Question RE Potato Pancakes

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kokopuffs, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    The recipe is for German Potato Pancakes.  Everything being equal, some recipes call for baking powder to be mixed into the batter.  Why?  And yes I already know that it's serves as a leavening agent.  But your typical p.p. batter doesn't call for an acidic liquid and so there's nothing for the leavening agent to act on!?!?!?!?!?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Baking powder has it,s own acid in it. Baking soda does not.
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    But why?  I don't see a good reason.
     
  4. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Why use it at all?????
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe it really makes them lighter.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of the Germans who served them to me in Southern Germany  used baking powder. It does give a little puff to the batter as it cooks.
     
  7. shev7

    shev7

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    I make potato pancakes all the time and there is a big difference using baking powder vs. none at all. It comes out much fluffier.
     
  8. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    THANK YOU both Phatch and Shev7 for you solid experience in this matter.
     
  9. michaelga

    michaelga

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    It will also lower the ph level of the potatoes which in turn makes them brown faster.
     
  10. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    My original recipe I got in the Time Life Book on German Cooking and there was no mention of baking powder.  The author did, however, specify the use of either lard or bacon fat (bacon grease???) or lard as the frying medium.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    That's one reason I emphasized Southern Germany in my post. Those kinds of things do change regionally in Germany.
     
  12. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Perhaps the use of BP transforms whatever into a sugar, which, in certain environments like one's mouth, acts as an acid donating a free hydrogen ion.  And also, due to the acid, the maillard thing occurs, carmelization.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  13. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Um, are you referring to the pH #? A lower number means more acidic. Adding an alkaline base (baking powder/soda) should decrease the acidity thus raising the pH number
     
  14. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    The BP may act as a buffer, also.
     
  15. berndy

    berndy

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    I grew up in Southern Germany and did my apprenticeship there too.

    Baking powder was never used in Potato Pankakes.
     
  16. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    The ones I had in Nurnberg and Ludwigsburg did.  Never had any in Landshut or Ingolstadt.
     
  17. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Berndy:  What kind of fat was used in the frying?  Gotta' know to retain authenticity.

    Rurally challenged here in America,

    TKokosenski
     
  18. berndy

    berndy

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    In Restaurants we used  a vegetable oil and at home it was olive oil ( during lent only ) and bacon fat or goose fat (sometimes mixed together) for the rest of the year.
     
  19. michaelga

    michaelga

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    yup - got my rights/lefts mixed up......

    it increases ph....  making things less acidic

    it still does increase the browning of the potatoes - at least i didn't muddle that one up
     
  20. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Let me give you a tip on the modern way to make Potato Pancakes or Latkas . German style uses flour  Jewish style a little Matzo meal. Make whatever mix you want. Now take a clean sheetpan and heat it in a 300 oven. Spray with pam or pan spray Take it out spoon pancake  whatever size you use onto hot pan. place back in oven  let cook till pancake sets but not brown. Take out and set asside.Cool slightly and remove from pan with wide spatula  Now for service just drop the blanched pancakes  in fryolator and cook till golden . You will find it less greasy then frying pan version and a heck of a lot quicker and cleaner. And it sure as hell beats standing by a hot stove frying 10 or 15 at a time.