Using Seltzer For Fluffier Bakes? Here's How To Get The Best Results

Seltzer water isn't just a great mixer for cocktails or a bubble-rich alternative to flat water. It's the secret ingredient to the fluffiest pancakes or waffles you'll ever make, the sparkling base for the best tempura batter, and the carbonated trick to create bread with a better crumb. Basically, seltzer water is the baker's secret weapon when a boost of bubbly air is needed. 

Why is it such a boon to baking light and fluffy baked goods? Much like baking soda and baking powder offer the power of carbon dioxide to doughs and batters, carbonated seltzer water offers a plethora of bubbles that will create tiny air pockets in the baked good that expand when heated, creating a light, fine crumb. With this chemical reaction in mind, bakers have started adding the beverage to some of their favorite recipes, from sponge cake to sourdough bread. Still, if you're looking to unlock the full potential of sparkling water, you need to keep a few pointers in mind.

You need to use ice cold seltzer

There are two things that you have to keep in check if you want to make the most of the bubbly powers of seltzer water: time and temperature. The time element makes plenty of sense. Once you open your seltzer, the carbonation is immediately on a countdown, with every minute passing limiting its fizzy qualities. The same principle applies to adding the seltzer to your batters, so make sure to use batter within 15 minutes of mixing seltzer into it. 

Now for the main game changer: ice-cold seltzer. Though it may seem an unimportant factor, temperature greatly affects how many bubbles your seltzer is packing. Chilled seltzer fresh from the fridge has more carbonation than a room-temperature one. The colder the beverage, the more soluble (i.e. able to be dissolved) the carbon dioxide is, which makes it fizzier. For the lightest, fluffiest baked goods, go with cold bubbly water; it will make a difference. With this scientific know-how in your back pocket, you can maximize the usefulness of your seltzer.