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Upgrade Your Favorite Foods Using Baking Soda

Baking soda powder is a common household item with a multitude of uses, including house cleaning and skin care. However, did you know that it can also be used to enhance your cooking? Scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate, this powder can create fermentation when combined with hot liquids and acidic substances, resulting in the release of air that inflates mixtures and makes pastries more airy. But the benefits of baking soda powder don't end there; it can also solve common cooking problems and improve the texture of your dishes.
By learning how to use it in various ways, you can upgrade the meals you prepare with ease. If you don't have baking soda, don't fret. We've got you covered with some helpful tips to enhance your dishes using soda water.
baking soda

Using baking soda in cooking

1. Softening hummus

One of the ways you can use baking soda powder in cooking is by softening hummus. Achieving the perfect texture and taste can be challenging, but using baking soda can help shorten the cooking time and soften the chickpeas to the right degree. Simply add baking soda to the pot of water while cooking the hummus, and you're good to go.
Opinions vary on the amount of powder needed for chickpeas, typically ranging from ¼ to ¾ tablespoon per 500 grams. The type, size, and expiration date of the chickpeas will affect the exact amount required. To easily remove the skins, it's recommended to split the amount of soda and cooking time into two parts. Use the majority of the soda in the first part of cooking, then remove the pot from heat halfway through, filter, wash the grains, and continue cooking with their water. Finally, add the remaining powder.
Baking soda powder is a versatile ingredient that can be used to soften legumes like beans or lentils. Adding baking soda powder to the water when soaking legumes can help optimize their breakdown process. This helps to reduce the bloating tendency that some people experience after consuming legumes. However, it's important to be cautious not to overuse baking soda powder, as it can leave an unpleasant taste. 

2. Neutralizing the acidity of tomatoes 

When preparing your tomato sauce, whether it's for pasta, lasagna, or any other dish, a subtle sprinkle of baking soda can transform the sauce's flavor profile. It works by reducing the acidity and enhancing the sauce's natural sweetness, lending a more robust and rounded flavor to the dish.

Just a light pinch is all you need. Overuse of baking soda can unintentionally nullify the intrinsic tartness of the tomatoes, which is fundamental to the authentic taste of Italian cuisine. Therefore, a gentle touch is crucial, as it ensures that the characteristic tang of the tomato sauce is merely softened, not completely eliminated, preserving the traditional Italian flavor profile we've come to know and love.

Remarkably, this baking soda trick can be a healthier substitute for the commonly used method of adding sugar to temper the tomato sauce's acidity. By using baking soda, you are avoiding unnecessary refined sugars, making your sauce not just more balanced, but healthier. This can be particularly beneficial in pasta dishes, lasagna, and even tomato-based shakes where a too-acidic tomato taste might be off-putting.

Moreover, this addition of baking soda does more than just balance flavors. It subtly enhances the color of the tomato sauce, making it more vibrant and appealing. You'll be left with a beautifully rich and luscious sauce, both in terms of flavor and presentation.

tomato soup

3. Making your dumplings lighter and airier

While crafting your dumpling batter, subtly sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into the mix. Be careful not to add too much, as overuse can impart a slightly metallic taste. It's the balance of just the right amount that makes the magic happen. Less is more in this case, ensuring the baking soda subtly enhances the dumpling's texture without affecting the taste.

As you carefully fold your dumplings, you will notice the batter appears lighter, almost airy. Once cooked, whether you choose to steam or pan-fry them, your dumplings will rise a little more than usual, achieving a pleasantly soft and fluffy texture that's loved universally.

Furthermore, your dumplings will not only feel light and fluffy, they'll also have a more delicate look with a slightly increased volume. This not only appeals to the taste buds, but also to the eye, making your dish more aesthetically pleasing.

4. Improve the texture of pancakes and Belgian waffles

The magic starts with your ordinary pancake or Belgian waffle batter. While preparing your batter, all you need to do is to introduce a teaspoon of baking soda for every pound of flour. This humble ingredient, when blended into the batter, lies in wait for the perfect moment to unleash its magical qualities. But remember, timing is key. The baking soda should be incorporated into the batter just before you're ready to pour it onto the griddle or into the waffle iron.

As soon as the batter graces the hot surface, the transformation begins. You'll be amazed as you watch the batter morph, with bubbles starting to surface, growing bigger and rounder with each passing second. Your pancakes and waffles will swell up more than usual, becoming lighter, airier, and fluffier, thereby offering a superior gastronomic experience that is a sheer delight to the palate.

The baking soda doesn't just stop at enhancing the texture of your pancakes or waffles. It also helps in preventing your breakfast treats from getting excessively browned or burnt, ensuring they are golden and perfectly cooked every time. Your pancakes and waffles will not only taste better, they'll look more inviting as well, with the beautiful, evenly-distributed bubbles and an appealingly fluffy appearance.


