5 Best Baking Habits for Weight Loss

How does high altitude affect my sourdough starter?

How do I create a sourdough starter?

I’ve written a detailed post with pictures and clear instructions on creating a sourdough starter in 7 easy steps.

What kind of water should I use to feed my sourdough starter?

Regular drinking water from the tap is just fine. Fill up a large container and let it sit on the counter overnight before using it to allow any chlorine in your tap water to dissipate.

Should I cover my sourdough starter?

I like to keep mine covered loosely to keep anything from falling inside the jar and to keep the starter from drying out. The lid does not have to be airtight. I loosely place a glass lid on top, but it’s not sealed shut.

My sourdough starter gets a clear, thin liquid that smells like alcohol on top. Should I throw it out?

You can either discard this liquid (or “hooch,” as it’s commonly called) or stir it back into the culture. I typically stir it all in together. This can be a sign you’re not feeding your starter often enough.

What kind of container should I use for my sourdough starter?

You can use just about anything. I like to use clear glass containers to observe the sides and bottom, and these Weck jars are my favorite. They have a glass lid that rests on top just in case too much pressure builds up inside the jar from fermentation. Canning glass jars are also a perfect choice.

In your starter guide, you say to use whole-grain rye flour. Can I use something else?

I call for whole-grain rye flour when creating a starter because the additional nutrients in rye flour help speed up the process. You can certainly use whole wheat flour or even white (sifted) flour if you’d like, but I find rye flour to be the most effective flour at the beginning. If you don’t have rye flour, then whole wheat works!

Can my sourdough starter be above (or below) 100% hydration?

Of course. When it’s significantly hot and dry here in the summer, and the flour seems to need more water, I’ll increase my hydration to 105% or higher as required. You can adjust the amount of water you use at each refreshment so the mixture displays the desired viscosity. As the humidity level in your environment changes, adjust the hydration up and down by 5% to compensate.

How can I adjust my sourdough starter feeding schedule around my work schedule?

For a very in-depth discussion on how to maintain your starter in the fridge during the week and use it to bake on the weekend, head over to my Weekend Baking Schedule guide! Additionally, see the previous question for what “tools” you can utilize to speed up or slow down your starter’s fermentation rate.

Sourdough stiff levain
Stiff sourdough levain (or starter, they’re the same thing!).

My starter doesn’t seem as strong as yours (fewer bubbles, slow rise, etc. What’s wrong?

If you’ve just created your starter, give it time to ripen. With consistent, predictable refreshments, you will “train” your starter into strength, and it will display the same signs of strong fermentation each day. Temperature is also incredibly important here: keeping your starter relatively warm (I prefer 76-80°F/24-26°C) will encourage increased activity.

When is my starter strong enough and ready to bake with?

Once you see predictable signs of fermentation (rise, bubbles, a transformation in aroma from sweet to sour, etc.) each day, it should be strong enough for baking. When creating a starter from scratch, you might see a spur of activity at the beginning of the process, but you want consistent signs of fermentation day after day before it’s strong enough to use for leavening. Typically, when creating a new starter, this is after 5-8 days.

I hate throwing away excess sourdough starter after feeding. What can I do with the discard?

Cook or bake with it! You can use leftover starter into banana bread, waffles, pancakes, tea cakes, muffins, pizza, cookies, and so on. If you want to use less flour overall, check out my guide to maintaining a smaller sourdough starter. Aside from using sourdough discard in other foods, I will almost always compost any leftovers, only using the trash as a last resort.

How to Store Sourdough Starter via @theperfectloaf
Storing a sourdough starter for the long term.

How often do you change or clean your sourdough starter container?

Use the same jar daily and keep it as clean as possible. During a feeding, discard part of your starter per usual and then scrape down as much residual starter as possible, reincorporating it back into the mixture. Then wipe the top and sides of the jar with a towel to remove any remaining liquid. If you can get the top half reasonably clean, that’s good enough. The bottom half of the jar will most likely be covered when your starter rises during the day, anyway.

Why doesn’t the sourdough starter float test work?

The float test is a good general indicator for when a starter or levain has significant fermentation, but I find it is not 100% reliable in testing for when a starter is ready for use. It can lead to false positives, but, as I discuss below, when your starter makeup is not with a majority of white flour at a moderate to high hydration, it will also rarely float, even if your starter is ripe. Instead of using the float test, I look for signs of strong fermentation and ripeness.

