Baking Powder Versus Baking Soda

Baking Powder Versus Baking Soda

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Are you planning some holiday baking? If so, you can use your knowledge of kitchen chemistry to save a trip to the store if you run out of ingredients. One substitution that can be confusing is whether or not you can use baking powder and baking soda interchangeably. Both baking powder and baking soda are used to help baked goods rise, but they aren't the same chemicals.

The Deal With Baking Soda

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. If you don't have baking soda, you can use baking powder, but you will need to add about twice as much because baking powder contains baking soda, but it also contains other ingredients. This substitution may affect the flavor of the food, not necessarily in a negative way. If the recipe calls for salt (sodium chloride), you may want to use slightly less.

The Deal With Baking Powder

Baking powder is sodium bicarbonate and potassium bitartrate. If you don't have baking powder, you can't substitute baking soda, but you can make baking powder using two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda. For example, two teaspoons of cream of tartar plus one teaspoon of baking soda would give you three teaspoons of baking powder. Unless the recipes states otherwise, begin baking as soon as you have finished mixing the ingredients, since the chemical reaction that causes the rising starts as soon as wet and dry ingredients are mixed.

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