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Related: What does kansui do to dough in noodle making?

I'm looking to make my own 拉面-style noodles. I've read up a lot about kansui and making your own kansui with a powder mix of sodium and potassium carbonates. I've also seen some recipes that substitute kansui powder with baking soda.

Can I use baking soda to substitute for kansui? If so, in what proportions? If not, what other common ingredients can I use to substitute?

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(Taking random guesses here) You could try McGee's baked baking soda. That'll actually get you sodium carbonate. Or alternatively calcium hydroxide ("lime"), which is sold with home-canning supplies; I've found it at the local Walmart before. Be careful with these, of course. –  derobert Nov 2 '12 at 6:50
    
It looks like it should be OK to substitute. See NY times and Chowhound, no idea on proportings –  Stefan Dec 17 '12 at 7:22
    
@derobert you should make that an answer as an alternative to the traditional kansui –  Brendan Dec 30 '12 at 14:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Harold McGee tackled alkaline noodles a while back. He found that baking baking soda actually changes it from sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate. This is a reasonable substitute for the kansui called for in alkaline noodles and can be substituted 1:1 in recipes. The noodles may not get AS yellow as they would with both alkalines present in kansui but it's a small price to pay for not having to hunt down that ingredient.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/dining/15curious.html?_r=0

The key part:

Just spread a layer of soda on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake it at 250 to 300 degrees for an hour. You’ll lose about a third of the soda’s weight in water and carbon dioxide, but you gain a stronger alkali. Keep baked soda in a tightly sealed jar to prevent it from absorbing moisture from the air. And avoid touching or spilling it. It’s not lye, but it’s strong enough to irritate.

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I'm not sure about the exact proportions, but nearly every recipe I've seen written in English just uses baking soda. This page seems to have a good looking recipe for ramen that uses baking soda, so maybe base your proportions off of it. 拉面 recipe

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I "baked" baking soda for about one hour, low oven. It changes its chemical structure to sodium carbonate which is simply more alkali.

Suggestion, kansui makes fabulous spaghetti and noodles (even some Italians add baking soda to their pasta mixture). I use 1/4 teaspoon per cup of regular all purpose flour, or 1 teaspoon per three cups, and the results are outstanding.

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What do you mean by low oven? How many degree fahrenheit? Can I just put my dry baking soda in a tray over the sun instead in the oven? –  marie tan Sep 15 at 11:47
    
@marietan I suspect that the sun might not be hot enough. The first answer links to a nytimes article with much more detail - the key bit is 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I've edited that into the answer so it's easier to find! :) –  Jefromi Sep 15 at 21:30

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