Baking soda is a chemical, sodium bicarbonate, also known as bicarbonate of soda or NaHCO3. It reacts with acid to produce carbon dioxide gas; this reaction is the reason for its usefulness in baking as a leavening agent. The reaction causes little bubbles of carbon dioxide gas to form throughout a food, expanding the mass. Baking soda is used as a leavening agent in many cakes, cookies, pancakes, some breads, and other foods.
Acids Used with Baking Soda[edit | edit source]
Other Culinary Uses of Baking Soda[edit | edit source]
White baking soda is most often used for its leavening ability, it is sometimes used in the following circumstances:
- It used to be used as a source of carbon dioxide for soda water.
- It can be used when preparing tomato sauce to neutralize the tomato's acidity.
- It is added to water used to soak beans; this is said to prevent flatulence.
- It is added to water and used to soak marrowfat peas to produce mushy peas.
- It is effective in extinguishing grease fires which may occur when deep frying.
- Freshly cut fruit can be soaked in sodium bicarbonate solution for a short while to prevent yellowing.
- A small amount can be added to meat as a tenderizer, a technique common in Chinese cuisine.
As a Component in Baking Powder[edit | edit source]
Baking soda is often an ingredient in baking powder, along with an acidic ingredient like cream of tartar, and another gas-releasing chemical that activates only when subjected to heat. Baking powder loses its leavening power very slowly, unless exposed to moisture.