Know the Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder
The really are two totally different things.
Baking can be a little confusing sometimes. With all the flours, fats, sugars,¬†chemicals, and precision¬†involved in the baking process, the whole thing can go over most novices' heads.
One of the things that we've found a lot of budding bakers get perplexed by is baking powder¬†and baking soda. Both are featured in many cake, biscuit and even bread recipes, but not a lot of people totally understand how they work.¬†
Baking powder and baking soda¬†are essentially leaveners, that crucial baking ingredient that gives cake lift and airiness. Older recipes for cake, mostly rooted in 17th-century Europe, actually use yeast as a leavener, while a few, newer methods used aerated eggs¬†to give their cakes a bit of fluff.
With the introduction of bicarbonate of soda¬†or¬†baking soda¬†in the 19th century, baking light and airy cakes, biscuits and bread suddenly became much easier for home bakers everywhere.
The main difference between baking powder and baking soda¬†is that baking soda actually requires acid for it to be activated, while baking powder does not. The reason for this is that baking powder is actually a mix of sodium bicarbonate or, simply baking soda mixed with a simple acid such as cream of tartar.
Most modern baking recipes only really use baking powder (most often classified as¬†double acting, because the powder immediately activates when it is added to a wet mix and activates a second time when introduced to heat), though baking soda is still used to give classic recipes that include acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, sour cream and cocoa powder, a little bit of natural lift.
You cannot easily exchange baking powder for baking soda and vice versa. However, you can use a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar (most often a 3:1 ratio) to make your own baking powder in a pinch.
Image courtesy of¬†Pixabay.