7 Easy Steps to Making an Incredible Sourdough Starter From Scratch via @theperfectloaf

Do I have to make a levain or can I use part of my sourdough starter?

It’s always an option to use your starter instead of making a levain. But, for most recipes, I prefer making a levain so I can control the flour going into the levain, the ripening timeline, and when I use it to mix into a dough—all of this without having to adjust my continually maintained sourdough starter.

For example, I might make a levain with all white flour and use it before being overly ripe for my cinnamon rolls. This will help to ensure the end rolls will not have an overly sour flavor.

Why doesn’t the “float test” ever work with my sourdough starter?

When the hydration of your starter or levain is sufficiently low, the “float test”1 becomes less accurate and, in most cases, doesn’t ever pass.

Instead of using the float test, observe the actual culture and its progress. You want to see a slightly domed top to the levain with lots and lots of bubbles at the sides (see the picture before this section). You’ll see and smell significant fermentative activity if you peel back the top. These are signs that your levain is ripe enough to use in your final dough mix.

I’ve been following your starter creation guide, but nothing is happening. What’s wrong?

Halfway through refreshment interval
Halfway through refreshment interval

I think my sourdough starter died. Is it dead?

It’s normal to see a lapse of activity at some point when first creating a sourdough starter—this is normal. The initial proliferation of action at the beginning of creating a starter is from a different type of bacteria in your mixture that will eventually be replaced by the kind we are looking for (lactic acid bacteria). Keep feeding, and discarding, as I outline in my creation guide. Eventually, your mixture will slowly become more and more acidic (low pH), killing off other bacteria and allowing the beneficial yeasts and bacteria we are looking for to take hold.

Can I refrigerate my sourdough starter?

I have successfully refrigerated my starter many times, typically when I’m going out of town on vacation for a few weeks or won’t be baking for a while (rare!). To prepare for the fridge, I will wait until the starter needs a refreshment, discard all but 20g of ripe starter, and then refresh it with 100g flour and 80g water (I like the culture to be a bit on the stiff/dry side). After refreshing, let it sit on the counter for 1 hour, then toss it into the fridge. I will usually use the same Weck jars for this, and the cover will be loosely placed on top so nothing can fall in, but excess gasses can escape.

When I want to bake again, I will remove my starter from the fridge, let it ferment on the counter for a few hours, and then feed it as I would normally. I will do this a few days before I plan to bake to get the culture back up to strength.

See my post on storing a sourdough starter for tips on keeping it in the fridge or other methods for longer periods.

Updated on: 4 Sep 2022, 17:33 pm IST

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We all have some go-to stress-busting activity. For some, it’s yoga or a barefoot stroll in the garden, or maybe diving deep into a book. However, for some, baking is a therapeutic activity that gives feel-good vibes. The entire process of mixing the ingredients, making the batter, and filling the moulds is meditation in disguise. The aroma of a freshly prepared dessert feels like magic. However, usually, when one talks about baking items, sugar and unhealthy calories often come to your mind. If you are a cake or pastry lover, equally concerned about your health, and love to bake and prepare desserts, here are some healthy baking tips!

You can turn any of your favourite desserts into healthier options with these easy tips that ramp up the nutrition while keeping the same great taste. Health Shots reached out to nutrition expert Avni Kaul.

Looking for something to help you relax, feel creative, and indulge your senses? Baking has all the ingredients you need to feel refreshed and recharged.

“Baking is an opportunity to clear our heads and de-stress,” says Pamela Honsberger, MD, a family doctor and director of physician engagement and leadership development at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, California. “When you focus your attention on an activity like baking, you’re more present in the moment and less focused on stressors of the past or future.”

In addition to stress relief, there are other reasons baking can be good for our mental health.

Baking soda can serve many purposes. With its slightly bitter and salty taste, it works in conjunction with baking powder to act as a leavening agent in many baked goods. Due to its unique and highly alkaline composition, baking soda can also be used for cleaning, deodorizing, beauty products, insect bite relief, natural mouthwash, weed killer and much more.

