# How to bake baking soda to produce sodium carbonate?

I'd like to make sodium carbonate for ramen noodles. The instructions on the web however vary greatly. One source says to bake baking soda at 350 degrees for 2-5 hours. Others say 250 degrees for an hour. Another says just 200 degrees for an hour.

Does the temperature even matter at all?

How about if I use a higher temperature like 450 degrees? This would be preferable for me as I only need a small amount and I can probably bake it at the same time I'm baking bread.

• Just to confirm: degrees Fahrenheit? The question is interesting but I was really confused until I got to the 450 degrees (no domestic oven goes that high in Celsius) Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 8:38
• The quoted 200 is probably C. I used less than 200C for this answer. The 250 is likely to be also C (that's about as high as most domestic ovens go) Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 9:42
• Yes, Fahrenheit. This is the one that says 200 degrees: thoughtco.com/…
– user50726
Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 17:27
• 200F seems low, but I couldn't get that link to work. It tried to load so many tracking and other unwanted scripts from all over the web that I gave up Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 16:22

160 °C (320 °F) for 1-2 h worked for me once, but higher temperatures should not hurt the process.

If you are starting with dry sodium hydrogen carbonate, the mass should reduce to 63 % of the starting mass (more reduction in case of wet starting material).

Explanation for the mass loss number: You are converting two equivalents of sodium hydrogen carbonate with a molar mass of 84.01 g/mol to one equivalent of sodium carbonate with a molar mass of 105.99 g/mol. 105.99/(2*84.01) = 63 %

• Is it close enough to be at 70%?
– user50726
Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 0:58
• Depends on what you want to do with it. An "incomplete" product will be less alkaline, although I would wager it will still be absolutely fine for most culinary purposes. But there's also no harm in just baking it more at a later time. Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 7:07
• By the way, I started with baking soda that had been in the fridge for probably a long time. Is it possible that the decomposition process had already started before I baked it and so the reduction in mass would be less than expected?
– user50726
Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 16:23
• At low temperatures, the decomposition should be so slow as not to be noticeable by weight (except maybe on geological time scales). But possibly it was not pure sodium hydrogen carbonate to begin with (either already sodium carbonate or an inert filler as a contaminant). Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 9:04

The temperature needs to be high enough, that's all. 450°F should work fine. (2-5 hours is a little silly, since the reaction is pretty quick once the baking soda itself is up to temperature.)

If you want to check that everything's gone okay, you can weigh the powder before and after. If it's converted properly, its mass should decrease to 63% (EDIT: fixed miscalculation, Matthias' number is the correct one) of the original. (Possibly a little further if there was some moisture in it.)

• you should also add temperature units, I'd like to be sure you're talking F not C. Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 8:52
• @Luciano fair enough, though I doubt the OP is cooking bread at 450°C. Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 9:00

Scientific American - Vanishing Baking Soda

Just some info to add to the conversation. Was doing research for doing pulled noodles which need an alkaline to help with gluten formation. Came across this article in StackExchange. For me, 270g of Baking Soda was reduced to 184g Sodium Carbonate @ 450 degrees Fahrenheit and was baked for 1.5 hours spread in an aluminum lined 9x9 cake pan. The link to the Scientific American article breaks it down simply; and, added to the great science insight here I think paints a more complete picture.