Heat can also by itself cause sodium bicarbonate to act as a raising agent in baking because of thermal decomposition, releasing carbon dioxide. When used this way on its own, without the presence of an acidic component (whether in the batter or by the use of a baking powder containing acid), only half the available CO2 is released. Additionally, in the absence of acid, thermal decomposition of sodium bicarbonate also produces sodium carbonate, which is strongly alkaline and gives the baked product a bitter, "soapy" taste and a yellow color. To avoid an over-acidic taste from added acid, nonacid ingredients such as whole milk or Dutch-processed cocoa are often added to baked foods.
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