From making fluffy omelettes to creating the distinctive tops of muffins, baking soda is a staple in many kitchens. However, its quick leavening properties come at a cost -- too much can create a bitter taste in recipes. Using the right amount and knowing how to balance the distinctive taste of baking soda allows for rectification of mistakes and narrow avoidance of kitchen disasters.
Baking Soda Amount
Ensure that baking soda is not over-added to a recipe, as this is the most common reason for a bitter taste resulting from baking soda. While other ingredients can offset the flavor of baking soda, nothing can lessen the taste of too much added, only cover it. The most sure means of reducing a bitter baking soda taste is to lessen the amount added in a recipe. However, this may result in a lessened leavening effect if using less than the amount called for in a recipe.
Mixing baking soda with acids results in the desired carbon dioxide effect, causing leavening in baked and cooked goods. This counteracts the flavor of baking soda itself, offsetting the bitter taste. Ensure that each recipe has an acid in the recipe used, as this counteracts any flavor that the baking soda imparts. Ensure that you use the correct amount of both called for in a recipe.
For those sensitive to the bitter taste of baking soda, but without reducing its leavening properties, add other ingredients to mask the flavor. Cinnamon, chocolate, and coffee are all rich flavors that work well to cover the flavor within baked goods and sauces. Other alternatives are lemon juice, extra vanilla flavoring or using hazelnut or almond oils instead of extracts for a stronger flavor.
Substitute baking powder instead of baking soda as a leavener in a recipe for those sensitive to the flavor of baking soda. Another alternative is to use a long-acting leavener, such as yeast instead of the quick-leavening of soda. Choose alum-free baking soda to reduce the bitter, tinny taste as well.
Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.