Raising agents or leavening agents are ingredients added to baked products in small quantities. Once included in the mixture, it creates bubbles of carbon dioxide—which is essential to make the texture familiar to the baking enthusiasts. Baking soda is considered a common ingredient in baking. While people have mistaken it as a form of baking powder, it is a different ingredient.
In some countries, baking soda is also called meetha soda or khane ka soda. In Hindu cooking, meetha soda translates as “sweet soda,” despite baking soda leaves a bitter taste. However, meetha soda is used to create staple sweets and baked desserts in Urdu cuisine, garnering its name.
Sodium bicarbonate is a compound made by mixing sodium and carbonic acid. The chemical reaction produces a fine white powder used for a couple of things: baking ingredient, pH buffer, and cleaning agent. When eaten on its own, meetha soda has a bitter, soapy taste. This is non-toxic but must still be used in small quantities.
The Difference Between Baking Soda and Meetha Soda
There is no difference between baking soda and meetha soda. These are considered the same thing, and the only visible difference is how they are called in their respective countries. Either way, you can use meetha soda the way you are using your baking soda. The chemical name of meetha soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), which is the same chemical composition as baking soda.
So, the next time you’ve seen meetha soda inside an international store, remember that it is the same thing as baking soda. Knowing the other components of baking soda or meetha soda regarding their usage, functions, and risks can better understand this leavening agent.
Too much baking soda can create a coarse crumb with a soapy taste. It is also used in cocoa powder to create a red tint—a technique used in making Devil’s Food Cake. Unlike yeast, baking soda has a longer shelf life without reducing its properties. The idea ratio of baking soda and flour is one teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour. Self-rising flour doesn’t necessarily require baking soda since it is already introduced to the mixture.
Is Meetha Soda Harmful?
Meetha soda, or internationally known as baking soda, is a soluble crystalline powder used for multiple purposes. This odorless, non-toxic, and non-combustible compound reacts with acids that release carbon dioxide gas and heat. Meetha soda has a lower pH level than water and is considered an alkali or base substance.
This compound possesses versatility for the household, such as baking ingredients, cleaning utensils, and topical ointment for insect bites and sunburn. You can also use sodium bicarbonate in different applications such as soapmaking, fire extinguishers, and fungicide.
While sodium bicarbonate doesn’t possess excessive harm to be considered toxic, prolonged exposure and consumption of this chemical can create health risks such as:
- It can be irritating to damaged skin when moisture is present. However, it is non-irritating to a standard skin type.
- When exposed to the eye, it may cause redness and slight pain. It can be treated by flushing water to the sights and placing a sufficient amount of eye drops.
- If ingested in large amounts, meetha soda may cause gastrointestinal irritation due to reducing the stomach acid’s pH level. The stomach acidity must be on the right level for it to perform better digestion.
- When inhaled, it can cause coughing and sneeze for a short period.
Some of the things you can do when handling meetha soda are as follows:
- If large amounts of sodium bicarbonate are used in a worker’s breathing zone, proper ventilation and dust masks are suggested. Although it is non-toxic, baking soda can irritate your nasal cavity, which can cause sneezing and coughing.
- Wearing gloves and long sleeves as protective clothing is recommended when handling baking soda. If you have an open wound, make sure that it doesn’t come near the meetha soda. It can irritate your wounded skin, which can cause discomfort.
- In case of contact, flush your eyes and skin with clean water until the baking soda is fully dissolved. It is also suggested to drink water to treat indigestion with symptoms related to excess baking soda consumption.
What Is the Use of Meetha Soda?
Baking soda or meetha soda is used in baked goods like muffins, cookies, and cakes in leavening agents. When activated with an acid, carbon dioxide gas is released, which can help the dough and batter raise efficiently. It is recommended to add meetha soda to ingredients with acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, lemon juice, citrus fruits, and vinegar.
Listed below are some uses and benefits of meetha soda:
- Baking soda is recommended for acid-based mixtures. It is an alkali substance, which means that it only produces a chemical reaction mixed with acid.
- When you have acid reflux, you can neutralize it by drinking a glass of water with half a teaspoon of baking soda if you don’t have antiacid at home. However, this must not be fully used as an antiacid since it can cause metabolic alkalosis and heart problems if continued use.
- Meetha soda is also a fantastic breath freshener. Improve your oral hygiene routine by gargling half a teaspoon of meetha soda with half a glass of warm water.
- Improve the condition of your refrigerator by using baking soda as a charcoal pellets substitute. Sodium bicarbonate is a recommended deodorizer that reducing the acidity in the air. Excess acid can cause odor in the air when mixed with human sweat, moisture, and dirt.
- Taking a liter of water mixed with 300 milligrams of meetha soda can drastically improve your exercise performance. Since it has high pH content, it can delay fatigue, giving you extra leeway for your workout routine.
- Use baking soda as a topical treatment for itchy skin and sunburns. A paste made with water and baking soda can soothe your itchy skin faster than ice. Just add droplets of water until it forms a solid paste. You can also create a baking soda by adding 1-2 cups of baking soda to your lukewarm water.