Does sodium bicarbonate neutralize the acidic taste in food?
I'm trying to make some nice frozen yogurt, but unfortunately it comes out very acidic tasting (like the yogurt itself). Adding sugar does not remove it. Would sodium bicarbonate help in this situation? Also, does anybody know a way to get smoother frozen yogurt without adding fats? Draining the yogurt causing it to freeze even faster than normal for some reason, and I don't want to add loads of sugar to lower the freezing point.
Yes, it does neutralize acid. I tried it once in tomato sauce, rather than using sugar. It made the sauce taste very flat, so I wouldn't do that again. I suggest you experiment with gelatin - plain or flavored - to address the texture issue. I can't tell you how much, but I know it is recommended in making popsicles, to improve texture while keeping them from freezing rock-hard.
Homemade or store-bought yogurt? If it's homemade, you can add a pinch or two of sugar during the incubation phase, which makes the yogurt MUCH less tangy, and a bit of powdered milk which will ensure a good texture. Those would be my recommendations.
Oh, and greygarious's rec for gelatin is a good one as well. :)
If I remember correctly, commercial frozen yoghurt is often loaded with sweeteners and flavours to counteract the tangy taste - made simply it does taste quite tart.
I might experiment with mixing the yoghurt with some plain milk to mute the yoghurt flavour, and add some gelatin to make the texture more creamy.
HOw are you making it? Because another way to keep it creamy would be to mix it well as it freezes, to get more air into it.
says sugar (or other sweetener) makes up about 15% of commercial frozen yogurt. This is, essentially ice cream with yogurt replacing milk and cream. Gelatin or other stabilizers are used to improve texture. I believe honey might be used in place of the sugar.
Baking soda would neutralize the yogurt acid, but do little for the flavor or texture.
I believe baking soda does neutralize sourness in cooking. However, it adds sort of an off-flavor and i don't know exactly how else it will behave in a frozen yogurt recipe. I also don't have any real solid idea of how much you'll need to apply or if you can apply enough to noticeably reduce acidity without throwing the flavor off. If you try this, please report back how it goes for you.
As for softening the frozen yogurt - again I'm no master of frozen desserts, but I think you can add glucose powder to soften but not increase sweetness as much as regular sugar. Then there are the hydrocolloids - xanthum gum, carrageenan, guar gum, gelatin as recommended upthread, etc - used alone or often in combination which can seem to help. A very small amount of alcohol might help - like 1% by weight. Then there is the mostly useless suggestion - a colder, more powerful ice cream maker (inhibits ice crystal formation).
Baking soda absolutely neutralizes acid, I have had a few personal occasions to use it specifically for that purpose, especially after consuming too many margaritas. A little bit in water goes far.
I have used baking soda when making tomato soup from high acid canned tomatoes; the effect of the baking soda results in a flavor profile very similar to Campbell's condensed tomato soup, oddly flat tasting and in need of aggressive seasoning. I don't think I would use it in yogurt, though.
When making frozen yogurt, you want some tartness balanced with sweet. For a less added sugar option, I strongly suggest, as other posters have, using gelatin or another stabilizer, such as the vegetable gums cowboyardee suggested, if upping the sugar content is not to your liking. Added emulsifiers and stabilizers create a softer product, improves texture, body and prevents crystallization. Otherwise, here's a link using strained yogurt, with a basic stabilizer-free formula from David Lebovitz' The Perfect Scoop. Removing the whey from the yogurt first by straining will give you a better texture also, less water to develop into ice crystals:
An earlier chow discussion:
paulj's link is also very informative re: commercially prepared frozen yogurt.
As far as creating a yogurt with less tartness to start with, have you read through this link? Lengthy but very informative:
You may have to do a few trial and error runs to get your results in line with what you want, but hey, that's the fun part. Good luck with this project. Let us know how it works out.