We have all encountered baking soda at some point in our lives. The multipurpose and multifunctional, naturally occurring chemical seems to be everywhere. In our pantries, cleaning products, refrigerators, and, of course, recipes. Though baking soda is widely known and utilized, many are still unfamiliar with the core of what it does or to the extent; it is necessary in recipes. Commonly used as a leavening agent in baked goods, baking soda is often confused with its counterpart leavening agent, baking powder. What’s the difference between baking soda vs baking powder To understand how baking soda works and why it is unique, we must understand what baking soda really is.

Your sourdough starter is a mixture of yeasts and suitable bacteria that co-exist to leaven and flavor bread dough. I’ve been maintaining my starter for over ten years now, regularly feeding it twice a day, every day, and the process is so familiar I don’t even think about it anymore. But it’s nothing mystical or magical, my sourdough starter is a culture I give nourishment (flour and water), and in return, it happily does work for me without even realizing it. But many uncertainties can arise along with its maintenance, and this frequently asked sourdough starter questions post is here to help.

I’ve been compiling this list of starter questions for almost as long as this website has been around. Each time I receive an email or comment asking a question about what I do in a particular situation, I’ve saved it and added the most commonly asked questions below.

If you’ve arrived here before you have a starter, it might be worthwhile to have a read-through to internalize some of these questions and answers. Then head to my guide to creating a sourdough starter and get started.

How many times should I feed my sourdough starter each day?

This question is very temperature and flour-dependent. If the ambient temperature in your kitchen is on the warmer side, 75-80°F (23-26°C), then you’ll find your starter ferments much faster than if it were cooler (less than 75°F/23°C). Likewise, you’ll see higher fermentation rates if you use a large percentage of whole grains in your refreshment.

I prefer to feed my starter twice daily to keep it healthy and ready to bake at any moment. But then again, I bake very, very frequently. If temperatures are not overly high, I recommend a single daily feeding. If your starter falls significantly in its jar, looks broken down and loose, and smells like harsh vinegar or paint, try using a smaller percentage of ripe starter at each feeding. You can also find a cooler spot in your kitchen or use colder water to feed.

Why does my sourdough starter take a long time to ripen?

Several factors play into the fermentation vigor of your starter, and the most important one is temperature. Try to find a warm spot in your kitchen to keep your starter, or use more lukewarm water to feed it. Shoot for 76°F – 80°F (24-26°C) ambient temperature for increased fermentation activity. Maintaining a stable temperature is important, and if there’s one thing I like to focus on with my starter, it’s temperature.

Flour selection also plays into the fermentation activity; the more whole grains you use to refresh, the higher the fermentation rate in your culture.

And, of course, the amount of ripe starter you carry over from feeding to feeding plays a significant role. The larger the percentage, the faster your newly refreshed culture will ripen.

All of these variables can be tweaked to speed up, or slow down, the time it takes for your starter to ripen and need a refreshment. My preferred method for changing my starter’s ripening timeline is to adjust the amount of starter I leave in the jar for each refreshment (the carryover). If it’s summertime, I will usually carry over a smaller percentage of ripe starter (15% or so) at each refreshment to slow things down so I can maintain my twice-a-day refreshment schedule. If it’s winter and temperatures are lower, I’ll carry over an increased amount of ripe starter (25% or so) into my next refreshment.

How To Tell If Your Baking Soda Has Expired or is Still Fresh

Determining if your baking soda is fresh enough to bake with is easy and something you may need to do if you are getting ready to do some baking. You don’t want to end up with a cake or brownie that doesn’t rise.

How to Test If Your Baking Soda Is Still Fresh

To find out whether your baking soda has gone bad, you will need some acid, such as vinegar. Baking soda reacts with the acidic ingredients in your recipes to produce carbon dioxide gas. Those bubbles of gas are what act to make the dough rise. Yeast and baking powder also produce carbon dioxide gas to make the dough rise.

  1. Toss a spoonful of the baking soda into a bowl.
  2. Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice or other acidic liquid.
  3. If the mixture fizzes heavily, the baking soda is still good.
  4. If you don’t get much of a fizz, your baking soda has gone bad.
  5. Use the rest of the box for cleaning or set in the fridge open to remove odors; but buy another box for your baking.

Does Baking Soda Go Bad?

