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Contained here is information on other ingredients that do not quite fit into one category.
ACIDS: In baking, acids play a vital role in a recipe. In bread, acids affect yeast fermentation and extends shelf life through the use of vinegar (acetic acids) and cultured wheat. In batters and cakes, acids affect the chemical leavening. “Acid” is a Latin term meaning “sour” - any acidic substance has a sour taste such as lemon juice or vinegar. Acids, such as sour cream, buttermilk, lemon or lime juice, and fruit, add sour notes to baking recipes to enhance flavor, or balance flavors of sweetness. Other acidic ingredients can include Ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, honey, coffee or cocoa powders. Acids affect leavening of a baked good; If an acidic ingredient is included in a recipe, an alkali ingredient (base), such as baking soda, must be added balance the substance out. In effect, they act as a leavening agent increasing the volume of the baked good.
Acidic pH is the unit of measure used to express the degree of acidity and alkalinity of a substance on a scale from 0 to 14. The midpoint 7 represents neutral, below 7 indicates higher hydrogen ion concentrations (acidic) and pH above 7 indicates higher hydroxyl ion concentrations (alkaline). pH levels in baking can be very critical for reactions to place and for preservation.
|Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2.5 to 4.5 and above
|Freshly squeezed orange juice
Bottled Lemon Juice
|4.0 to 4.5
|Milk of Magnesia
|Chocolate, honey, molasses, sour cream, buttermilk, brown sugar, natural cocoa powder, etc.
Types of Acids
Acetic Acid: The prime ingredient in vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar. Used with a leavening agent (baking soda) for the production of carbon dioxide gas.
Citric Acid: Naturally found in many fruits, mainly sour fruit such as grapefruits, oranges, limes, lemons, gooseberries, plums, pineapples and peaches. Used primarily as a flavoring or firming agent.
- Lemon Juice: Bottled Versus Fresh: Lemons vary in their acidity, and bottled lemon juice does not. ReaLemon, like other varieties of bottled lemon juice, contains oil from the peel, as well as sulfites.
The Code of Federal Regulations (Title 21, volume 2, revised April 1, 2010), includes this FDA rule: Lemon juice prepared from concentrate, like ReaLemon, must have “a titratable acidity content of not less than 4.5 percent, by weight, calculated as anhydrous citrus acid.”Although lemons vary in acidity, they generally don’t vary much. The least acidic lemon found among all those tested in dozens of studies, an uncured Eureka from California, had an acid level of 4.53 percent. The most acidic uncured Eureka tested at 6.50 percent, and cured Eureka lemons ranged from 5.71 to 7.42 percent. Lisbon lemons from California varied less, from 4.79 to 4.86 percent acid before curing and 5.25 to 5.32 percent afterward.
Florida lemons vary no more in their acidity than California lemons. In one Florida study, samples ranged from 5.16 to 6.41, in another from 5.24 to 5.92. (from a Gardeners' Table, 5-29-2013)
- Lime Juice: Citrus latifolia Tanaka, the Bearss, Persian, or Tahiti lime, is about as acid as a lemon, with a titratable acidity of about 5 to 8 percent. Citrus aurantifolia Swingle, the Mexican, West Indian, Key, or bartenders’ lime, has a titratable acidity of about 7 to 8 percent. So substituting lime juice for lemon juice should always be safe. (from a Gardeners' Table, 5-29-2013)
Tartaric Acid: A naturally occurring product. Commercially, it is obtained as a by product from wine making. It is found in cream of tartar. It can be added to recipes to help regulate the pH of food.
Vinegar: Distilled vinegar, such as white vinegar, or white distilled vinegar is made by the fermentation of distilled alcohol, a vegetable source.
COOKING WAX: Cooking wax is the same as paraffin wax (Parawax) or household wax. It may be used in both canning and cooking.
CREAM OF TARTAR: Do not use cream of tartar when beating egg whites in a copper bowl. It is made from the acidic sediment that develops on the side of wine caskets. Since most acids we use in the kitchen are in liquid form, cream of tartar in its dry, white powdered form, is particularly useful. If you find it in recipes for cookies or cakes, chances are they're old recipes, since the combination of cream of tartar and baking soda was the precursor to modern baking powder.
I always store my cream of tartar in an airtight package in a dry place, away from humidity (not in fridge -- but, don't throw yours away if you have; it is still good even if it isn't stored right) where it lasts forever. It may cake over time, but you can crush cream of tartar before using.
