Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Pains of Baking Day without Baking Soda

Sooo, I've run in to a problem. I am a baker. It runs in my veins. It's one of the few things that keeps me sane, especially right now with a teething three month old. I am also hungry at the moment, very hungry, and I want snack foods. My loving hubby has asked for all kinds of sweets, most of which require one crucial ingredient that I don't have: baking soda. So, what's the big deal? Is it substitutable for baking powder? And after an excruciatingly long three minutes of Googling, the answer....


Kind of. You need three times as much baking powder as baking soda to do the same job. And it changes the flavor just a bit, but not necessarily in a bad way. And skip the salt. Me, I want graham crackers. Hubby, he wants cinnamon sugar pretzel bites, but I don't have nearly enough baking powder to make up for the lack of soda, so tough luck. Maybe next time, my dear, maybe next time.
Thank you, Mique from Thirty Handmade Days, for the original graham cracker recipe! I found it on Pintrest. I am a fan of the honey flavor, but you can also make them cinnamon sugar, which is also good.

Okay, so for a few notes from my experiment.

1) Cooking time- I baked these for two different cooking times. Batch one I baked for 22 minutes because they were not browning like I thought that they should. They looked right and tasted right, but they turned out to be hard as a rock. I will still eat them, but probably only after soaking them in milk. Batch two turned out a whole lot better. I only baked these for 15 minutes. They didn't really brown all that much, but they are soft like good graham crackers should be, and taste like they should.

2) Parchment paper- This is my frienemy. Without parchment paper, I never would have gotten these off the pan in one piece, making it my friend. On the other hand, it likes to leave small pieces of itself attached to my graham crackers, and thus my enemy. Oh for non-stick cookie sheets! Why must I endure with non non-stick pans? Sigh. Oh well, they are still delicious.

3) I am extremely impatient when I am hungry. 20 minutes in the freezer was just fine. Whoever has the patience for 2 hours in the fridge, I applaud you.

4) I will never buy graham crackers again. My hubby loves them too, and they have satisfied his sweet tooth.

Homemade Graham Crackers-Mique's recipe

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda (or 3 tsp. baking powder)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low to incorporate.

2) Add cold, cubed butter and mix on low until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.

3) In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together.

4) Divide in half and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, about 2 hours in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.

5) Once chilled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll each dough sheet into a long rectangle about 15"x10" and 1/8" thick. (TIP: roll out onto a Silpat or parchment paper so that transferring to the baking sheet will be easier.)

6) Using a knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough rectangle into four columns and three rows. Poke holes into crackers using a fork or toothpick.

7) Repeat with the second batch of dough.
The crackers may not all be the same size, however if you want a more consistent and uniform look use a square scalloped cookie cutter.
8) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

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