Not all baking soda products are created equal. Are you concerned about aluminum, sodium, alternatives, or nutritional content? Let’s look at one of the most basic and needed minerals used in baking and many other uses as well.
Baking Soda used as the leavening agent in your recipe is activated by acid not by water. It is often combined with acidic ingredients like applesauce, cream of tartar, lemon juice, vinegar, molasses, yogurt, brown sugar, buttermilk, honey, or natural cocoa powder. If the carbon dioxide created from the baking soda and acidic ingredients is not enough often baking powder a blended product, is added to achieve the desired results.
The gluten-free applesauce spice cake at GIG uses applesauce, sour cream, baking soda, molasses and baking powder to achieve its rise. Nicole Hunn has a beautiful gluten-free buttermilk pancake recipe that uses baking soda and butter milk. Shoefly pie is a good illustration of a molasses and baking soda combination. In the 125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Donna Washburn ad Heather Butt is a nice yogurt and baking soda recipe for Cranbury and Apple Kuchen. Not just for baking, Dr. Guy Crosby of America’s Test Kitchen promotes a little baking soda to decrease the cooking time of dried beans instead of salt, also reported to decrease the resulting gaseous nature of beans (the musical fruit).
Pure baking soda has one ingredient making it 100-percent sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) Because it does not contain wheat, barley, rye, or oat flour it is also gluten-free. Other names for baking soda are bicarbonate of soda or soda bicarb for short. It is alkaline and measures 9 on the PH scale. There is no aluminum in baking soda like there is in baking powder. For best results it’s important to use the correct amount of baking soda in your recipe. Some recipes use baking soda to soften the whole grains in their bread recipes.
If you’re looking for a baking soda substitute or replacement use 4-teaspoons of baking powder. Baking Powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar, however some baking powders also contain aluminum.
Occasionally the question is raised if natural baking soda is organic, most often the question behind the question is if it’s all natural? Western Colorado, in United States contains what is believed to be the largest natural deposit of sodium bicarbonate mineral in North America with the only successful water mining process known. Mechanical extraction processes are used in Wyoming where a 127 billion-ton reserve deposit of Trona exits. Trona is a sodium carbonate compound that is processed into soda ash, bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda. Solvay also produces sodium bicarb products from the Wyoming deposits.
Some companies that sell baking soda products include:
- Thrive Baking Soda whose label is shown here has 160 milligrams of sodium, 7% of recommended daily nutrition. It contains no calcium, iron, sugar, protein, or fat.
- Church & Dwight’s Arm & Hammer has been a trusted brand for over 170-years.
- Bob’s Red Mill baking soda has an aluminum free label however other manufacturers products are also aluminum free, not to be confused with baking powder.
- Ener-G has a sodium bicarbonate substitute composed of Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Carbonate containing no sodium if you’re looking for a low sodium or no sodium leavening agent and you also add magnesium, calcium and fat to the nutrition label.
- Rumford’s Clapper Girl baking soda brand is 100-percent sodium bicarbonate, zero trans fat, Kosher, and gluten free.
- Frontier Co-op’s baking soda is also 100-percent sodium bicarbonate and available through herb and health food stores.
Fresh is best. To test stir into some white or distilled vinegar. If you see a mild or lackluster reaction its time to replace it. But don’t throw the old baking powder away. Use it instead clean the oven, pots and pans, or even in the bathroom on the toilet, tub, or sink where a mild abrasive cleaner is in order. Mix it with vinegar and water to keep your drains clean and fresh as well. If you’ve used the baking soda as a refrigerator deodorizer it probably won’t work very well in your recipe.
Almost every home has baking soda in numerous products including antacids, toothpaste, laundry detergent, fire extinguishers, and cat litter. Sodium bicarbonate is also known as an antacid used for acid indigestion and heartburn. It’s also prescribed as a remedy to reduce the acidity of blood and urine. Alka-Seltzer is one of the most popular antacids that contains baking soda in addition to other ingredients for heartburn and acid indigestion. Schering-Plough’s Zegerid is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that combines Omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate to treat frequent heartburn.