View All Molecular Gastronomy Glossary
What is Alkaline?
Simply speaking, this is the opposite of an acid. Defined as any substance that has a pH rate higher than 7, an alkaline is classified as a base. It is any soluble hydroxide originating from alkali and alkaline earth metals. Comprised of molecules which receive hydrogen ions, these have a higher amount of hydroxide (OH-) ions compared to hydrogen (H+) ions. As a result, these raise the water concentration in the OH- ions while lowering H+ ion concentration.
Most alkalis carry the same chemical properties. These are solid under normal temperatures and readily soluble. Characterized by a sharp bitter taste, stronger alkalis may be caustic in nature. These have the natural ability to balance and neutralize acids in food. They are also used in many kitchen processes due to the reactions that it produces.
Sodium Bicarbonate, otherwise known as “baking soda”, is the most common kitchen ingredient known as an alkali and is also an active ingredient in antacid medications. It is weaker than other forms, however when exposed to heat it produces a stronger alkali form such as soda ash or sodium carbonate. When mixed with certain ingredients that are acidic it forms carbon dioxide. The gas is what causes food to rise often making way for light and airy dishes. In other instances it may also provide unique textures and flavor to food.