Bicarbonate of Soda

bicarbonate of soda

What is Bicarbonate of Soda and how to use it

Bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda is an alkali which is used to raise soda bread and cakes such as gingerbread, fruit cake, chocolate cake and carrot cake.  To work, It needs an acid to activate it so you will see it in recipes alongside cream of tartar, buttermilk or milk.  The powder works by giving off carbon dioxide.  This expands in the mixture creating a light cake or bread.   Don’t think that adding more will make a super duper risen cake.  If you add too much, you can taste it in the cake which isn’t bad for you but doesn’t taste the nicest.  If you have eaten scones that taste a bit powdery and can taste bitter.

bicarbonate of soda


Keep your powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Make sure your bicarbonate of soda is in date before using.

Bicarbonate of Soda Recipes

Soda bread is a classic recipe.  No need to yeast or kneading here, the soda creates the rise needed. Add some to buttermilk pancakes to make them extra fluffy.

Around the house

Clean your fridge with a solution of bicarb and warm water.

A small dish of powder in your fridge will absorb smells.

Remove stains from your tea and coffee cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in a baking soda paste.

Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.

It’s also an emergency toothpaste, its a mild abrasive.

Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!

Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.

Find out about Baking Powder and how to use it here.

Find out about Cream of Tartar and how to use it here.


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I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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