NOTE: Cream of tartar can be found in some grocery stores, but you can order it online.
Cream of tartar performs many functions. It used to give a creamier texture to sugary things like candy and frosting and to stabilize and increase the volume of beaten egg whites.
Is used to stabilize and can be used to increase the volume when whipping egg whites. There is no exact substitute, but you can add a pinch of salt instead. Salt has a less stabilizing effect.
Performs yet another function in candy-making: its acidity affects sugar as it cooks, preventing unwanted crystallization creating a creamier texture. .
Mixed with baking soda, it becomes double-acting baking powder, a leavening agent. 1 teaspoon baking powder = Blend 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
A teaspoon of baking powder will substitute for 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
It is also used to reduce discoloration in boiled vegetables such as artichokes-just add half a teaspoon to the water.
FOOD ADDITIVES: Food additives are substances added intentionally to foodstuffs to perform certain technological functions, for example to color, to sweeten or to preserve.
MARSHMALLOWS: Marshmallows, unlike its cousins in a jar (Marshmallow Creme), are 'puffed' and rolled in corn starch. They basically contain the same ingredients depending upon manufacturer.
PARAFFIN WAX OR PARAWAX, BAKER'S WAX, OR COOKING WAX: is classified as a chemical preservative, is widely used on fruits, vegetables, and candy to make them shiny and pretty and to retard moisture loss and spoilage. Paraffin is still commonly used to seal home-canned jellies and jams. You can find paraffin wax, also sometimes called baker's wax, in your grocery store where canning jars and supplies are sold. HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE WITH PARAFFIN WAX.
Waxes are made from vegetable oils, palm oil derivatives, synthetic resins, as well as other materials. Yes, it is edible. However, some paraffin is not intended to be ingested, such as that sold for candle making, so check the label.
Paraffin wax is often added to melted chocolate. It gives it a nice, glossy finish, a harder shell and helps it remain solid at room temperature. It also keeps the chocolate "dippable" for a longer period of time. If you are dipping small items, you can leave the paraffin out of the recipe, especially when using chocolate chips. For making larger chocolate items, tempering is the way to go.
Be aware that paraffin is flammable when overheated, so warm it gently in a double-boiler only to the point where it is melted.
1/2 cake = 2 ounces Paraffin. Paraffin is usually sold in a 16 oz box which contains 4 4-ounce cakes of wax. Usually only 1/4 - 1/2 of a cake is necessary for a single bag of chocolate chips. Slightly more paraffin is necessary for semi-sweet chocolate chips since it contains less cocoa butter and sugar.
TEMPEH: Tempeh comes in several flavors combining soybeans with a variety of grains, seeds and nuts, and should be marinated before it is cooked. It is extremely versatile and may be sautéed, grilled, broiled, used in stir-fries or simmered in a flavored broth. Add it to entrées, soups, stews, casseroles or sandwiches instead of beef or poultry. Crumbled, it makes great chili or meat sauce for pasta.
TOFU: Although there are several kinds of tofu or bean curd available, tofu basically comes in hard and soft textures.
Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu: You will see firm and extra-firm blocks of bean curd; however, there is little difference. They both lend themselves toward slicing or dicing. Firm tofu holds its shape and can be cooked using several methods, including sautéing, grilling, broiling or braising. Marinating tofu overnight noticeably enhances the flavor. Marinated tofu can be grilled, broiled or baked. This is a good way to enjoy the taste of tofu without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Soft Tofu: There are several varieties of soft tofu or silken tofu. Silken tofu resembles custard and has a creamy, delicate texture and flavor. It is best used in making sauces, desserts, dressings and soups. Many stocks or broths make a simple and rewarding meal when a few spoonfuls of silken tofu are added.
Freezing Tofu: Tofu may also be frozen, then defrosted to change the texture. This freezing process makes the tofu chewier and meatier—taking on a fork-and-knife texture. Freeze the whole block of tofu or cut it into 1-inch thick slices and freeze on a plate overnight. The following day, defrost and follow your favorite tofu recipe.
Pressing Tofu: Tofu contains a good deal of water. You may press the tofu overnight in your refrigerator by placing it in a colander with a plate underneath. Top the tofu with another plate and weight it down with a jar or can. The excess water will drain off producing bean curd with a firmer texture.