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Why does cookie dough need a leavening agent?


Sobaicecream
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I was thinking about making chocolate chip cookies recently, and searching around for recipes, I noticed several times the suggestion to put the cookie dough in the fridge before baking to let it firm up.

So I was wondering, first of all, wouldn't the baking soda/powder lose its power sitting that long in the fridge? And second, why do cookies even need leavening at all?

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No it won't lose it's power, the leavening through single acting baking powder and baking soda is only reacted through heat. In fact it will just slow down the double acting baking powder.

Have you ever tried making cookies without leavening? Try it sometime then you'll get your answer. You want a little "give" when you bite into a cookie. If it's not leavened then it will just be a solid mass, mainly with a translucent appeal in the middle due to the fat that hasn't expanded.

Cookies like chocolate chip cookies don't act like shordough as in a crust almost. They are kind like baking mini crispy cakes.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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No it won't lose it's power, the leavening through single acting baking powder and baking soda is only reacted through heat.  In fact it will just slow down the double acting baking powder.

Oh! I always thought baking soda was instantly activated the minute it got mixed in with any liquid. That's great to know!

Have you ever tried making cookies without leavening?  Try it sometime then you'll get your answer.

I think I'll just take your word for it! :raz:

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Cookies like chocolate chip cookies don't act like shordough as in a crust almost.  They are kind like baking mini crispy cakes.

Chiantiglace - You're right! The word "cookie" actually means "little cake". It comes from the work "koekje" in Dutch and pretty much covers all small baked items. And growing up in the Netherlands and other places, I can tell you that no-one can beat the Dutch assortment of "koekjes". They have the widest variety and are absolutely the best. It took me a long time to get used to the soft texture of most cookies in the US. At home mose cookies are thin and crisp. Now, however, I do like a good chocolate chip cookie, but it took me a while to understand its appeal.

Lysbeth

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QUOTE(chiantiglace @ Jan 26 2005, 01:06 AM)

No it won't lose it's power, the leavening through single acting baking powder and baking soda is only reacted through heat.  In fact it will just slow down the double acting baking powder.

Oh! I always thought baking soda was instantly activated the minute it got mixed in with any liquid. That's great to know!

A bit of a correction here:

single acting baking powder, as opposed to double acting, does only react when heat is applied, that's correct.

But baking soda DOES beging to react when moistened.....that's a fact.

Double acting baking powder reacts first when moistened and secondly when heat is applied.

Wondering.....does anyone use single acting baking powder? I never have.

Another good thing to know is that all leaveners eventually do lose their power over time...especially when they are sitting in a pre-made batter or dough. I make huge amounts

of cookie dough and the fresher dough most definitely bakes off better than the older dough.

If you are just refrigerating a cookie dough overnight there's virtually no difference, but I'm talking about a week. After that amount of time you see a difference, but even then it's not really

that big of a deal.

Another piece o'trivia.....

baking soda is one of the major things that can contribute to how much a cookie spreads in the oven. Leavening refers to how much a product expands, and this could either be by puffing up or spreading out. :smile:

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One comment though. You'll note that tollhouse cookies call out for baking soda. But there is very little acid in the cookie dough to react with the baking soda. It turns out that baking soda is a browning ingredient, to help give the cookie a more attractive color.

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Hmm. Didn't know that, i fumble with information a lot. I read too much in too shor amount of time. When I was typing i was under the impression that Baking soda was activated under moisture but did not actually react until heat was induced. Kinda like an order waiting to be called in. I apologize.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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chefpeon, I think I use single-acting baking powder. I've never seen the double-acting kind before. I hope this isn't a stupid question, but why would you want something to activate before it went into the oven?

One comment though.  You'll note that tollhouse cookies call out for baking soda.  But there is very little acid in the cookie dough to react with the baking soda.  It turns out that baking soda is a browning ingredient, to help give the cookie a more attractive color.

But if the soda has nothing to react with, does it still work? Or would a tollhouse cookie be actually unleavened, or...half leavened?

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