Baking powder and baking soda are two leavening agents, i.e. they are incorporated in baked goods prior to cooking with the goal to produce carbon dioxide and cause the dough to rise.
Baking powder has baking soda, but they are used differently and are not one and the same. To help you learn the distinction between these two products, we will present the most important information about each of them and pinpoint the main differences and most importantly, explain when you can use one and when it is best to use the other.
Baking Soda Explained
Baking soda, also known as pure sodium bicarbonate, when mixed with an acidic ingredient like yogurt or buttermilk and moisture, produces carbon dioxide bubbles that expand in the oven and enlarge the dough. The reaction starts right after the mixing, so, the good needs to be baked right away or it will fall flat.
What about Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a leavening agent with sodium bicarbonate, as well as an acidifying agent known as cream of tartar and a drying agent, i.e. starch. It can be single-acting or double-acting. The former is moisture-activated, which means that you need to bake recipes that include the product right after the mixing. The latter reacts in 2 phases and the mixture can stand a bit before they are placed in the oven. With the latter type of powder, gas is released at room temperature when the powder and dough are mixed, but most of it is released after the dough’s temperature elevates in the oven.
When to Use Baking Soda & When to Use Baking Powder?
The ingredient you need to use depends on the other ingredients involved in the recipe. Be that as it may, the ultimate goal is to make a delicious product with a proper texture. This being said, you should know that baking soda is basic and it will produce a bitter taste unless you counter it with acidity of another ingredient like buttermilk. It is important to note that baking soda is mostly used in recipes for cookies.
On the other hand, baking powder has base and acid so its effect on the taste is neutral. It is usually combined with other neutral ingredients like milk. Baking powder is more frequently incorporated in recipes for biscuits and cakes.
Swapping One for the Other?
According to Thought Co, you can replace baking powder with baking soda (you will need a bit more baking powder); however, you cannot go with baking soda when a recipe requires baking powder. This is because baking soda does not have sufficient acidity required for a cake to rise.
Before heading out, do not forget to check out the video below and learn some interesting uses of baking soda: