This white powder is an alkali (formally known as bicarbonate of soda) that, when combined with acid, produces carbon dioxide and tiny, fizzy bubbles.
Bicarbonate of soda is used in commercial cake mixes and flours to improve the effectiveness of another ingredient with which it is often combined – baking powder. When mixed with tartaric acid or lemon juice, it acts as a raising agent in baking.
Bicarbonate of soda is available in the home baking sections of supermarkets.
Once opened, use up quickly otherwise it will lose its effectiveness.
Bicarbonate of soda was once used in to soften the skins of pulses while cooking, it was also added to green vegetables while cooking in order to preserve their colour. However, as this practice affects the taste, texture and nutritional content of the foods, it is no longer common.
Article by Sejal Sukhadwala
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