5. Upgrading your omelet and scrambled eggs

Elevate your breakfast game by upgrading your omelets and scrambled eggs. There's no need to get fancy - simply experiment with different ingredients and techniques until you find what works best for you.
To make your morning meals more exciting, try this simple trick that will have everyone in the family looking forward to breakfast time. When making scrambled eggs or omelets, add a pinch of baking soda to the beaten eggs just before frying. This will make the eggs fluffier, softer, and more delicious, similar to the effect of using baking powder in pancake batter.

Using drinking soda instead of baking soda

If you run out of baking soda powder and are in need of carbonated water, you can create it yourself. Carbonated water is simply water with carbon dioxide dissolved in it. To achieve the best results, use the carbonated water immediately after opening and removing it from the refrigerator to preserve the gases. It's important to use very cold water, as any increase in temperature may make it difficult for the liquids to hold the gases inside them. To preserve the gases, add the carbonated water as the last ingredient to the batter and mix it gently. Try to use the batter within 15 minutes of adding the carbonated water for the best results. This will create an airy and smooth texture in your baked goods.

drinking soda

1. Making juicier meat balls 

As you prepare your meatball mixture, it's as simple as mixing in the soda water with your other ingredients. As you mix, you'll notice the meat starts to expand slightly, taking on a lighter, fluffier texture. This transformation is a result of the carbonation in the soda water, creating minuscule pockets of air throughout your mixture.

However, the incorporation of soda water isn't the end of this culinary trick. Once your mixture is nicely combined and has the right consistency, it's crucial to let it chill before you start forming your meatballs. Chilling the mixture allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the absorption of the soda water into the meat, leading to a much juicier final product. Then, refrigerating the mixture until it's time to cook further develops the flavors and helps to maintain the moist texture.

Not only do these meatballs offer a superior texture, but the use of soda water can also enhance the flavor profile of the meat. The added moisture allows the meat to retain more of its natural flavors, which might otherwise be lost during the cooking process. The result is a more flavorful, tender meatball that pairs well with any sauce or side dish.

2. Cooking vegetables without salt

Did you know that some vegetables can be cooked in carbonated water for a crispier texture and enhanced color? This technique was discovered by French chefs who were looking for ways to cook vegetables without using salt water. Vegetables such as carrots, asparagus, green peas, and beans are recommended for this type of cooking. The carbonated water already contains sodium, so there's no need to add salt to the water while cooking. To prepare, simply bring the carbonated water to a boil, add the vegetables, and cook for a few minutes. This trick can be very helpful in making your vegetables taste better.
3. Making home-made sodas
To enhance the taste of your favorite fruit smoothie, you can simply replace the liquid base with carbonated water. This trick can also be used to add a bubbly twist to your iced tea or cocktails. If you're new to the world of smoothies, a sparkling lemonade with rosemary, sliced strawberries and lemon with basil or watermelon juice with soda and mint can be a great start. Experiment with different combinations of flavors to create refreshing drinks that are healthier than store-bought alternatives.
home-made sodas

4. Getting a better texture for cold tomato soup (Gazpacho)

Gazpacho, in its traditional form, is a delightful blend of ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, bell peppers, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil. It's a dish that radiates the essence of summer. The introduction of soda water, or carbonated water, to this timeless Spanish recipe infuses it with an extra layer of cool refreshment, enhancing the overall gastronomic experience.

Once you've prepared your Gazpacho according to your preferred recipe, it's time to introduce the soda water. Two glasses of chilled soda water is all it takes. This carbonated liquid should be mixed gently into the soup. As the soda water mingles with the Gazpacho, its tiny bubbles distribute evenly throughout the soup, creating a light, consistent texture that's incredibly satisfying.

The inclusion of soda water not only adds an intriguing textural element to the Gazpacho but it also provides immediate and effective cooling. This is particularly beneficial if you're serving the Gazpacho in a hot climate or during the summer months, ensuring each spoonful offers a burst of revitalizing coolness.

Another remarkable aspect of adding soda water to your Gazpacho is the enhancement of its refreshing taste. The subtle carbonation of the soda water adds a slight zing, an effervescence that heightens the already refreshing nature of the soup. It's a nuanced improvement that doesn't overpower the soup's inherent flavors but instead complements and elevates them. The addition of soda water can transform the presentation of your Gazpacho. The gentle bubbles contribute a slight frothiness on top, making the soup visually appealing and even more enticing.

cold tomato soup

5. Upgrading your tempura

To make the tempura coating even more crispy and delicious, one can add carbonated water to the batter. The recipe for the batter includes regular or tempura flour, cornflour, cold carbonated water, and spices of your choice. To fry in tempura, one must first cook the food, dip it in ice water, coat it in tempura batter, and deep-fry it in vegetable oil. The batter can be used to prepare various dishes, including vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and onion, as well as fish and chicken in Asian styles.

Sources : Jo del CorroCafeterías NebraskaPROtracy benjamin.

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