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time. You can use a rule of thumb—two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package. While old baking soda may not produce as much leavening action, it is still safe to eat. Your recipes may not turn out as well, but you can still eat the results.

Unlike baking powder, baking soda needs an acid to activate it. Simply absorbing moisture from the air won’t trigger its bubbling reaction. It is why baking soda is sold in cardboard containers that open with a loose flap, rather than a sealed container as with baking powder. Baking soda commonly does not have an expiration date on the package.

Your baking soda might go bad if it has been exposed to acidic moisture. Maybe you left it on the counter, and it got wet with water that contained vinegar, lemon juice or another acid. Maybe your water is a little acidic, or it picked up acidic residues from your counter. You would probably notice that the box has gotten wet, and you may see the results of the bubbling action.

Baking powder is different; it has the acid component included in the powder. Over time, the ingredients will break each other down, especially if the container has been opened and exposed to air, from which it can pick up moisture. You would need to pay attention to its expiration date. It is also smart to label baking powder with the date you have opened it.

How To Store Baking Soda For the Best Shelf Life

Keep your baking soda dry for the best shelf life. If your cupboard is close to your stove or above your dishwasher or sink, items in it may be getting exposed to steam when you cook or operate the dishwasher. You may want to put your box or bag of baking soda in a plastic ziplock bag or in a storage container to keep out moisture.

Baking and weight loss don’t seem to work together, but turns out they get along just fine.

Woman decorating a cake

When you’re trying to lose weight, you may not necessarily think about baking. Usually, you’re so set on cooking meals that are healthier for you that baked sweets are the last food items on your mind. You can theoretically bake healthier foods, but the first ones that come to mind are desserts and other unhealthy treats.

Man feeling hungry, holding stomach

When you’re hungry, everything around you looks delicious, and it’s very tempting to eat whatever is around you.

“It’s hard enough to resist countless nibbles of delicious raw dough and tempting ingredients like chocolate chips when you’re not hungry, but start baking when you’re hungry and it’s game over,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll be looking to settle a grumbling belly with calorie-dense items that make it all too easy to consume a day’s worth of calories before your baked goods have even made it into the oven.”

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prunes on plate

This may not sound like the most common baking hack, but it’s great for when trying to lose weight!

“One of the best ways to save calories when baking without losing flavor is to swap out calorie-dense butter and oils for prune puree,” says The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll replace unhealthy fats while improving the texture and adding moisture and richness to everything from baked goods, appetizers, and entrees to desserts.”

The Nutrition Twins suggest that for every half cup of oil you replace with prune puree, you’ll save nearly 600 calories.

How much should you swap? The Nutrition Twins break it down for you:

  • Replace ½ cup of oil in recipes with ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup prune puree
  • Swap 1 stick of butter for ½ stick of butter and ½ cup of prune puree.

“We like Sunsweet prunes because of their high levels of antioxidants and acidity which add a delicious tangy caramel flavor,” says The Nutrition Twins.

cookie dough

Let’s be real, who doesn’t love eating a piece of raw dough to make sure it tastes good? But as tempting as it is, it’s important to minimize your tasting.

“Although you ideally don’t want to do any tasting during baking to avoid consuming excess calories, sometimes it’s essential to nail the perfect taste and texture,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Just be sure to keep your 3 tastes small, as they can still set you back over 150-200 calories, depending on the food.”

cannellini beans in dish with spoon

Another unusual swap, beans still get the job done for tasty and healthier baked goods. The Nutrition Twins suggest using white beans instead of butter in white cakes to cut back on calories. “You use the same amount of cooked white beans as butter is called for,” says The Nutrition Twins. “The calorie savings would be Nearly 1,400 calories per cup! So for every cup of butter you replace with white beans, you save nearly a days worth of calories.”

Cutting calories isn’t the only benefit to including beans in baking. “Beans, such as white beans, provide fiber and protein to keep you satisfied, so it’s no surprise that studies show that people who eat them and other beans tend to weigh less and have smaller waistlines,” says The Nutrition Twins. “Also, your vegan and lactose-free friends can enjoy these dishes too.”

For a unique yet delicious baked treat using beans, try The Nutrition Twins’ Chickpea Blondies.

Woman covering eyes

This out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality may help eliminate any extra temptations.

