One of the most common leaveners in baked goods is baking soda. This simple chemical compound, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is found in nature in crystalline form but is ground into a fine powder for cooking purposes.
Baking soda can be used for a variety of things. When combined with baking powder, its slightly bitter and salty flavor acts as a leavening agent in many baked goods. Baking soda can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, beauty products, insect bite relief, natural mouthwash, weed killer, and much more due to its unique and highly alkaline composition.
We’ve all come across baking soda at some point, and the naturally occurring multipurpose and multifunctional chemical appears to be everywhere. Cleaning supplies, refrigerators, and, of course, recipes can all be found in our pantries. Even though baking soda is well-known and widely used, many people are unaware of what it does or how important it is in recipes.
Baking Soda Nutrition Facts
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a crystalline chemical compound commonly found as a powder. Although baking soda is found naturally, it is frequently mined and manufactured through a chemical process. The majority of baking soda sold in the United States comes from ore mined in Wyoming, and the ore is heated until it turns to soda ash, then combined with carbon dioxide to make baking soda. However, naturally occurring baking soda is still available in nahcolite, mined. Nahcolite is the most natural form of sodium bicarbonate, with no chemical additives. Bob’s Red Mill is proud to offer non-chemically produced natural baking soda.
Baking soda is a highly versatile substance that can treat various ailments when used alone or in combination with other compounds. Baking soda has been used for thousands of years for its cleaning and baking properties. During mummification, baking soda was first used in Ancient Egypt as a cleaning and drying agent. Baking soda became commercially available in the mid-nineteenth century and has become a household staple, used in cleaning products, cosmetics, and various cooking and baking recipes.
Where is Baking Soda Found?
Although baking soda is found naturally, it is frequently mined and manufactured through a chemical process. The majority of baking soda sold in the United States comes from ore mined in Wyoming, and the ore is heated until it converts to soda ash, then mixed with carbon dioxide to make baking soda.
In Wyoming, the Green River Basin is the most prevalent source of baking soda in the United States, where trona ore is mined and refined into baking soda (aluminum-free, as it has traditionally been). Our baking soda has come from since we started nearly five years ago.
When is Baking Soda Used?
Many “quick bread,” such as pancakes, muffins, cakes, and fried foods, are leavened with baking soda. These batters aren’t sturdy enough to hold their shape for the time it takes yeast to produce gas. Because baking soda produces gas quickly, the batter does not need to rise for as long as yeast bread. When the batter is heated, it becomes ridged, and the expansion caused by the gas bubbles becomes fixed.
When a batter containing baking soda is allowed to sit at room temperature, the acids and bases in the batter react, causing the batter to rise slowly and become slightly fluffy. When the batter is exposed to heat in the oven, the second, more dramatic rise occurs. Heat speeds up the acid-base reaction and causes the baking soda to decompose, producing the leaving gas. Baking soda’s leavening action is often so quick that it can be observed in real-time.
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder
Baking powder is sodium bicarbonate that has already been combined with an acid, whereas baking soda is strictly an alkaline compound. Baking powder contains an acid compound in the form of a salt, so it will not react with the base until a liquid is added. Baking soda works well in recipes that contain other acidic ingredients. Baking powder, which contains acid, is appropriate if a recipe does not contain enough acids. Because there isn’t enough acid to neutralize the alkaline sodium bicarbonate, baking soda in alkaline recipes can result in a bitter taste. Many recipes call for baking soda and baking powder to get the best leavening action.
The ability of baking soda to absorb odors is well known. Baking soda is commonly used to absorb erroneous odors in refrigerators, freezers, and other enclosed spaces. Baking soda is also a popular cleaner due to its granular texture, making scrubbing easier, and alkaline pH, which dissolves some deposits and build-up.
Why is Baking Soda Important?
Baking soda is an essential component of most baked goods and many cleaning products. It’s the secret to most of our quick-bake treats’ desired consistency and flavor and a powerful cleaning agent in many household products. Carbon dioxide is produced by combining baking soda with liquid, acid, and heat in a chemical reaction. Soft and airy baked goods, such as cookies, pancakes, and cakes, are made possible by these tiny CO2 gas bubbles.
