In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much baking soda?”. We will discuss different ways that will help you counteract too much baking soda in your food.
How to counteract too much baking soda?
If you have mistakenly added too much baking soda to your food and are searching for ways to solve the problem, no need to worry, here we have prepared a list of different ideas which you can try to fix too much baking soda in your food.
- Remove the unstirred ingredients
- Mix in something acidic
- Add more of the other ingredients
- Use it to make something else
- Other flavourings
Baking powders account for a large part of the chemical leaveners used both in the home and in bakeries. These preparations include sodium bicarbonate, suitable leavening acids, and starch and other extenders. Federal standards for baking powder require that the formula must yield at least 12% by weight of available carbon dioxide, and most contain 26–30% by weight of sodium bicarbonate (1).
Different ways to counteract too much baking soda
If you have added a lot of baking soda to your cake, the resulting batter will have a higher pH. The cake will brown more quickly, which indicates that the more baking soda you add to your recipe, the more browning will occur.
Unfortunately, with more baking soda, some of it is left behind. This extra baking soda alters the flavour and may give them a weird taste, which seems pungent and a lot of baking soda might even cause your cakes and cookies to have a soapy taste. The proper balance of acid and sodium bicarbonate are essential because excess sodium bicarbonate imparts a soapy taste to bakery products; an excess of acid leads to tartness and sometimes bitterness (1).
Remove unstirred ingredients
If you get to know that you have added too much baking soda to your recipe before you start stirring all your ingredients together, you might be able to easily scoop out all of the baking soda and start all over again. Although this strategy will waste some of your baking soda, it will let you preserve the other ingredients.
Sodium bicarbonate dissolves completely when mixed in the dough (2). Removing it is possible before mixing.
Mix in something acidic
Baking soda is actually sodium bicarbonate (Na2CO3), which has an alkaline nature. It is important to neutralize its super sharp taste otherwise it overpowers your dish.
Use a sprinkle of acidic flavourings like lemon juice or vinegar to counterbalance the sour taste of baking soda. If your recipe includes chocolate, directly add half a tsp of cocoa powder to it. Buttermilk can also be used to neutralize the sour flavour of baking soda.
When sodium bicarbonate is dissolved in water, it ionizes and forms HCO3− ions which then react with H+ ions from the acids. The reaction that occurs is (2):
HX + NaHCO3 → NaX + H2O + CO2, when HX is an acid.
Add more of the other ingredients
If the recipe required you to use half a tsp of baking soda, and you used one tsp mistakenly, you can quickly fix it by doubling up all the other ingredients.
This technique will bring the recipe into an accurate proportion, but you may end up with an extra quantity of the dessert than required. Use this method only if you are certain of the exact measure of extra baking soda that you added.
This is not an absolute fix considering it will give you a larger quantity than you planned to make, require more of the other ingredients, and might demand an extra pan or cookie sheet, but it is surely better than throwing out all of those ingredients. The good news is that some cooked cakes and most cookie dough can be frozen well.
The neutralizing power of leavening acids is not uniform and the relative activity of an acid is given by its neutralizing value, which is determined by calculating the parts by weight of sodium bicarbonate that will neutralize l00 parts by weight of the leavening acid (1).
Use it to make something else
Sometimes, we only realise that baking soda has been put in abundance once the dish is ready and cooked. If you have a cake or a cookie that is extremely tart to be consumed, use it to cook something else.
For example, a bitter cake can be used as an excellent ingredient to be added to cream and then frozen for delicious cake-flavoured ice cream. You can also crumble up the cake into pieces and use it as a base for other layered desserts like Tiramisu or cheesecake.
Without reducing the leavening properties of baking soda, you can also add other ingredients to neutralize its bitter flavour.
Cinnamon, chocolate, and coffee are all strong flavours that serve well to mask the flavour within baked goods and sauces. Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for the sweet taste of cinnamon. In sweet food, there is a synergistic effect that enhances the sweet sensation of the food when combining the sweet taste of sugar and the sweet aroma of cinnamon (3).
Other options are lemon juice, extra vanilla flavouring or using hazelnut or almond oils rather than extracts for a stronger flavour.
This effect is called mixture suppression in taste, and masking or odor counteraction in olfaction. In taste mixtures, the inhibitory effect of one component on another can be undone by selective adaptation. When adaptation to one component is achieved (i.e ., that component is reduced in perceived intensity), the other component of the mixture is perceptually increased in intensity. If the adaptation to one component is relatively complete, the other component is perceived at the same level as it is when unmixed, as if only a single stimulus and not a mixture were being presented. This effect is commonly referred to as “release from mixture suppression” (4).
What happens if you consume too much baking soda?
If you have ingested too much baking soda, vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms as the body strives to fix the high sodium accumulation by pulling more water into the digestive system. After absorption, high sodium quantities can lead to seizures, dehydration, and kidney failure (5).
Why do I taste baking soda in my recipe?
Baking soda needs an acid to activate, which in turn counterbalances it. If you are adding baking soda to your cake or cookie batters without adding any acid, and the baking soda is not well blended into the flour, you will end up with a bad sharp flavour.
Sodium bicarbonate at 60°C, in the presence of moisture, provides low quantities of carbon dioxide in dough and batters. Without leavening acids, sodium carbonate is formed in the dough, increasing the alkalinity and adding a slightly soapy flavor (2).
Other FAQs about Baking soda that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “How to counteract too much baking soda?”. We have discussed different ways that will help you counteract too much baking soda in your food.
- Lindsay, Robert C. Food additives. Fennema’s food chemistry. CRC Press, 2007. 701-762.
- Garza Casso, Jessica Beatriz. Effects of amounts and types of sodium bicarbonate in wheat flour tortillas. Diss. Texas A&M University, 2007.
- Ribeiro-Santos, Regiane, et al. Revisiting an ancient spice with medicinal purposes: Cinnamon. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2017, 62, 154-169.
- Lawless, Harry T. An olfactory analogy to release from mixture suppression in taste. Bull Psychon Soc, 1987, 25, 266-268.
- Picetti D, Foster S, Pangle AK, et al. Hydration health literacy in the elderly. Nutr Healthy Aging, 2017; 4, 227-237.
- Wright JA, Cavanaugh KL. Dietary sodium in chronic kidney disease: a comprehensive approach. Semin Dial. 2010, 23, 415-421.