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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Baking Soda Got Lumps?

As I've mentioned before, I use a combo of baking soda and vinegar in place of baking powder. I also sometimes use baking soda with cream of tartar when needing a dry version. And of course, I have several recipes that call for baking soda itself. I find myself using baking soda several times each week.

While I love how simply effective baking soda is in baking, it does have one drawback, lumps. Those pesky little lumps can be small enough to miss by sight but will show up in the finished product, lending an off taste to a bite of cookie or muffin. I've been asked a couple of times how I prevent these lumps, especially in cookie dough. 

There are 2 ways I've dealt with soda lumps. One option, I mix together butter, sugar, and soda in the initial step of any cookie recipe that calls for creaming butter and sugar before adding other ingredients. This little trick works well in cookie dough. My other method for handling soda lumps in batters and doughs is to use this small tea strainer. I add baking soda directly through the strainer, pressing any lumpy bits through the mesh.

I've been gifted many tea straining devices and tools over the years. I decided to dedicate this particular one to baking soda. Because I now only use the strainer on soda, I don't wash it after use, but instead I simply shake and tap it (mostly) clean afterward. And it's small enough to squeezes in alongside the container of baking soda in my cupboard.

So that's my little trick for dealing with lumps in baking soda.


  1. In any batter, I also just mix the soda in with the wet ingredients. Things like my waffle batter, I use a fork in the soda container and give it whirl to fluff up the soda. I've never had a clump of soda in a baked good but I can imagine the bad taste in my mouth. I've also seen many tea strainers at estate sales and often they are of higher quality than at today's stores.

    1. Hi Alice,
      I've wondered about mixing baking soda in with wet ingredients, thinking it might lose some of its fizzle if wet. But it doesn't do that for you? That would be good to know. I'll give it a try when I do waffles soon.
      It doesn't surprise me that the tea strainers you see at estate sales are higher quality. So much of what we can buy these days just isn't made to the standards they once were.

    2. I should clarify. I mix the baking soda with wet ingredients in batters like cake or cookies but in waffles, I add it to the dry ingredients and put buttermilk and eggs on top and mix very lightly so the soda can act as the foamy mixture to give the waffles the fluffiness. I never mix the soda with the wet in waffles but everything else I do.

    3. Thanks for clarifying, Alice. I get it now.

  2. I usually just use my fingers to break up a lump, and that seems to work. When I was a kid, I liked the taste of baking soda and would eat a spoonful of it at a time. I can't imagine doing that now. :)

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I wonder what it was about the taste of baking soda that you liked?
      I've occasionally put the soda in the palm of my hand and mashed out lumps that way. But I really don't like the feeling of the soda on my skin, so prefer to use the strainer. But your way does indeed work.

  3. That is a seriously ingenious idea, Lili. I think I've mentioned before that I use a tea strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of baked goods--why didn't I think of using it for baking soda???? Thank you for mentioning this. Like L&L, I use my fingers (I find myself using my hands a lot when baking) to break up a lump and it mostly works but sometimes I encounter one in pancakes or muffins. If I'm going to the bother of making food from scratch, I want it to taste good.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I like your idea to use a tea strainer for powdered sugar. I sometimes use my big strainer for that, but then I have to wash a larger item. I'll remember your tea strainer use next time I want to dust baked goods with powdered sugar. Thanks!


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