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Leavening - What is baking soda?

Baking soda plus water equals carbon dioxide

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Baking Soda Leavener for Baking

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

What is baking soda?

Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda  and is a prime ingredient in baking powder. It is akaline in nature, and when combined with an acid, it creates carbon dioxide bubbles, giving rise to doughs and batters.

Baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable in recipes.

Since it reacts with water, baking soda should be mixed thoroughly with dry ingredients before adding liquids. This will insure even leavening. Baking soda alone is normally used when sour milk, buttermilk or other acidic liquid is used in the recipe.

Be sure your baking soda is still viable. This is called "proofing." To proof baking soda, measure 1/2 teaspoon into a cup. Pour in 1/2 cup hot tap water and 1/4 cup vinegar. The mixture should bubble.

To store, place the opened box of baking soda into a zip-top bag, squeeze out the air, and seal. Alternatively, pour the baking soda into an airtight jar, label, and seal.

Although baking soda was once added to water when boiling green vegetables to preserve color, it is now known that this process destroys vitamin C content, so ignore that old wives' tale.

More About Leaveners:

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What is baking soda?
What is baking powder?
What is sourdough?
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Yeast Bread Recipes
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Baking Soda Leavener for Baking Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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