Every now and then, I'll go crazy on vegan doughnuts and get heartburn. Indigestion sucks, but I've found something that works. Bicarbonate of Soda - also known as Baking Soda. For quite a while I though that all bicarbonate was the same - harmless white alkaline powder. Then I found out that there's a bit more to it, and started using Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda.

What is the difference between Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda and regular Baking Soda?

"Some other companies chemically produce their baking soda by creating a chemical reaction between soda ash and carbon dioxide. Our Baking Soda is from Sodium Bicarbonate which is naturally occurring in northwestern Colorado.  In the mining process, water is used to extract the sodium bicarbonate and no chemicals are used.  A closed loop process leaves the community and its surrounding virtually untouched."

If you're confused, as I was, here's some more information about the process. It's a very informative read:

http://www.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/baking-soda

Aluminium-free bicarbonate

I've been using Bicarbonate of Soda, or as our American friends call it - Baking Soda - for years, and not only to treat heartburn. I use it for all sorts of stuff - toothpaste (mixed with some vegetable glycerine and a drop of peppermint oil), scrubbing the bathtub, and, of course - cooking and baking! I've now stopped using Baking Powder and instead only use Bicarbonate.

Quick comparison: Baking powder consists of baking soda, one or more acid salts (cream of tartar and sodium aluminum sulfate) plus cornstarch. (Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html)

Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda does taste different than regular Soda - and this could be the explanation: "Our Baking Soda is made from the deposits of mineralized sodium bicarbonate. It is extracted by an all-natural water process that uses no chemicals. When used in combination with acidic ingredients, such as buttermilk or, molasses, it releases carbon dioxide that causes the batter or dough to rise. It's also a great household cleanser and odor absorber."

It's flavour is a bit milder, more alkaline and the powder is very, very fine and dissolves easily.

It's a bit more pricey than your regular store-bought but chemically manufactured equivalent.  It's more than worth it though, especially if you use it for health or in cooking. It's priced at £1.44 for 453g ($2.31 for 16 oz).

As I still can't find this in the UK, I get it sent from the USA, from iHerb, as they ship worldwide. Their international shipping costs are very affordable, and in many instances, it's cheaper to order stuff from the USA and have it posted here, than to buy it in the UK.

http://www.iherb.com/Bob-s-Red-Mill-Aluminum-Free-Premium-Baking-Soda-Gluten-Free-16-oz-1-lb-453-g/9852?at=0

TIP: You can get $5 off your first iHerb order using the coupon code BOR192

In February 2010, owner Bob Moore announced plans to give the company to his employees using an employee stock ownership plan. Basically - the boss gave away his company to the workers. How fab is that?

Do you use Bicarbonate to treat heartburn? Or do you have other suggestions for its use? Let me know by leaving a comment below.