Baking – How to make baking soda


I'm in a place where buying baking soda is proving to be quite difficult*, so I was looking for substitutions, and it seems there really aren't any. So this got me thinking: Baking soda is made (or otherwise harvested from nature) in some way.

How can I do this?

I realize the answer is likely to be so involved or expensive that I won't want to undertake the project, but for the determined baker, how would it be done?

*I eventually found some.

NOTE: The question is about making, not sourcing or substituting, baking soda.

Best Answer

If you really want to do some chemistry, the next questions are:

  1. What can you get?
  2. Do you know how to handle these safely?

If you have a solution of carbonic acid (H2CO3) you can slowly mix in sodium hydroxide (NaOH - in a solution, not a powder!) until the pH is around 10.3, then you'll have a solution of NaHCO3. Or you could do the same thing by bubbling CO2 through a solution of NaOH.

You'll then need to dry or concentrate it without heating, or the NaHCO3 will break down (just like it would when baking).

Or you could start with sodium carbonate and add hydrochloric acid, but that would give you equal parts of baking soda and table salt in water, not sure how easy they would be to separate.

Keep in mind that sodium hydroxide will dissolve any flesh that it touches, and hydrochloric acid will do the same, plus it evaporates.