When it comes to baking soda, being bad simply means it has lost its potency, which means it may be ineffective for baking if it sits in your kitchen cabinet for too long. However, if you are unsure, it should not be disposed so quickly. Here is how to tell if baking soda is still good for use.
Baking soda is a pantry staple that can be found in a variety of recipes and culinary preparations. It also works well as a cleaning agent, deodorizer, laundry booster, whitener, and other household cleaners. Because we rely on it in the kitchen and throughout the house, it’s critical that the contents of that familiar orange box are still in good condition. Fortunately, there’s an easy way how to tell if baking soda is still good to be used or needs to be replaced.
A Closer Look at Baking Soda
Baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) is used in baking recipes, as the name implies. This chemical compound is a leavening agent, which means it helps batters and doughs rise while baking. Because baking soda is alkaline, it reacts with any acidic ingredient in the same recipe, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or buttermilk, to produce the carbon dioxide that lifts baked goods. For the crispiest fried chicken and onion rings, people use baking soda to help give them that crispiness.
It’s worth noting that the fresher the baking soda, the more effective it is in the kitchen. Once opened, a box of baking soda has a shelf life of six months to a year. If you come across an unopened box, chances are it’s still good even if the expiration date has passed (generally about 18 months from the time it went on sale).
How to Test if Baking Soda is Still Potent
You’ll need some acid, such as vinegar, to determine whether your baking soda has gone bad. Baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas when it reacts with the acidic ingredients in your recipes. The gas bubbles are what cause the dough to rise. To make the dough rise, yeast and baking powder release carbon dioxide gas.
- Place a spoonful of baking soda in a mixing bowl.
- Pour in some vinegar, lemon juice, or another acidic liquid.
- If the mixture bubbles a lot, the baking soda is still fine.
- If there isn’t much fizz, your baking soda has gone bad.
- Use the remainder of the box for cleaning and purchase another box for baking.
Storing Baking Soda for Maximum Shelf Life
For the longest shelf life, keep your baking soda dry. Items in your cupboard may be exposed to steam when you cook or use the dishwasher if it is close to your stove or above your dishwasher or sink. To keep moisture out, place your box or bag of baking soda in a plastic zip-lock bag or a storage container.
Want to Learn More?
Determining whether your baking soda is fresh enough to bake with is simple and something you may need to do if you are about to bake. You do not want a cake or brownie that does not rise. We hope this article has been of use to you. If you like to read more on techniques and learn some general knowledge about baking and cooking, we have a Fun Facts section just for those. We also have a Recipe section to fuel your food passion and along with it too, comes our range of non-dairy toppings and other culinary solutions from our Shop to help you get started with it.