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Asked by cb2cook. Answered on 20th January 2013

Full question

I have looked at Nigella's "Homemade Instant Pancakes" which calls for baking power and baking soda. In her "American Breakfast Pancakes" there is baking power, however there is no baking soda called for. Can you tell me why? Many thanks Craig

Our answer

Both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) are raising agents and the amounts added to the pancake mix will affect how much the pancakes rise up during cooking. If using regular milk then baking powder or a combination of baking powder and baking soda work best. If using more acidic buttermilk then you could use only bicarbonate of soda.

A combination of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda will give slightly more rise and a slightly fluffier pancake.

However some people find that bicarbonate of soda can taste a little bitter and generally you will find that pancakes made with bicarbonate of soda will have a slightly higher proportion of sugar in the recipe to mask this bitterness.

It is really a matter of personal preference as to which recipe you use.

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