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My father used to say, “Chuck doesn’t do anything in halves.” He was right: sometimes its a virtue and sometimes a curse. He and my mother taught me to cook, sometimes using cookbooks, like Julia Child's, but more frequently just winging it. This site is a roller coaster ride of recipes, articles, ingredients and anything else that involves cooking and presenting food. There is something here for everybody from beginners to experts.

What the Heck is Baking Powder?

I was confused about this for a large portion of my adult life. How does that happen? It was nagging at me for a long, long, time before I spent 2 couple of minutes to read about it.

Question: What makes batters or dough Rise?

Answer: CO2 (carbon dioxide) bubbles cause batter or dough to rise.
The bubbles can come from: a) Yeast releasing CO2. b) An acid and a base reacting together and releasing CO2.

baking soda

Baking Soda
- This is Sodium Bicarbonate. It reacts immediately with acids to create CO2. Buttermilk or sour cream are frequently the source of acid.

Baking Powder - Sodium Bicarbonate + Powdered Acid. Releases CO2 when exposed to moisture. Doesn't need an acid present like Baking Soda does since it contains the acid already.

Double Acting Baking Powder - Sounds complicated. A second Powdered Acid (Sodium Aluminum Sulfate) is added; This acid only reacts with the Sodium Bicarbonate when the temp exceeds 140°F. The first acid starts the bubbles, and then during cooking the second acid kicks and the bubbles expand. Hence "Double Acting."

Cooking Temps

Chicken breast 165

Chicken thigh 170 or more

Pork med well 145

Pork med 140

Rack of lamb med rare 131

Beef very rare 125

Beef rare 130

Beef med rare 135

Duck Breast 126

Salmon med 118

Disclaimer: USDA stds dictate much higher temps. To be super safe, cook everything until it is dry and crunchy