What are the differences between baking soda
and baking powder
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents,
which means they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce
carbon dioxide and cause them to 'rise'. Baking powder contains
baking soda, but the two substances are used under different
Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the
acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent
(usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking
powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are
activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this
product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two
phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting
powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is
added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the
temperature of the dough increases in the oven
Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined
with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate,
buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles
of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked
goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the
ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda
immediately, or else they will fall flat!
How Are Recipes Determined?
Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking
powder. Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in
the recipe. The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a
pleasing texture. Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste
unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as
buttermilk. You'll find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder
contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect
in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call
for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder
is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits.
(This is a general guideline as the other ingredients
used in a recipe also affect the amount of baking powder/baking soda
1 - 1¼ teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda for each cup of flour
Substituting in Recipes
You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you'll
need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can't
use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda
by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise. However, you can
make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of
tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking
Normally, Baking soda is used to make or prepare veggies whereas the
baking powder is used to bake things such as cake.
Baking soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate.
Baking powder contains baking soda, plus one or more acid salts such
as Cream of Tartar (Tartaric Acid), Sodium Aluminium Sulphate,
Calcium Acid Phosphate plus a drying agent such as corn flour and the
exact mix determines whether it is "Single" or "Double" acting. The
difference between baking soda, single and double acting baking
powders, is when the chemical reactions actually take place.
Baking powder is normally made of three different parts:
A filler of some sort
All three need to be dry powders that can be mixed together. For
example, baking soda (a base), cream of tartar (an acid) and corn
starch (the filler) are three common ingredients.
In school, you may have done the experiment where you mix baking
soda (a base) and vinegar (an acid) and get a bubbling reaction.
Baking powder works the same way. When you add water to baking
powder, the dry acid and base go into solution and start reacting to
produce carbon dioxide bubbles.
Single-acting baking powder produces all of its bubbles when it gets
Double-acting baking powder produces bubbles again when it gets hot.
Double-acting baking powders work in two phases; once when cold, and
once when hot.
Common low-temperature acid salts include cream of tartar and
monocalcium phosphate (also called calcium acid phosphate).
High-temperature acid salts include sodium aluminum sulfate, sodium
aluminum phosphate, and sodium acid pyrophosphate.
Moisture and heat can cause baking powder to lose its effectiveness
over time, and commercial varieties have a somewhat arbitrary
expiration date printed on the container. Regardless of the
expiration date, the effectiveness can be tested by placing a
teaspoon of the powder into a small container of hot water. If it
fizzes energetically, it is still active and usable
Many recipes call simply for baking soda rather than baking powder.
Usually these recipes use some kind of liquid acid like buttermilk
or yogurt to react with the baking soda to produce the bubbles.
The reason why people often prefer baking powder to yeast is because
yeast takes so long -- usually two to three hours -- to produce its
Baking powder is instant, so you can mix up a batch of biscuits and
eat them 15 minutes later.
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