“The aroma of baked goods can be luring enough, but if it’s sitting there, staring you down too, it’s even harder to resist,” says The Nutrition Twins. “It sounds trite, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind can save you from consuming hundreds of unwanted calories.

Why Is Baking Soda Important?

Baking soda is an important and fundamental component of most baked goods and many cleaning products for several reasons. It is the driving force behind the desired consistency and taste of most of our quick-bake treats, and the powerhouse cleaning agent in many of our household products. Through the chemical reaction created by combining baking soda with liquid, acid, and heat, carbon dioxide is created. These tiny CO2 gas bubbles allow for soft and airy baked goods such as cookies, pancakes, and cakes. Baking soda also increases pH levels while reducing gluten. This creates less chewy and more tender baked goods. Though baking soda recipes call for seemingly small amounts, it makes all the difference if you don’t have it. Baking soda has become an integral part of baking recipes and household use, and without it, we may not have the ability to get our fast, fresh-baked, tender, and crunchy cookie fix!

Don’t have baking soda around? Here are baking soda replacements and substitutes you can use instead.

Explore mental health and wellness resources

Choose from a broad range of on-demand self-care resources, including self-care apps to help with stress, sleep, anxiety, and more.

Health benefits of baking soda

Baking soda is also known to offer various health benefits when taken on its own.

Research suggests that using baking soda may help prevent the loss of tooth enamel and improve exercise performance. Taking baking soda supplements is also found to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and the growth of cancerous cells.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Similar to baking soda, baking powder is a leavening agent used in quick-bake recipes. Often confused and mistaken for one another, these two interact within recipes in different ways and are very different in composition. It is important to consider the differences between both baking soda and baking powder when exploring baking recipes. As previously mentioned, baking soda is a leavening agent that, when mixed with acid and liquid, becomes activated and produces CO2 bubbles. Similarly, baking powder is a leavening agent that produces CO2 bubbles. However, the composition is one of the major differences.

Baking powder is of baking soda itself, paired with another dry acid, such as cream of tartar. As a result, baking powder has the ability to be single or double acting. Single-acting baking powder performs in a similar way to baking soda that has been combined with an acid. It quickly releases CO2 and creates the leavening process that must be quickly taken advantage of. However, a double-acting baking powder can be activated twice through different means. Once the liquid is added to the baking powder, it becomes activated and produces the CO2 bubbles.

In addition to the first activation, there is a secondary activation that can take place once the solution, or batter, is exposed to heat (placed in the oven). This also creates the ability for an elongated time frame that is not present within the reaction caused with baking soda and acid. This means that because baking powder is activated by liquid and already has the dry acid component (cream of tartar), it can in the refrigerator longer. This is why items such as cookie dough can remain in the refrigerator, while cake batter must be cooked promptly.

Recreating happy memories

Baking engages all your senses including taste, touch, and smell, plus it’s fulfilling to see your process from beginning to end. But it can also spark nostalgia. “When we’re cooking and baking, we’re often recreating positive experiences or happy memories. For example, using the cookie recipe your grandmother passed down to you. That can help you feel connected to moments, memories, or people you love,” says Dr. Honsberger.

What Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring crystalline chemical compound but is often found in powder form. Although baking soda is naturally occurring, it is often mined and, through a chemical process, created. Most baking sodas found commercially in the United States come from ore mined in Wyoming. The ore is heated until it turns to soda ash, and then it is combined with carbon dioxide to create the chemical baking soda. That being said, naturally occurring baking soda is also still available and is mined in the form of nahcolite. Nahcolite is the form of sodium bicarbonate that is most natural and has no chemical additives. Bob’s Red Mill is proud to sell natural baking soda that has not been chemically produced.

Baking soda is highly versatile and when used by itself or combined with additional compounds, can lend itself as a remedy for multiple different uses. Valued for its cleaning and baking properties, baking soda has been used for thousands of years. Use of baking soda dates back to Ancient Egypt when it was used as a cleaning and drying agent in the process of mummification. Baking soda became commercially available during the mid-19th century and has since become a staple in most homes, whether it’s in cleaning products, beauty products, or even in a wide range of cooking and baking recipes.

Why You Should Avoid Mixing Baking Soda With Apple Cider Vinegar?

The safest way to take apple cider vinegar is by diluting it in water. © Shutterstock.

