A cookie recipe I used recently instructed me to dissolve the baking soda in hot water before adding. I've never encountered this before. Does anyone know what the reasoning behind this is?
(Link to recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-chocolate-chip-cookies/detail.aspx)
1 teaspoon baking soda will take a very long time, if ever, to dissolve in a mere two teaspoons of room temperature water. From a chemical standpoint, you are using hot water to ensure the baking soda is entirely dissolved, and hence evenly distributed, within the mixture. The hot water will cool down pretty quickly in the mixture, since it is such a small quantity, but by baking soda will not precipitate out of solution all that quickly, and even if it did, by that point it would be fully mixed within the solution.
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Otherwise, from a culinary standpoint, for which I claim no expertise, it appears jim_v has it right.
Dissolving the baking soda before adding it to cookie dough helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much and also helps to evenly incorporate it into your dough. Try it! I first heard about it a few months ago over at Something Swanky.
I know this isn't as helpful as it should be, but I have a similar recipe and I just thought it was crazy to dissolve 1t of Soda in 1T of boiling water. Who wants to MEASURE one tablespoon of boiling water? Then I read an article in cooks illustrated (I think) that explained why it was legit. for the life of me I can't remember where I read it.
That is because baking soda helps speed up the the maillard reaction. You can speed up the caramelization of onions with baking soda, although you have to be careful because it will affect the flavour.
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