- English: Baking Soda, Sodium Bicarbonate, Bicarbonate
Baking soda is one of the most widely used leaveners in baked goods. This simple chemical compound, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is found in crystalline form in nature but is ground to a fine powder for use in cooking. Baking soda is an alkaline compound that, when combined with an acid, will produce carbon dioxide gas. The small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas become trapped in batter, causing it to inflate, or rise. Common acids used to cause this reaction include vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, yogurt, and cream of tartar. Baking soda will also produce gas upon decomposition caused by heat. No acid is necessary for this reaction to take place, only exposure to temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius.
When Is Baking Soda Used?
Baking soda is used to leaven many “quick breads” like pancakes, muffins, cakes, and fried foods. These batters are not strong enough to hold shape for the length of time that it takes for yeast to create gas. Because baking soda produces gas quickly, it is not necessary to let the batter rise for long periods as with yeast bread. When the batter is exposed to heat, it becomes ridged and the expansion caused by the gas bubbles is set in place.
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