Friday, 21 November 2014

Did You Know....

... That baking powder and baking soda are not the same?

Yes, they are both leavening agents. They are both added to baking goods BEFORE cooking to produce carbon dioxide for the goods to rise. But they play their roles in two different ways.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When using baking soda in baking, it is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (buttermilk or honey) to create a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide for the baking goods to rise. Another reason to combine baking soda with an acidic ingredient is because of its alkalinity, it will produce a metallic taste when the chemical change happens. Baking soda also needs to be used at that very moment. It is not to be added and placed aside for awhile before baking as the good will fall flat!

Baking Powder

Baking powder has 3 ingredients. It has sodium bicarbonate, cream or tartar (an acidifying agent) and a drying agent (starch).

There are two types of baking powder. The single-acting (fast acting) and the double-acting (slow acting) baking powder. The single-acting baking powder is activated by moisture/room temperature. The baking good which requires this single-acting baking powder must be cooked immediately after mixing. The double-acting agent reacts in two phases. When the baking powder is added to the baking good, some gas is released at room temperature but the remaining of the gas is only released when in the hot oven while baking.


You cannot substitute baking powder with baking soda when the recipe requires baking powder. However, you can make your own baking powder by mixing one part of baking soda and two parts of cream of tartar.


  1. I didn't know you couldn't let baking soda sit or it wouldn't work for baking. Of course, I don't bake much anymore and because I'm not used to it if I do eat anything made with baking soda I don't like that metallic taste. People tend to overuse it in baked goods without realizing what it does to the taste. They are probably letting it sit around too long which is why their baked goods aren't rising so they just think they need to add more. Blah.

    Now I just use baking soda for cleaning or washing my hair and only the kind without aluminum.

  2. I'm surprised you didn't mention that baking soda is used, along with glycine, to detoxify salicylates.

    1. Need to read up on that. I don't think I've heard of glycine to detoxify salicylates. Thanks.