By April 7, 2012 Read More →

Recipes and Uses for Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

So what is the deal with baking soda? You can clean with it, brush your teeth with it, it deodorizes, and it will soften water. But what about it’s use in baking? I see few recipes for it lately, which is a pity, because it keeps twice as long as baking powder.

Baking powder is a compound containing soda, along with various other ingredients. The amount you use varies depending on the formulation, which can present a leavening dilemma if you don’t have the ‘right kind’ of baking powder. Just how much ‘double acting’ baking powder equals ‘triple acting’ and how much ‘regular’ baking powder can be substituted for the others? Baking powder is also ‘activated’ by adding liquid (any kind) to make it start bubbling and working. In a humid area that could cause a problem by weakening its leavening power over time. It often comes in glass or metal containers to try to prevent reaction with humidity or spills. And because it is a compound leavening, freshness of the mixture is an issue with effectiveness.

Soda contains only one ingredient and reacts to acid (sour) liquids, thus preventing reactions in humid areas or if you spill some water on the package. It is usually stored in cardboard boxes, easy to directly recycle, and my experience confirms what I read in a 1700s cookbook: that soda and sour milk make a superior cornbread to those containing baking powder, rising higher, with a softer and moister crumb. Since corn, in my part of the country, is the least expensive, most available storage grain, I have an interest in maximizing its use in my cooking. Soda is also cheaper than baking powder. Hence my love of baking soda. Although I have a very long collection of uses for soda, I will stick to cooking uses in this post.

Some basic cooking information regarding baking soda
1/4 tsp soda = 238 mg sodium
1/4 tsp soda + 1/2 c soured milk/buttermilk = 1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 c sweet milk
1/4 tsp soda + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar = 1 tsp baking powder

A pinch of baking soda will: fluff up mashed potatoes, prevent boiled syrup from crystallizing, keep boiled milk from curdling, emulsify gravy, de-gas and speed cooking time of boiled beans, tenderize boiled cabbage, reduce acidity in tomatoes or coffee, and remove cloudiness from iced tea. 1/2 tsp added to a fruit dessert (pie filling for example) will cut acidity so you can reduce the sugar needed (an old wartime trick).
I add a pinch to canned tomatoes to cut the acid if my ulcer is acting up.


2 c cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda
2 c buttermilk or soured milk (2 c milk + 1 tsp vinegar)
1 TB oil
1 egg

Sift cornmeal and salt; dissolve soda in buttermilk or soured milk. Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a greased skillet and bake at 350 for about 35 min.


2 c cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda
4 TB lard or shortening or saved fat
3/4 c boiling water
1/2 c butter milk (or 1/2 c milk + 1/4 tsp vinegar)

Sift cornmeal, salt and soda.
Cut in shortening until very fine (you cant find any lumps of shortening remaining).
Stir in boiling water, and keep beating the mixture as you add buttermilk enough to make a soft dough. (Both boiling water and beating soften the corn.) Mold in small flat cakes, bake in well greased iron skillet in preheated 350 degree oven, or cook in skillet over med heat/coals abut 5 min, or until browned on one side and risen up; then turn and brown the other side. (I often make biscuits and pone in my electric fry pan in the summer to avoid heating up the oven and the kitchen.)


4 c corn meal
2 c hot water
pot of boiling water
2 c cooked beans
1/2 tsp soda

Put cornmeal in a bowl, mix in drained beans thoroughly. Make a hole in the middle of the mixture, and into this add the soda and water. Mix well, forming a dough. Form dough in balls (I go golf-ball size), and drop in the pot of boiling water. Cook about 45 min or until done to taste.
Corn and beans combined make a more complete vegetarian protein. These are nice with tomato sauce or tomato gravy. Boiling them in broth adds a savory flavor, and then I make soup from the broth. Two dishes from one pot!


2 c flour (white or part whole wheat)
1 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 TB melted fat, shortening or oil
3/4 c soured milk
extra sweet milk

Mix flour, salt, and soda. Stir in shortening and sour milk. Mix to a soft dough, adding sweet milk if needed for proper texture. Roll out 1 inch thick, cut with a 2-inch cutter (or make them square with a knife like I do). Pu5t on greased baking sheet, sides touching and brush the tops with a little sweet milk. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min until light brown. These cook well in a dutch oven, but watch them, they brown fast.


2 c whole wheat flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp cinnamon
1 c applesauce
1/2 c oil

Mix all ingredients, beat very well. Put in ungreased angel-food cake pan (tube pan) or a 9×13 inch square pan. Bake 35 min at 350 and serve warm with whipped cream.
The fruit provides the acid to make the soda ‘work’. Makes a nice moist, lower-fat cake.


2 c water
2 c sugar
2 c raisins
3 TB lard
1 5tsp nutmeg
1 c nuts
3 c flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt

Combine water, sugar, raisins and lard in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cool. Sift and add dry ingredients, adding nuts last. Put in ungreased 8×8 inch pan, bake 1 hour at 350.
No eggs, butter or milk, but still tasty. I serve it right out of the pan, and it is very nice with coffee in the afternoon.


1/2 c butter or margarine, or good tasting saved fat
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 c buttermilk or soured milk (1 1/2 c milk + 1 1/2 tsp vinegar, let sit 10 min)
1 tsp vanilla

Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients (cocoa, salt, sugar, flour, soda) well. Add alternately with buttermilk or sour milk to the butter mixture. Add vanilla. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min. Cool and frost in the pan. This is my ‘decadent’ chocolate cake.


1 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
1 c shortening (solid)
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c dried egg powder
1/4 c water
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oatmeal
1 c chocolate chips

Cream shortening and sugars. Add water and remaining ingredients and mix well, adding oats and chocolate chops last. Bake on ungreased sheets, 10-12 min at 375. You can omit the dried egg powder and water, and just beat in one fresh egg.
I don’t recall how many this makes, but its enough to feed the trail crew…


1 c soft butter, margarine or neutral tasting fat (chicken fat)
1 c peanut butter (reconstituted from powder OK)
1 1/4 c honey
2 eggs (reconstituted OK)
1 tsp vanilla
4 c whole wheat flour (or a 50-50 mix with white, if your tasters are picky)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda

Blend butter until smooth, then blend in peanut butter until smooth again. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing well. Roll into balls, put on ungreased cookie sheets and use a fork dipped in cold water to make the criss-cross and flatten. Bake at 350 for 10 min n the top rack of the oven. Watch closely, as the honey makes them tend to over brown. Remove from pans as soon as you take them out (or you will need a chisel).

You can adapt any baking recipe for soda as long as you remember the formula:
1/4 tsp soda + 1/2 c sour milk/buttermilk = 1 tsp baking powder + 1/2 c sweet milk

Now, doggone it, I’ve gone and made myself hungry….corn pone and chili beans for dinner, I think.

By kappydell

Posted in: Uncategorized

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2 Comments on "Recipes and Uses for Baking Soda"

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  1. Angela says:

    Thank you for providing the recipes, I’ve been looking for some!  You can also make sour milk or clabbered milk by adding a glug of white vinegar to the regular sweet milk.

  2. I always appreciate uses for ingredients most people rarely consider including in their preps. I’m definitely becoming a bigger fan of both baking soda and baking powder, especially as a substitute for yeast.

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