The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking SODA in Gluten-free, yeast bread

Sneakyblonde's picture

Baking SODA in Gluten-free, yeast bread

Hi everyone, I am Cindy and I am new here.

What brought me here, is a very old Post I saw online, It was about adding BAKING SODA to a yeast bread recipe.

I have a gluten-free, Buttermilk bread recipe that calls for baking soda.  I have tried it with and without the soda.

The only difference I can see - is WITH  the addition of the soda, the baked bread turns the color of light Rye bread. Without the addition of soda, it looks like a white bread (using 2 eggs) most of us are familiar with.

Does anyone know what the pupose of baking soda in yeast bread might be? Why the color change occurs, only in the BAKED bread, (the unbaked dough is white)?  Could that be the purpose, to add color to the bread?

I would appreciate any opinions or suggestions to this baking soda question.  I am  curious and looking forward to your replies! ( I didn't find answers online).

Thank you, all,



idaveindy's picture

The baking soda would add gas/leavening action to the dough.  It reacts with the acidic buttermilk.  

Or, perhaps the recipe author intended it just to counteract the acid flavor of the buttermilk.

How do you mix it in?  With the dry flours or with the wet ingredients?

I'm unfamiliar with baking soda causing a color change, but I don't use it often, just sometimes for sourdough tortillas.

clazar123's picture

Baking soda is used both for leavening and for browning in baked goods.

Does the crust turn the color of light rye or does the crumb?

Sneakyblonde's picture

Hi, thanks for the comments.

First, this is a gluten-free recipe and doesn't act like gluten breads.

This recipe is from, "The Gluten-free Gourmet Bakes Bread, by Bette Hagman (page 76).

Soda is with the dry ingredients.

Yes. The whole loaf of bread changes color.  As an experiment, I added the dry soda separately at the end.  That produced streaks of darker color in the loaf with the noticable metallic taste of baking soda. I know soda is used for Levin in many recipes, but not usually in yeast bread, not even gluten-free and I have never seen it change the loaf color.

If you aren't familiar with gluten-free baking, it is tricky.  I had to forget everything I knew about baking I had done for years and relearn gluten-free recipes.

Not enough flour, loaves collapse, to much flour you get bricks or styrofoam. Xanthan gum is added for chewiness. A blend of flour is used, usually rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch. 

In a bread machine, the dough is more like thick frosting.  Nothing you can kneed or shape.  I bought special french loaf pans to shape some recipes.

I just lost part of this email trying to add a picture Sorry,  I am 67 and not good at this.

The recipe is from: The gluten-free gourmet bakes bread, by Bette Hagman page 76

Her recipes are the best I have found.

I will just use another recipe I like.

I was just curious about the color change and why yeast, Buttermilk and soda were causing a color change.

Thank you all for your help,


clazar123's picture

I have done some GF baking and in my experimentation did a recipe with and without BS. What a color difference! The GF roll with BS turned the whole roll a lovely brown! The other was pale and anemic looking by comparison. I was looking for a brown appearance so it worked well for me.

This link shows how baking soda affects browning(any baked good-wheat or GF):


This GF site talks about baking soda and baking powder in GF baking:

It's always interesting to discover how the ingredients actually work in baking that we have been doing for years, isn't it?