Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day!

Today is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day! Pure Bicarbonate of Soda is also known as Baking Soda, a leavening agent along with other agents such as Baking Powder and Yeast.

Bicarbonate of Soda (NaHCO3) is a white crystalline alkali which effervesces (fizzes) when it comes into contact with a variety of acids (like honey, molasses, brown sugar, sour cream, yogurt, cocoa, citrus juice or fruits). It then produces gasses, namely carbon dioxide. It is this chemical reaction that facilitates the rising action in baked goods.

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I recently enjoyed some amazing soda bread, and wanted to pass along a fantastic sounding recipe for Irish Soda Bread from Epicurious:

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
Bon App├ętit February 2005
by Anitra Earle, Yonkers, NY

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Anitra Earle of Yonkers, New York, writes: "I'm a perfume detective who hunts down hard-to-find and discontinued scents. One of the benefits of running my business from home is that I get to cook every day. I usually make dishes that I've relied on for years."


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins.

Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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And, of course, Bicarbonate of Soda is found in many antacid remedies. At this time of the year when we are eating more, having more cocktails and attending late night parties, Bicarbonate of Soda can be our best friend in recovering from the festivities as well!

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