It has happened quite often for people to mistake the baking powder for the baking soda, and vice versa. This is all because of their similar names and similar appearances.

Even though they are often combined in recipes, just because of their properties, they still have their own, different uses. They also have a different chemical structure.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Let’s take a deeper look at a detailed explanation of the baking soda and the baking powder in order to fully understand the main differences between them:

  • Baking soda – it is also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, and is a well known base mineral, which, when mixed with something with acidic properties, it produces carbon dioxide. So, when the baking soda is put into a recipe, it is all because it requires some kind of an acid. When it is added to a recipe, it is also required from you to add something acidic, like lemon juice, cream of tartar, yogurt, buttermilk or brown sugar in order for it to react.

Furthermore, the baking soda is more powerful than the baking powder. Also, note that too much baking soda does not mean more puffiness, and if it fails to react with the acidic compounds, you will have leftover baking soda.

When it fails to be neutralized with the acid, because of the presence of baking soda, the recipe will start having a metallic taste.

A rule you have to know – a ¼ of teaspoon of baking soda should be used per one cup of flour in a recipe.

  • Baking powder – the baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and some other acids, for an example cornstarch or a cream of tartar. In recipes, the first leavening will happen after the baking powder starts being wet and the second when the baking powder is heated. This means it already has acids.

A rule you have to know – a teaspoon of baking powder should be used per one cup of flour in a recipe.

When are both of these compound required? With some recipes, there are some kinds of acids and carbon dioxide which are created from the acid and the baking soda is simply not enough for the dough to puff.

This is why, in order to create balance, baking powder is required.

Are there any expiry dates? Make sure these compounds are always fresh and replace them every three months. Or, simply test their effectiveness before using them.

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For the baking powder, put three tablespoons of  warm water and half a teaspoon of baking powder in a small bowl, mix the content, and if there is a reaction, then the baking powder is fresh. For the baking soda, three tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and half a teaspoon of the baking soda mixed in a small bowl, stir the contents and if bubbles appear, it means the baking soda is fresh.