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I am making a white bread with 500g regular flour, about 300g water, sourdough starter, yeast and salt. It will rest and raise some time before being baked. Pretty basic.

Now I was wondering, what would happen if I used sparkling water. Will the bubbles do something to the chemical reaction that builds gluten? Or maybe create additional holes in the bread when it's done? Will the bread be significantly different from using plain water?

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    Considering how quickly sparkling water goes flat and how long bread has to sit out to rise, I don't think it'd be sparkling any more by the time it goes in the oven... Plus, the acid in the water might retard the yeast performance... But this is all a guess.
    – Catija
    Nov 7, 2015 at 23:57
  • It would conceivably help with (or affect, anyway) a quick bread.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 11, 2015 at 13:19
  • @Catija hits the nail on the head: one can make plausible guesses. But (and I take this too to be implicit in the comment) we won't get a legitimate answer until the experiment has been tried carefully. A full answer will also require an interpretation of the results that gains broad adherence and agreement from food scientists and/or organic chemists. I would urge that no answer be accepted until then.
    – CAgrippa
    Jul 23, 2019 at 6:02

3 Answers 3

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I am not a chemist, but my grandma always used to make bread (and similar stuff) with sparkling water instead of still water. She always mentioned that the result will be more fluffy and airy. This only addresses the question about the (important) consistency though, but I guess you should just try it out yourself.

Edit:

Some benefits of using sparkling water in the kitchen

As this answer got downvoted to zero I guess my grandma was not convincing enough. So I asked a befriended chef who works at a luxury hotel chain in Germany. Here's what he explained:

  • Desserts can be made more creamy without actually adding cream. Here he gave examples of pudding/mousse-ish desserts
  • Vegetables steamed with sparkling water results in less loss of color (i.e. brighter colors), more crispyness, and stronger taste. He particularly recommended to try it with carrots, broccoli or cauliflower.
  • You can add sparkling water to thick soups shortly before serving to get them more foamy.
  • Similar with Salad dressings
  • Last but not least he confirmed precisely what my grandma said. For doughs and similar stuff (for salty or sweet dishes) you would get a nice fluffy texture. Kudos to my grandma at this point.
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    But why? It is utterly counter-intuitive that there would be any different results. I appreciate that you found two anecdotal references for this but a scientific explanation would be more useful.
    – Catija
    Nov 16, 2015 at 14:57
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    Some things might have to do with pH - the CO2, while bound in water, forms an acid. Doesn't explain less loss of color though... acids usually make color loss worse. Jun 13, 2016 at 12:22
  • I read this as a very plausible guess and opinion. It's not an answer.
    – CAgrippa
    Jul 23, 2019 at 6:03
  • @CAgrippa Science is great and seeking more detail is of course fine, but real scientists (not merely theoreticians) are practical when it comes to designing experiments and when preparing solutions and equipment. The process of pure science is guessing! Formally that is called a hypothesis. Grandma doesn't have to publish in Nature magazine for the repeatable result to be shared in an answer. This is not a professional chemistry forum. Of course this is an answer and it's a good answer at that!
    – C Perkins
    Dec 8, 2023 at 16:18
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i have a book called Baking With Passion by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington. (Dan L runs some very classy bakeries in London and, I believe, is a highly respected baker.)

In there, it says "We prefer to use bottled still spring water. This does not rule out the use of tap water, but bottled water is less likely to contain chlorine or other chemicals which might well impede yeast activity." I use ordinary tap water that has been boiled, adjusted to the right temperature with cold water straight from the tap.

I agree with Catja's reply and I wouldn't think there could be any air left from the bubbles once the bread has been mixed, kneaded, proved, and pummeled again.

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  • FYI for future readers: a lot of water treatment plants around the world have switched to using chloramine instead of chlorine to disinfect their water. Chloramine takes much longer to dissolve out of water, even when boiling, to the point that it's just not practical. If your local treatment plant uses chloramine and you want to remove it, you can instead use something like an activated carbon filter or a RODI filter
    – BThompson
    Apr 26, 2023 at 21:02
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Re: Sparkling water.

It doesn't go flat as quickly as you think. The mineral water has a lot of dissolved calcium (french or italian brands) and thus the CO2 binds to the CaCO3 and it takes a while for the bonds to break. You can leave the stuff uncapped overnight and find it still fizzy in the morning. The same can't be said for soft drinks. They are called soft drinks, because the distilled water has no minerals. (Actually, I made that last line up - but its true!)

Something I learned in fish keeping and live aquatic plant care.

Edit: I suspect to answer the original question... spring water effects on cooking/baking has more to do with the mineral density and composition of the water versus its effervescent nature. An example is coffee made with calcium rich water will make a very good product, vs most city water. Beers control the mineral aspect of water very closely to create varied products.

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  • This does not answer the question
    – user34961
    Sep 10, 2017 at 12:26
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    No, but its still an amusing anecdote. Sep 11, 2017 at 21:58
  • "soft drinks" are so called because they do not contain alcohol.
    – Esther
    Apr 26, 2023 at 19:01

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