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an aluminum foil-covered sheet pan with baking soda spread out evenly over the entire top

Easy Baked Baking Soda (for Ramen, Alkaline Noodles & Pretzels)

You might be wondering what is baked baking soda and what’s it used for?  For starters, when you heat baking soda in the oven for a long period of time, it chemically alters it from being bicarbonate of soda into sodium carbonate which is an even stronger alkaline salt. This alkaline salt is then used to make the best slippery, extra springy, homemade ramen (noodles) and Chinese wheat noodles for dishes like dan dan mian (and it even works as a great substitute for lye water when making homemade pretzels).

 

What Can You Make With Baked Baking Soda?

  • homemade ramen (noodles)
  • homemade pretzels (without using lye as an ingredient)
  • Norwegian Lutefisk (a salted cod dish eaten at Christmastime) 
  • Chinese Century eggs
  • Chinese wheat noodles for dishes like dan dan mian, Chengdu Zajiang noodles 杂酱面 (Zajiang Mian), Yibin ran mian 燃面 (Burning Noodles), & Sichuan sesame noodles (Guai Wei Mian, 怪味面)

Is It Easy To Make Alkaline Noodles At Home?

It’s actually very easy to make springy, chewy, flavorful alkaline noodles at home by making your own substitute for kansui or jian shui, or bying some online. 

  • Bake regular baking soda in the oven for one hour in a preheated oven at 250°F/121°C which turns it into a stronger alkaline.
  • You may also use commercially produced food-grade Chinese (jian shui or jian water or powder) or Japanese lye water or powder (kansui) which is a combination of potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate in liquid or dry forms.

What Are Alkaline Noodles And Where Do They Originate From?

Alkaline noodles are noodles made using water with a higher pH than that of normal drinking water. Regular drinking water has a pH around 7 and alkaline water has a pH between 9 and 11. Alkaline noodles originated in China using alkaline water naturally found in wells to make wheat noodles. Alkaline noodles are characteristically slippery and springy, with a texture that holds up very well in hot broth without falling apart.

They often (but not always) have a natural yellow hue from the salt minerals (higher pH) or the addition of eggs. But no matter what color they are, they always have a distinct (delicious flavor). You can easily make them at home using either baked baking soda (sodium carbonate) or kansui or jian shui which are basically Japanese and Chinese commercial food-grade lye water.  If you love dan dan mian, ramen (noodles), or lots of other Asian noodle dishes, chances are you’ve probably eaten and enjoyed these alkaline noodles before.

Baked Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) Ingredients 

To make a substitute for kansui or jian shui (and the best homemade ramen or dan dan noodles), all you need to do is turn your household baking soda into sodium carbonate by baking it in the oven for a while. The photo above is my Italian brand of baking soda, but Arm and Hammer or store-brand baking soda is exactly the same. 

  • baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

How to Make Baked Baking Soda (Sodium Carbonate) — A Substitute for Kansui, Jian Shui & Lye Water

  1. Bake the baking soda. Add the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a baking pan covered with aluminum foil and spread it out into an even layer, Bake it at 250°F/121°C for one hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a glass jar and seal it until ready to use. *Alternatively, you may use a glass baking dish to bake the baking soda, but add an extra 20 or 30 minutes to the baking time because glass takes longer to transfer heat evenly than aluminum. 

Other Ramen Month Recipes to Make the Perfect Piping Hot Bowl

If you’re just getting into making homemade ramen (and all the delicious components that go with it), you can start from the beginning with our favorite ramen recipes. Lots of these components can and should be made ahead and frozen which makes it easy to have real ramen any night of the week with minimal prep work. Here are the delicious Ramen Month recipes starting with Recipe #2 since Recipe #1 is this Baked Baking Soda.

 

Let’s get started!

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a large plastic container of Italian baking soda next to a homemade baked baking soda (sodium carbonate) on a cutting board

How to Make Baked Baking Soda (For Ramen & More)


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

You might be wondering what is baked baking soda and what’s it used for?  For starters, when you heat baking soda in the oven for a long period of time, it chemically alters it from being bicarbonate of soda into sodium carbonate which is an even stronger alkaline salt. This alkaline salt is then used to make slippery, extra springy, homemade ramen (noodles) and Chinese wheat noodles for dishes like dan dan mian, and even works as a great substitute for lye water when making homemade pretzels.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) (100g)


Instructions

  1. Bake the baking soda.  Preheat the oven to 250°F/121°C. Add the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a baking pan covered with aluminum foil and spread it out into an even layer, Bake it for one hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a glass jar and seal it until ready to use. *Alternatively, you may use a glass baking dish to bake the baking soda, but add an extra 20 or 30 minutes to the baking time because glass takes longer to heat and to transfer heat evenly than aluminum. 

Notes

  • If you’re making baked baking soda primarily for making homemade noodles, use the amount called for in the recipe above. This is plenty for several rounds of ramen or dan dan noodles since you only use about 1 tablespoon for each batch.
  • If you’re making baked baking soda primarily for substituting lye when making pretzels, I suggest tripling the recipe because you’ll need about 2/3 cup of baked lye for the alkaline water solution you’ll cook the proofed pretzels in before baking them.
  • If making larger batches of baked baking soda (sodium carbonate), you may choose to bake it on two separate baking trays or bake it on one tray for 2 hours total. If baking on one single tray, be sure to toss the baking soda about halfway through the baking time using a wooden or metal spatula to move it around a little. Then, spread it back out as evenly as possible and allow it to continue baking.
  • A note on safety. Be careful with baked baking soda when transferring it to a glass jar for storage. It is a strong alkaline at this stage and can cause irritation to your skin.
  • Store the baked baking soda in a glass jar, label it, and keep it in a dry, cool place away from humidity and sun (the back of a cabinet basically).
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Asian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon

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