What’s The Difference: Baking Soda & Baking Powder

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If you have done a lot of baking, you have probably come across these typical baking ingredients: baking soda and baking powder. Both are leavening agents, but can you substitute one for the other? What’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda? explains.

Baking Soda

Baking-SodaBaking soda consists of pure sodium bicarbonate, a chemical with a high pH. If you add an acidic ingredient (for example yoghurt, chocolate, buttermilk etc…) and moisture to baking soda, a chemical reaction will occur. Bubbles of carbon dioxide are produced. These bubbles will expand under oven temperatures, causing your yummy baked goods to rise. Baking soda can taste a bit bitter, unless it is countered by the acidity of another ingredient. This leavening agent is a common ingredient in cookie recipes.

Baking Powder

Baking-PowderBaking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, as well as an acidic ingredient (usually cream of tartar) and a drying agent (usually starch). Single-acting baking powder is activated by moisture, which means you need to get baking as soon as you have mixed the ingredients together. Double-acting baking powder knows two stages. It will react when mixed with other ingredients, but the majority of the gas is released when the dough’s temperature increases in the oven. This means double-acting baking powder can stand a while after being mixed with other ingredients. Baking powder tastes pretty neutral, it is not as bitter as baking soda. You’ll usually find baking powder in cake and biscuit recipes.

Substituting Baking Soda & Baking Powder in Recipes

Can you substitute baking powder in place of baking soda? Yup. You just need to use a bit more baking powder. This may affect the taste. Can you substitute baking soda in place of baking powder? Nope. Remember, baking soda does not contain an acidic ingredient (like baking powder) to make it rise. But if your recipe calls for baking powder and all you have is baking soda, you can make your own baking powder. All you need is some cream of tartar. Two parts of cream of tartar + one part of baking soda = homemade baking powder.

Have you ever confused baking powder with baking soda and vice versa (I have!)? Let us know & leave a comment!


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EmmyWhat’s The Difference: Baking Soda & Baking Powder

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