Although flour and baking soda appear similar, they do not have the same properties.

Can I Use Baking Soda Instead of Flour for Baking Pork Chops?

by Natalie Smith

On a busy weeknight, running out for that one missing ingredient in your recipe may not be an option. When pork chops are on the menu, dredging the meat in flour can give you a crunchy, savory crust, but many ingredients make acceptable substitutes when the flour bag is empty. Although baking soda looks like flour, don't use it as a coating when pan-frying or baking pork chops.

Properties of Baking Soda

Baking soda is a leavening agent. When used in baking. It helps to enlarge the bubbles, making the bread or baked good lighter and fluffier. In addition to this, the baking soda reduces the amount of acid in the dough and prevents the baked good from becoming too tough and chewy. Although baking soda looks similar to white flour, it has a soapy, bitter taste when too much of it is used. If you attempt to dredge a pork chop in it, it creates a gooey paste that falls apart in the frying or baking pan rather than crisping up and brown as flour would.

Baking Soda as a Tenderizer

Although baking soda should not be used as a substitute for flour when preparing pork chops, it can help make your pork chops less tough and chewy when used before cooking. Baking soda is used to tenderize pork because it helps to break down the collagen fibers that can make the pork tough. Wipe the pork chops with baking soda and then return them pork chops to the refrigerator. After three to five hours, rinse the pork chops thoroughly and proceed with your recipe.

Substitutes for Flour for Pan Frying

While baking soda is ruled out, there are many other flour substitutes in your kitchen that may be used to create a crust for the pork chops. Breadcrumbs are a common choice for coating pork chops because they remain relatively dry, making them useful for both frying and baking. Grated Parmesan cheese is another option, and it can be used alone or combined with breadcrumbs or another dry ingredient to make a crust. Dry stuffing mix can be crushed and used to make a flavorful, savory coating. Even crushed potato chips or crackers can create a crispy coating.

Other Preparation Methods for Pork Chops

If you do not have an acceptable substitute for flour, consider an alternate cooking method for your pork chops. If you still want that pan-seared flavor, coat your pork chops with your favorite seasonings, such as garlic powder or an Italian-seasoning blend, and saute them. Alternatively, marinate your pork chops and grill or broil them for a quick dinner. A number of marinade ingredients go well with pork including orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

Photo Credits

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