Posted 10/30/2011 9:54:33 AM
The rising of the batter (as well as any baking that's done) requires a chemical reaction (a precise one). Since buttermilk is being used instead of milk it changes the chemistry needed to "get a rise" out of the pancakes. Buttermilk is more acidic than regular milk so an extra chemical base is needed to bring the proper chemistry back into balance. Since sodium hydroxide (lye) is rather caustic, poisonous, and would taste down right horrid, an extra bit of baking soda will do the trick. I hope this answers your question to your liking.