the type of acid they include. Tartrate baking powders contain both cream of tartar (potassium acid tartrate) and tartaric acid. These create gas quickly when combined with baking soda in the presence of liquid, so the batter must be cooked quickly or it will go flat. Phosphate baking powders contain either calcium phosphate or disodium pyrophosphate (source of sodium pyrophosphate). They work a little slower than the tartrate baking powders, but most of the gas is still created outside of the oven and therefore can be lost. S.A.S. baking powders have sodium aluminum sulfate (alum) as the acid. S.A.S. baking powders react slowly at room temperature and release more of the gas when heated. The phosphate and tartrate baking powders react rapidly at room temperature to release the leavening gas, which means that the batter has to be cooked quickly after the liquid ingredients have been added. On the other hand, the S.A.S. baking powders are better for products that will sit a while before being cooked. The problem with S.A.S. powders is that they have a bitter taste. They are used in combination with other leavening agents so not as much is needed. S.A.S. is often used in D.A. powders.

Double-acting (D.A.) baking powders are the most common type of baking powder in US supermarkets. The first "action" refers to the release of gas when the baking soda in the powder reacts with an acidic liquid. D.A. baking powders contain a dry acid which does not react with the baking soda in the powder until water is added; at that point the baking soda dissolves, the acid dissolves, and the two can now mix and the reaction shown above occurs.

The second "action" refers to the release of gas when the batter is heated in the oven or on a griddle. This relies on the presence of the slower acting acid, S.A.S. which only combines with soda when the temperature increases." from http://users.rcn.com/sue.interport/food/bakgsoda.html

Kindly elaborate more on this :huh: :

What will happen to a recipe calling for both baking powder n baking soda...and the baking powder already has 30% of the soda in it.

Will it be too much soda? with the % of the chemistry change?

Thanks

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usually the ones with soda and powder have something like buttermilk or lemon juice in them...it's all chemistry.

I learned this once trying to make a cake lemony by adding not only zest, but lemon juice and citric acid...it completely failed to rise. the cake didn't call for soda in the recipe.

glad you enjoyed the huge elaboration ;) copied it directly from the site I referenced.

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If you accidentally switch your baking powder and soda measurements, that can really mess up a cake. I was making this wedding cake once.... :shock: One layer was taking forever to bake, not rising right, browning weirdly, then it hit me that I'd switched my leavener measurements. Very coarse crumb, sunken in the middle, and tasted terrible too, not salvageable at all.

Maybe you put the baking soda in the wrong jar or somehow got the measurements twisted around?

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What will happen to a recipe calling for both baking powder n baking soda...and the baking powder already has 30% of the soda in it.

Will it be too much soda? with the % of the chemistry change?

So here's the the same information in (hopefully) more understandable language: baking powder contains both acids (either one or two, depending on if it is single or double acting) and bases (the opposite of an acid: baking soda, a.k.a. bicarbonate soda, is a base). When you mix this with liquid, the acids and bases dissolve in the liquid and then react with each other, creating carbon dioxide, which makes your baked good rise. The powder is carefully designed so that the acids and bases are in exact proportions, and exactly cancel each other out. If you have double acting baking powder, there are two acids, the second of which doesn't start to react until it warms up. It is still designed so that the total reaction completely cancels out all the acids and bases (i.e. it uses up all the baking soda). So then, if your recipe calls for an additional acidic ingredient, like buttermilk, then you might want to use that acid to do some more leavening. Note that doing this will reduce the acidity of the finished product, which is not always desirable. Anyway, to do that, you would add additional base into your recipe to react with the acid: in most cases, you would use baking soda, which is a base, to do this. So it is very common for a recipe to call for both, but only if there is an additional acidic ingredient. In your case, you have buttermilk, so it is pretty normal. If your buttermilk is not acidic enough, however, the reaction won't work, and you won't get that extra rise you were looking for. I have never run into this, but is is possible. Try adding a little baking soda to a bit of buttermilk and make sure that it starts to bubble.

Regarding the potential mix-up of your jars: it is very easy to test for. Just take a little bit of what you think is your baking powder and put it in a little water: it should start to bubble when the acids and bases dissolve and start to combine. If it does not, either it is really baking soda, which is just a base and nothing to react with it, or it is many years past its expiration date :smile:.

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