View All Molecular Gastronomy Glossary
What is Base?
The term "base" may also be used interchangeably with alkali.
Base can refer to two things when it comes to cooking. It may refer to a substance that can give out electron pairs. Most common bases have a PH level which is more than 7.0 at normal circumstances. These may also be thought of as the opposite of acids since these work to reduce the amount of the hydronium ion, while acids increase this. In cooking, bases are often water soluble compounds with an acrid taste. These are also capable of reacting with acids and forming salts.
A common example of this is baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. Considered a weak base, it is used both in cooking and baking due to the reaction it has with other ingredients.
Another definition of base may refer to a stock substitute. This is a strong flavoring compound that can be used for a number of things such as the production of gravies, soups and sauces. These are often made from natural juices of meats, seafood, vegetables and herbs. A food base may be used to increase and deepen the flavor of a dish being cooked.