Almost every cook has faced this scenario: you’re following a recipe that requires baking powder but you only have baking soda. What do you do? Can you substitute?
Or this one: you haven’t baked for a while, you make a favorite biscuit and use baking powder, only to find that your biscuits bake up flat as hockey pucks. What went wrong?
Being related to chemistry, these terms become even more complicated, so this article will provide an explanation of their difference and you will learn the kitchen basics of these two ingredients.
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 conditions.
Baking soda is a rising agent, commonly used in various baking recipes and Indian breads. As soon as it is mixed with ingredients with an acidic nature, such as lemon, curd, buttermilk, it is activated.
Thus, it starts rising the dough and butter after it is added to it. Moreover, it is used to spread.
Baking soda is used in cookies, pan cakes, naan ( Indian bread), and you can also add baking powder in naan, bhatura (Indian Bread).
Yet, sometimes, your recipes get a bitter taste, and this means that you have added too much baking soda. Therefore, read the recipe carefully and use only the needed quantity. A bit of baking soda can also add a brownish color to your cakes and cookies.
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.
You can often combine these two in order to make your cake rise.