Baking soda raises pH levels while lowering gluten levels, resulting in baked goods that are less chewy and more tender. Even though baking soda is used in small amounts in recipes, it makes a huge difference if you don’t have it. Baking soda has become a staple in baking recipes and household use, and we might not be able to get our fix of fast, fresh-baked, tender, and crunchy cookies without it!
What are Some Surprising Uses for Baking Soda?
For a good reason, baking soda is regarded as a versatile product. Here are just a few of its many applications.
- Forget about the high-end washes on the market as a wash for produce. Baking soda and water-soaked for 12 to 15 minutes remove 80 to 96 percent of pesticides from apples, which is better than tap water alone or bleach. Baking soda aids in the breakdown of pesticides, allowing them to be washed away.
- Baking soda and water can be used to make a non-abrasive cleaning solution. One application is to clean the inside of a refrigerator of old food residues. To freshen up your pipes, clean your tubs, sinks, and shower curtain, buff out scuff marks from floors, and pour baking soda down the drain with hot water. Don’t forget, and it’s also a fantastic deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda on a carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up along with the odor.
- The American Cleaning Institute recommends adding baking soda to the pan, filling it with hot water, and soaking it for 15 to 30 minutes when cooked food sticks to the pan. Baking soda will aid in the lifting of the crusty food pieces.
- 12 cup baking soda added to the rinse cycle will refresh clothes without the chemicals found in other products.
- Add 12 teaspoons to 12 cups of water and drink for occasional heartburn. The alkaline baking soda will neutralize excess acid.
- You’ve probably experienced the itchiness that comes with bug bites. Instead of using hydrocortisone cream, the Mayo Clinic recommends applying a baking soda paste to the bite several times a day.
What can I Use if I don’t have Baking Soda?
Many recipes call for this ingredient but don’t panic if you find yourself without. Various ingredients and techniques can be used to replace it in a pinch, and here are four clever substitutes for baking soda.
1. Baking Powder
Baking powder, like baking soda, is commonly used to encourage the rise or leavening of the finished product. Due to their similar names, functions, and physical appearances, baking powder and baking soda are frequently confused. They are, however, two particular items.
2. Potassium Bicarbonate and Salt
Though commonly used as a dietary supplement, potassium bicarbonate can also be used as a baking soda alternative. This substitution is especially useful for those wanting to reduce their salt consumption because potassium bicarbonate does not contain sodium. It can be used in place of baking soda in a 1:1 ratio. However, your dish’s flavor may change because of the reduced salt level.
3. Baker’s Ammonia
Another useful baking soda alternative is baker’s ammonia, sometimes known as ammonium carbonate. It has historical relevance because it was one of the most widely used chemical leavening agents in the 13th century. Modern baking procedures eventually supplanted it with baking powder and baking soda; however, it’s still used sometimes today.
4. Self-Rising Flour
Another option for substituting baking soda is self-rising flour, though the necessary recipe adaptations are more involved and may not be best suited for the novice baker. All-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt are combined in self-rising flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt are found in each cup (120 grams) of self-rising flour. If your recipe calls for baking soda, it almost certainly also calls for an acidic substance to react with.
Side Effects and Health Risks of Baking Soda
- Pure Original Ingredients Baking Soda is the perfect kitchen staple
- Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
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Baking soda is a versatile product that can be used alone or with other ingredients. Due to its coarse salt-like nature, baking soda can be used as a scrub of sorts for fruits and vegetables, grills, countertops, and even teeth. Baking soda is a natural cleaning product commonly added to many types of toothpaste. Baking soda is commonly used as a refrigerator deodorant because it is thought to neutralize odors.
Baking soda reacts chemically in the same way it reacts with odors when used in baking recipes like muffins and scones. This is because baking soda is basic, and most odors are acidic, creating a similar environment for a neutralizing reaction to occur. Due to their chemical composition, baking soda and vinegar are not only excellent baking partners but also excellent cleaning partners.