Why is a small amount of bicarbonate of soda added to pikelet batters just before baking

Pikelet batter fermented by yeast has typically remained for 1.5 to 2 h before it is ready to be baked on the hotplate. Before baking begins, a little bicarbonate of soda is moistened in a drop of water and stirred into the batter. If the whole batch of pikelet batter could be baked at once there would be no need to add the bicarbonate of soda but often we need to bake the batter in a number of smaller batches, which extends the time the batter must remain aerated.

While standing, the batter continues to ferment and progresses towards sourness with increasing acidity being developed. Eventually the batter would be unusable. The bicarbonate of soda prevents this acidity by reacting with the acids formed during fermentation and helps the batter remain neutral.

Only a very small quantity of bicarbonate of soda is needed. If used at too high a level you may get an excessively yellow colour in the baked pikelets.

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