Magic of baking powder , baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate in fried chicken!

Has anyone used baking powder , baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate in fried chicken before ?

I was given a recipe to add 1/4 tsp of baking powder + 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the flour and a wet marinade (i.e. chinese velveting). Let it marinade for 1 night before frying. However, I just read somewhere that the leavening effect of baking powder & baking soda does not last long and thus have to be fried immediately. Is this true ?

Qns: Does single-acting baking powder, baking soda & ammonium bicarbonate no longer has its leavening effect once it comes into contact with liquid and left to marinade over night ?

  • Posted by: Yal
  • August 22, 2016


DAVID September 2, 2017
My 2 cents...
Baking power gives off CO2 bubbles when combined with liquid.
Baking Soda gives off CO2 bubbles when mixed with with an acidic liquid OR heat during cooking.
So, I suspect baking power or baking soda in an acidic mix (ie buttermilk) would have lost the physical aeration during overnight. However a dry mix of baking soda, or baking soda a non acidic batter should crisp up "rise" during cooking. Anyone please correct me I am wrong in any way.
Yal September 30, 2016
@Susan W and @Nancy.
I did not realize that baking powder and baking soda were meant for also tenderizing meat. Thanks for this insight ! I have been assuming all along it will just help create an airier crust like how adding carbonated drink/ beer into a batter works. I read this from serious eats: ,

I also understand that the leavening agents will react immediately upon contact with a liquid. Thus, if I do use the velveting technique (which requires the marinade and batter to be left overnight), is it safe to assume that the leavening agents do not serve its purpose of making the crust airier since the bubbles will dissipate after awhile.

Q: Will it be better for me to add the leavening agents only just before frying ?
Nancy September 30, 2016
Yal, just read the Kenji Lopez-Alt article you linked & the recipe. While you are right that leavening agents react with liquids in baking, they seem to react differently in a dry medium (as here with the flour-cornstarch blend).
I'm almost as new to this technique as you are. When in doubt or trying something new, I make the recipe as written (even if only a small test batch), see if I like it enough to repeat. Then, only then, do I start fiddling with it.
Susan W - your thoughts?
Susan W. September 30, 2016
I actually have only used baking soda or powder in the elevating process for a stir fry so I am not much help. I never make fried chicken at home. It's one of those things that I go to my favorite fried chicken joint for the couple of times a year that I have it. Thomas Keller's at Ad Hoc is my favorite. I wonder if he's published that recipe?

Like Nancy said, I too would choose a recipe by Kenji and make it as written and then modify it if I choose to the next time. The one he made for his wife after she ran a marathon looks like a good one for you.
Susan W. August 22, 2016
Lately, I've been seeing velveting recipes that call for either baking soda or baking powder. However, it's purpose is for tenderizing, not for leavening. I have a feeling that is also the purpose in your recipe, but I could be wrong.

I have not tried these ingredients in velveting, so I'm not much help. I've only used Serious Eats velveting technique which uses cornstarch.
Nancy August 23, 2016
Susan W & Yal - I've seen a few ATK videos where baking soda is used to tenderize meat. Here's a short discussion of that from their Cook's Illustrated (related) web site:
Susan W. August 23, 2016
Yep. That's what I was referring to. I know someone who always uses it to velvet meats for stir fry. Not sure what stops me, but I've only used cornstarch per Serious Eats. Maybe I'll go hog wild and try it.
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