[Sca-cooks] Bakers borax again
ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Sun Oct 14 14:01:24 PDT 2012
I've been reading al-Warraq and am still puzzled over the borax question.
According to the author and the translator, there are two kinds of
borax: Natron and baker's borax (aka Armenian borax). The latter is used
in food, both to make a glossy surface on bread and, apparently, as a
leavening! The translator says that it is sodium borate, which is what
is now called borax--and never explains the chemical difference between
the two kinds, although she does describe their differing appearance.
But according to Wikipedia, natron doesn't have any boron in it. It's a
mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate and about 17% sodium
bicarbonate--aka baking soda. Which suggests that perhaps bakers' borax
is baking soda, or some natural mineral that consists largely of baking
In which case we not only have a period chemical leavening, we have
period baking soda!
-- David Friedman
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