MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Is baking bread, cakes, or pancakes a physical or chemical change?

Date: Fri May 12 03:30:40 2000
Posted By: Jonathan Feldman, Undergraduate, Applied Chemistry, University of Technology, Sydney
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 957984383.Ch

There is definitely a chemical change taking place during baking, and that is the conversion of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) to carbon dioxide (CO2). This is what causes the cake to rise, as the carbon dioxide bubbles get trapped within the cake.

I can also see your point about a physical change, as the cake mix goes from being a gooey liquid to being solid. The cake mix is a mixture of all your ingredients (flour, egg, cocoa, sugar etc) in water. As the cake is baked, the water evaporates. The evaporation is a physical change.

So, in conclusion, you were right. The baking of a cake/bread/pancakes involves both physical AND chemical changes.

Jonathan Feldman
University of Technology, Sydney

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