Bicarbonate of Soda, or Sodium bicarbonate, or Baking Soda, or Bread Soda, or carb soda, is a chemical compound composed of a sodium cation and a bicarbonate anion. It is a white solid that is crystalline, but often appears as a fine powder. Slightly salty in taste, its natural mineral form is nahcolite and components of this mineral are often found in many natural springs. Naturally occurring deposits of nahcolite are found in the Green River formation in Colorado, US. It is deposited as ‘beds’ during periods of high evaporation, ie drought. It is commercially mined using common mining techniques, such as used in coal mining. It can also be a solution, mined by pumping hot water through previously mined beds, and reconstituting dissolved nahcolite through a natural cooling crystallisation process.
There are so many ways in which we can use Bicarbonate of Soda…
Used as a leavening agent in baking, it causes the expansion of batter in quick breads eg soda bread. Acidic materials that induce this reaction include cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. Heat by itself causes bicarbonate of soda to act as a raising agent because of thermal decomposition – it releases carbon dioxide at temperatures above 80 degrees celcius/180 degrees Fahrenheit. It is sometimes used in the cooking of green vegetables, giving a bright green colour, as it reacts with the chlorophyll in the leaves, but also affects the taste and nutritional content. It is used to soften peas and pulses, and is used to make the traditional ‘mushy peas’. It is used to tenderise meats, and enhance the crispness in fried foods as it allows passages of steam to escape. [Read more…] about The Wonders of Bicarbonate of Soda