Baking Soda for Household Use

Baking soda is a versatile product that has many household uses simply by itself or when combined with other products. Due to its coarse salt-like nature, baking soda can be used as a scrub of sorts for fruits and vegetables, grills, countertops and even teeth. Commonly added to many kinds of toothpaste, baking soda is a natural powerhouse cleaning product. Baking soda is widely used as a refrigerator deodorant of sorts because some believe it neutralizes lingering odor. Chemically, baking soda reacts in a similar fashion when it is used in baking recipes such as muffins and scones as it does with odors. This is because baking soda is basic and most odors are acidic, and this provides for a similar atmosphere for a neutralizing reaction to occur.

Baking soda and vinegar are not only baking partners in crime, but also stellar cleaning partners, due to their chemical composition. When combined in baking recipes, baking soda and vinegar (or acid) work together harmoniously to create the leavening process of batters and doughs. Similarly, when combined for cleaning purposes, baking soda and vinegar create an abrasive environment that is tough on stains, dirt, and clogged drains. As previously mentioned, when baking soda is heated above 122°F, it creates carbon dioxide. This is what makes baking soda a great fire extinguisher and why it remains one of best ways to put out a grease fire. The increase of carbon dioxide cuts off the fire’s source of oxygen, creating an environment that is not sustainable for the fire.

Healthy baking tips for every sweet lover

The baking-lover inside you can indulge in all those decadent dishes totally guilt-free with these easy tips!

Baking can be healthy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Take out refined sweets for fruit

Fruits in desserts are always delectable. Dietitian Avni Kaul suggests trying to swap out up to half of the refined sugar in your recipe for fruit. Fruits have natural sugars that are good for adding sweetness to baked goods, besides giving a boost of fiber and nutrients such as vitamin C. Some of the favorite fruits to use in baking are apples and bananas.

2. Replace the sugar

Replace your sugar in the recipe with apple sauce, shredded apple (keep the peel on for the most nutrition), or mashed banana having a 1:1 ratio.

3. Use Greek yogurt instead of butter or oil

No one is alien to the health benefits of Greek yogurt. Pleasing in taste and boosting several health benefits, it is a no-brainer addition to your regular ingredients. So, choose Greek yogurt instead of butter or oil as it is healthier and a high-protein option. Besides, it is a very good source of Vitamin D as well. You can also go for a plain unsweetened version of yogurt for a lower sugar option.

Give oil a miss while baking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Use whole wheat instead of white flour

You can always swap white flour with whole wheat. This is one of the most commonly used baking hacks. Having whole wheat flour in your dessert lends more nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B, potassium, and iron. Try replacing up to half of the white flour in the recipe for whole wheat flour to maintain the same great taste and texture.

5. Go for dark chocolate

Desserts feel incomplete without some chocolate. Chocolate lovers will invariably agree. The expert says that if your recipe demands chocolate, go for a dark one compared to the milk-based. Not only it will lend that extra flavor but also has less sugar content. For healthier options, look for a minimum of 70 percent cocoa solids. Dark chocolates also have flavonoids that are a kind of antioxidant.

So, now that you know these healthy baking tips, you can anytime hit the kitchen and pamper yourself with healthy aromatic treats.

What’s next?

If you’re having issues with your sourdough starter and haven’t found help above, post at our member community for help!

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar offer various health benefits when taken separately, but mixing the two can do more harm than good.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular kitchen ingredient that has been used for centuries in cooking and medicine. It is known to provide various health benefits and offer relief from a wide range of medical conditions. Apple cider vinegar can be taken in many ways to get its benefits. One popular trend doing the rounds on the internet involves mixing it with baking soda for achieving additional benefits. This combination is believed to improve digestion, reduce joint pain, fight urinary tract infections, and even aid weight loss. But there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim.

While the benefits or risks of taking baking soda and apple cider vinegar together are not clear yet, the benefits of taking each on their own are well-documented and accepted worldwide. Keep reading to know how apple cider vinegar can benefit your body.

Sharing the joy

Baking for others shows you care. It can be an expression of love, appreciation, celebration, and even sympathy. “Sharing baked goods with your friends and neighbors is a great way to feel connected or make new connections,” says Dr. Honsberger.

