Can Baking Soda Make Meat Tender and Juicy?

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Why use baking soda in meatballs?

Briefly, soaking the meats in baking soda solution helps create a tender product. This is especially necessary given the lack of bread crumbs which usually provide starch that physically interferes with protein linking helping retain moisture in the meat hence producing a tenderer meatball.

¼ tsp. Baking soda and tablespoon water poured into ground beef stop dryness. Protein molecules seize up the high heat as soda changes the PH of the protein, thus allowing it to cook over high heat without the rubbery texture we get so often.

Adding baking soda to meatballs promotes browning. The baking soda treatment makes the ground beef lose less liquid making it have a deeper, richer caramelized flavor and most definitely juicier.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Similar to baking soda, baking powder is a leavening agent used in quick-bake recipes. Often confused and mistaken for one another, these two interact within recipes in different ways and are very different in composition. It is important to consider the differences between both baking soda and baking powder when exploring baking recipes. As previously mentioned, baking soda is a leavening agent that, when mixed with acid and liquid, becomes activated and produces CO2 bubbles. Similarly, baking powder is a leavening agent that produces CO2 bubbles. However, the composition is one of the major differences.

Baking powder is comprised of baking soda itself, paired with another dry acid, such as cream of tartar. As a result, baking powder has the ability to be single or double acting. Single-acting baking powder performs in a similar way to baking soda that has been combined with an acid. It quickly releases CO2 and creates the leavening process that must be quickly taken advantage of. However, a double-acting baking powder can be activated twice through different means. Once the liquid is added to the baking powder, it becomes activated and produces the CO2 bubbles. In addition to the first activation, there is a secondary activation that can take place once the solution, or batter, is exposed to heat (placed in the oven). This also creates the ability for an elongated time frame that is not present within the reaction caused with baking soda and acid. This means that because baking powder is activated by liquid and already has the dry acid component (cream of tartar), it can preserve in the refrigerator longer. This is why items such as cookie dough can remain in the refrigerator, while cake batter must be cooked promptly.

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How Does Baking Soda Work?

Baking soda is most commonly used in baking as a leavening agent, hence its name. Before the commercialization of baking soda, biological leavening and fermentation processes were used but less convenient due to the extensive length of time associated with biological leavening. As most have formerly learned through science class and experimental measures, when a base meets an acid, a chemical reaction occurs. This concept is the same for baking soda as it pertains to baking. When baking soda is mixed with an acid and a liquid, it will create bubbles of carbon dioxide that give it a fluffy texture. That being said, baking soda can react without acid if it is warmed above 122°F or subject to long-term heat and humidity. If baking soda is stored within reasonable temperatures (at or below 77°F and 75% humidity), it will keep indefinitely.

Baking soda is generally used as an active ingredient in quick-bake recipes such as cookies, muffins, and pancakes. This is because of the fast-acting chemical reaction associated with baking soda and the acidic counterpart. When baking soda is combined with acid, CO2 gas bubbles are released, creating the “airy” effect in batter and dough. Furthermore, once the dough or batter starts to bake, the carbon dioxide will begin to filter through the dough and expand air that is trapped inside. The sources of acid combined with the baking soda will determine if the dough or batter can be kept in the refrigerator or needs to be baked immediately. For example, if the sources of acid are dry, such as cream of tartar or cocoa powder, then they can keep longer once combined with baking soda. However, if the acids are wet, such as yogurt or lemon juice, then the resulting batter will need to be used promptly. Baking soda can also provide dough with increased pH levels, which creates a heightened alkalinity. Through the increase in pH, the gluten in the dough becomes weakened, which creates a tender texture for cookies and pastries versus something chewier such as bread. Quantity is an important component, considering the effect baking soda has on baking recipes.

Baking Soda Bath

One cup of baking soda can be added to a warm tub of water. Baking soda baths bring relief to all sorts of itchy issues including chicken pox, shingles, insect bites, poison ivy, and dermatitis. Baking soda baths are soothing to those with a cold or the flu. Baking soda absorbs through the skin and helps the alkalize the body.

Baking Soda for Beauty

The above mentioned baking soda paste can be used to naturally exfoliate the skin. Gently massage baking soda onto face to remove dead skin cells. This should not be done more than once or twice a month as it can dry out the skin and make it overly alkaline. Skin is meant to be slightly acidic.

Baking soda is sometimes used as a shampoo alternative. Because baking soda is alkaline and hair and scalp are ideally more acidic, it can have adverse effects on the hair and scalp. Baking soda can be used as a “dry shampoo” for occasional use. It will help to absorb any odor and remove excess oil.

Baking soda is an old fashioned tooth paste solution. Whereas hair and skin need to be slightly acidic, the mouth should not be acidic. An acidic mouth is more likely to experience tooth decay, oral infections and bad breath. Brushing the teeth with baking soda before bed will help to keep the mouth alkaline overnight and will also help to whiten teeth.

Questions Answers

Question: Which marinade would you choose for top sirloin?

Answer: Red wine, oil, red onion, garlic, and peppercorns.

Question: What marinade do you use for a bottom round roast?

Answer: I like oil, red wine, onion, garlic, and pepper. Rub the roast with meat tenderizer first.

Question: How long ahead of time should the powdered tenderizer be mixed into a marinade and be used before cooking beef?

Answer: I usually marinate beef overnight, in the refrigerator.

Question: Do I need to wash the powdered meat tenderizer off the beef before cooking?

Answer: No.

Question: Is Pepsi good to tenderize meat?

Answer: My results for using cola to tenderize meats has been hit or miss. It does enhance flavor, however.

Question: If I'm adding meat tenderizer powder in a marinade, how long does the meat have to sit in the marinade and then how to cook it?

Answer: It depends on the meat. For tough cuts of beef, I usually let them marinate overnight.

Question: Can I substitute pineapple juice for orange juice as a meat tenderizer?

Answer: Yes.

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