BACKGROUND RESEARCH PAPER

BAKING POWDER
INTRODUCTION (Your introduction should include an explanation of why you chose this topic and should clearly state your investigation question) As someone who loves baking, I have made many, many batches of muffins over the years. I have used lots of different recipes. Some of these recipes have worked better than others. Baking is based on scientific principals and as in any scientific undertaking, the quantities of components used in baking are important. I became interested in how much baking powder is required for successful muffins when I noticed the wide difference between the quantities of baking powder given in different recipes. Some recipes specify 1 teaspoon (5 g) of baking powder per 1 cup (140 g) of flour. Some recipes specify 2 or even 3 teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of flour. A few weeks ago I decided to try a new recipe. It required two cups of flour (280g) and 6 teaspoons of flour (30 g). The problem was that I had only 3 teaspoons (15 g) of baking powder left in the packet. What I wanted to know was how would the muffins be affected if I reduce the amount of baking powder I used in the recipe? Beginning with this specific question about one particular batch of muffins I came up with the following general question to base my science project on. What is the ration of baking powder to plain flour required to make a successful batch of muffins?

BACKGROUND RESEARCH QUESTIONS (You need to answer at least three of the most relevant questions from your back ground research plan) What is baking powder? Baking Powder is a raising agent made of an alkali, (sodium bicarbonate baking soda) mixed with an acid (cream of tartar) and cornflour. The cornflour ensures the mixture doesn’t get moist and start reacting in the container. If you ever need to make your own baking powder, you can substitute one teaspoon of baking powder for ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. How does baking powder make muffins rise? Baking powder is activated by moisture and heat. The cream of tartar (the acid) and baking soda (alkali) react with each other when they get wet and carbon dioxide bubbles are released. These bubbles expand and cause the baking to rise. The bubbles cannot escape because they are held in place by the eggs in the mixture to create a fluffy, airy texture. The chemistry behind baking powder explains why we mix muffin ingredients in a certain order - liquids are added last so that the baking powder only reacts at the end and recipes often warn against over mixing, which can result in vital bubbles of gas bursting. Yeast, another popular rising agent, also releases carbon dioxide, but this takes 2-3 hours. Baking powder works immediately, which is why it has become such an important ingredient in modern baking. What happens to baking if not enough baking powder is added? What happens if too much is added? Using too little baking powder results in very few carbon dioxide bubbles being created, so muffins turn out flat and unappealing. Using too much baking powder in a recipe means too many carbon dioxide bubbles are created. The bubbles all join up to form larger bubbles, which rise and burst out of the baking. Muffins may rise high but then collapse because of this. Too much baking powder in a recipe may also cause the muffins to have an unpleasant chemical taste. How much baking powder do experts recommend to use? I have looked for advice from different cooking experts and baking powder manufacturers. Below is a chart showing their recommended ration of baking powder to 1 cup of plain flour. Expert Annabel Langbein Gordon Ramsay Edmonds NZ Alison Holst Amount of baking powder required for 1 cup (240 g) of flour 5 grams 5 grams 7.5 grams 7.5 grams

Baking IA NZ Jamie Oliver

10 grams 10 grams

As you can see, even the experts cannot agree on a ratio of baking powder to flour. The range is from 5 grams to 10 grams of baking powder per 140 grams of flour (1 – 2 teaspoons per cup). This information from experts helps me to make a sensible estimate of how much baking powder is required, but it is not exact enough to answer my question without conducting an experiment. KEY WORDS AND CONCEPTS (Your research paper should include a definition of key words and concepts – you can include this information in your answers, or you could choose to place it separately as I have done here) Acid The word acid comes from the Latin acidus, which means “sour.” One of the properties acids share is their sour taste. Acids react when they come into contact with metals, carbonates and alkalis. Some acids are very strong and care is needed when working with them as they could cause injury or damage to surfaces and equipment. However acids are very common and many harmless acids are found in the kitchen. They have important roles to play in food science. Cream of tartar, the acid component in baking powder, is one type of acid used in cooking. Citric acid is found in fruit such as lemons and limes, lactic acid is found in dairy produces, and carbonic acid can be found in fizzy drinks. Alkali The word Alkali comes from the Arabic language and means “the calcined ashes.” An alkali is a substance that reacts to an acid. An alkali can dissolve in water and strong alkalis can be corrosive, which means they can give caustic burns and care should also be taken when using them. Common foods that contain alkali include fruit, vegetables and dairy. Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is heavier than air. It does not burn or explode and is not poisonous. Carbon dioxide is very important in cooking. It is the gas that gives bread and baked products a light and airy texture. Muffin A muffin is a type of “quick bread” that is baked in small portions and is often sweetened. “Quick bread” refers to any type of leavened dough product that uses leavening agents other than yeast. HYPOTHESIS If I reduce the ration of baking powder in my muffins to less than 5 grams (1 teaspoon) per 140 grams (1 cup) of flour then the muffins will not rise enough to taste good BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baking Industry Association NZ http://www.bianz.co.nz/ Edmonds New Zealand http://www.edmondscooking.co.nz/ Annabel Langbein http://www.annabel-langbein.com/cooking/pantry/ Alison Holst http://www.holst.co.nz/Recipes Gordon Ramsay http://www.gordonramsay.com/index2.html Jamie Oliver http://www.jamieoliver.com/

Original Muffin Recipe Ingredient quantities have been given in weight to ensure consistency when making multiple batches of muffins during the investigation. 280 g 30 g 80 g 100 g 2 100 ml 250 ml 5 ml flour baking powder castor sugar chocolate chips eggs oil milk vanilla essence

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