You can also stick with healthy eating habits when baking by swapping a few ingredients. Try going for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Or use dates in oatmeal cookies for natural sweetness. Baking also doesn’t have to be limited to sweets. You can make a healthy — and delicious — version of a potato pancake using yams, scallions, and antioxidant-rich ginger. “Whatever you choose to make, try to stay present in the moment and just enjoy the experience,” says Dr. Honsberger.

Ready to try a new recipe? Discover healthy and delicious recipes on our Food for Health site.

Taking time for yourself

According to Dr. Honsberger, “Taking time to do something that recharges you and brings you joy in the moment helps build resilience when things are hard — or when new challenges come up. And making time for an activity that recharges you is an essential form of self-care in our busy lives.”

Health benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. Several studies have linked apple cider vinegar to various health benefits. It can be used to:

Boost Skin Health: Apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for common skin conditions like dry skin and eczema. Using topical apple cider vinegar could help restore your skin’s pH balance and improve the protective skin barrier, say experts. The antibacterial properties of vinegar can help prevent skin infections linked to eczema.

Kill harmful pathogens: A few test-tube studies have also found that apple cider vinegar can help kill harmful viruses and bacteria, such as E. coli, S. aureus, C. albicans, and norovirus that cause food poisoning.

How Does Baking Soda Work?

Baking soda is most commonly used in baking as a leavening agent, hence its name. Before the commercialization of baking soda, biological leavening and fermentation processes were used but less convenient due to the extensive length of time associated with biological leavening. As most have formerly learned through science class and experimental measures, when a base meets an , a chemical reaction occurs. This concept is the same for baking soda as it pertains to baking. When baking soda is mixed with an acid and a liquid, it will create bubbles of that give it a fluffy texture. That being said, baking soda can react without acid if it is warmed above 122°F or subject to long-term heat and humidity. If baking soda is stored within reasonable temperatures (at or below 77°F and 75% humidity), it will keep indefinitely.

Baking soda is generally used as an active ingredient in quick-bake recipes such as cookies, muffins, and pancakes. This is because of the fast-acting chemical reaction associated with baking soda and the acidic counterpart. When baking soda is combined with acid, CO2 gas bubbles are released, creating the “airy” effect in batter and dough. Furthermore, once the dough or batter starts to bake, the carbon dioxide will begin to filter through the dough and expand air that is trapped inside. The sources of acid combined with the baking soda will determine if the dough or batter can be kept in the refrigerator or needs to be baked immediately.

For example, if the sources of acid are dry, such as cream of tartar or cocoa powder, then they can keep longer once combined with baking soda. However, if the acids are wet, such as yogurt or lemon juice, then the resulting batter will need to be used promptly. Baking soda can also provide dough with increased pH levels, which creates a heightened alkalinity. Through the increase in pH, the gluten in the dough becomes weakened, which creates a tender texture for cookies and pastries versus something chewier such as bread. Quantity is an important component, considering the effect baking soda has on baking recipes.

Inspiring creativity

“The most important part about any new creative task is to go in with realistic goals and not aim for perfectionism,” explains Dr. Honsberger. “Success is trying something new, not comparing yourself or your creations to a picture online or in a cookbook.”

Side effects of mixing ACV with baking soda

Some say combining baking soda with apple cider vinegar can help alkalize the body and prevent diseases that thrive in acidic environments. But experts argue that our body can control its pH levels on its own and what you eat or drink has very little effect on the process.

The combination may do more harm than good to your body. Mixing baking soda with apple cider vinegar may lead to a chemical reaction that produces gas, which might cause bloating in people who ingest the mixture.

These two kitchen ingredients may also interact with certain medications and cause side effects of varying severity. As there is no evidence to prove the safety of taking both together, it is advisable to avoid this mixture altogether.

Best way to consume apple cider vinegar

The safest way to take apple cider vinegar is by diluting it in water. A typical dose is 1 2 tablespoons (15 30 ml) mixed with 100 ml or about 7 ounces of water. You can have the solution before or after meals as per your need. The vinegar’s acidity may damage tooth enamel with regular use. To avoid this side effect, drink the diluted vinegar using a straw and rinsing your mouth with water afterward. In case you experience side effects such as nausea, burping, or reflux after taking apple cider vinegar, stop taking it. Consult a doctor immediately.

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