Baking soda

Where does baking soda come from? Is is mined, or refined from organic material, or what?

Your question is more comlicated than it seems. The most economical way to make sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)is to prepare it from sodium carbonate.
An early source of sodium carbonate was seaweed ashes (which is why sodium carbonate is sometimes called soda ash. So there’s the organic argument.
It’s also recovered (along with other chemicals) from lake brine in California.
It’s also found in large natural deposits and mined in Wyoming.
Now that you made me look it up I’m starting to respect Church & Dwight a little more.

And who do you suppose was the first person in history to stare at the bowl of unleavened grain and think, “You know, I bet if we burned a bunch of seaweed and threw the ashes in here and mixed it all up with this fermented milk, the results would taste really cool!”

Or maybe they already had the soda, set aside in a little container, the primordial Arm and Hammer? ::tastes baking soda:: “Yes, a little bit of this, too” ::adds to flour::

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Use baking powder, not soda, to bake.

Actually Sun, you use both. Both can be used as leavening agents. It’s not uncommon for them both to be used in the same recipe.

…it has never been my way to bother much about things which you can’t cure.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-Mark Twain

But one has a lousy taste!
Even this topic is worth more than 20 on top of it right now. We have nothing really good to play with other than a suposed “first time poster”, loverock.

Baking soda works because when you combine it with a mild acid like vinegar, it releases CO2. All baking powder is, is baking soda with a dried acid, which doesn’t react until wet.

They’re not exactly interchangeable. A good basic cookbook should tell you how to substitute one for the other.

sunbear - I don’t know why you’re getting a taste differential, except that there’s less actual baking soda when you substitute the powder. (& more acid)

To substitute 1 teaspoon baking powder use 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. But I would be willing to guess more people have baking powder in their pantry than cream of tartar.

Baking powder is a little vague. It can even be ammonium carbonate or calcium carnonate plus tartaric acid. Or it can have sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate.