Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 01:11AM Admin Registered: 16 years ago Posts: 7,772


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I am just writing some recipes and wondering if dissolving baking soda (bicarbonate soda) in milk, yoghurt or hot water actually necessary anymore?I am thinking of recipes such as ANZAC biscuits, banana bread, chocolate cake etc... where the baking soda is dissolved.I am sure it is now obsolete as it happily dissolves and activates within the batter.Your thoughts?
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 01:20AM Registered: 14 years ago Posts: 1,979
I regularly make several recipes that use baking soda, and none of them call for it to be added to the liquid first. In fact, until you mentioned it, I had completely forgotten that this used to be common practice.I did a quick search and found this... seems to make sense. Perhaps you just need to ensure your baking soda isn"t lumpy when you add it.
QuoteBaking soda is a humectant (absorbs moisture) and sometimes that can interfere with its ability to disperse evenly among the dry ingredients. But if it is kept in a moisture proof container you can also add it to flour directly in baking recipes, just make sure you whisk it in well.
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 01:23AM Admin Registered: 16 years ago Posts: 7,761
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 06:42AM Registered: 13 years ago Posts: 2,834
One example of this is The Edmonds recipe book Hokey Pokey biscuit recipe. An earlier version uses the dissolving method of the baking soda and a later version incorporates it with the flour.
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 07:51AM Registered: 6 years ago Posts: 436
Interesting, like others, some of my recipes require baking soda to be dissolved in liquid and others don"t and I"ve never really given any thought as to why.I have just had a look around some websites on the subject and one school of thought is that baking soda, unlike baking powder, is "double-leavening" ie. stage one of leavening occurs when it comes in contact with moisture and stage two when it is exposed to heat ie cooking. Therefore, dissolving baking soda in liquid effectively speeds up the first stage of leavening.Apparently the baking soda used years ago was single leavening which may explain the change in Edmonds recipe method for the Hokey Pokey biscuits, Marnie.However, I"m not sure that I"m convinced - I might have a play and see if dissolving baking soda makes any discernible difference, starting with the Banana and Chocolate Cake in the steustatiushistory.org recipe bank which I make often.Regards,Barbara Anne
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 08:09AM Registered: 10 years ago Posts: 3,176
Barbara Anne Wrote:------------------------------------------------------- one school of thought is that baking> soda, unlike baking powder, is "double-leavening"> ie. stage one of leavening occurs when it comes in> contact with moisture and stage two when it is> exposed to heat ie cooking. Therefore, dissolving> baking soda in liquid effectively speeds up the> first stage of leavening.> > Apparently the baking soda used years ago was> single leavening which may explain the change in> Edmonds recipe method for the Hokey Pokey> biscuits, Marnie.You are right to be unconvinced. That school of thought is confused.Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It leavens with the carbon dioxide which is produced when it is mixed with an acid in the presence of enough liquid to dissolve both chemicals. The acid can be an acid liquid like lemon juice, treacle, golden syrup, whey, or an acid powder like tartaric acid, citric acid.Baking powder is a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and acid, usually tartaric acid and/or citric acid. Baking powder is classed as single acting when it has one kind of acid, or double acting when it has two kinds of acid.
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 20, 2016 11:23AM Registered: 15 years ago Posts: 5,607
Oh my gosh............I am a person who does as the recipe says! If it says dissolve - I dissolve - if it says add it with the dry ingredients - I add it with the dry ingredients, no problems to me. I don"t want the fuss of doing something under my own volition and finding it doesn"t work..........I just want to do as instructed and end up with the right results. (You can tell I"m not an inventor - I prefer to leave that to someone else and enjoy the results of their experiments!)Mind you I don"t always do as instructed haha!
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Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 21, 2016 03:00AM Registered: 11 years ago Posts: 223
I haven"t done rigorous testing but have sadly eaten many baked products where the baking soda flavour comes through, which it shouldn"t if properly activated. This makes me lean towards activating it in the mixing stage just in case. It might be unnecessary for experienced bakers who are careful that the baking soda is lump-free and well combined, but most recipes are for a broader audience who may not be as meticulous (and I certainly have many moments of distraction in my life, so for everyday baking I prefer foolproof recipes just in case a toddler wants to help at a pivotal moment, or the phone rings, or whatever). Nothing more disappointing than biting into a delicious-looking piece of cake or biscuit to taste baking soda!__________________________________________________________Visit Mrs Cake"s blog at
Re: Dissolving baking soda, is it necessary? June 21, 2016 03:13AM Registered: 13 years ago Posts: 2,834


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I have to agree, Mrs Cake regarding biting into something and tasting baking soda. I"m not sure which is worse, eating a scone and tasting baking powder or the taste of the tiniest bit of soda.. Barbara Anne, I remember my sister telling me some time ago that she just mixed her baking soda with the other dry ingredients. With only two of us in the house most of the time now I do very little baking and when I do bake my husband takes most of it to work in a container labelled "Please Eat Me". It all goes quickly. Sometimes when he goes to pick up the container there is a note on it that reads "Please Refill Me".However, I digress, I now have the urge to make some Hokey Pokey biscuits.