What Even is Baking Powder and How is It Different From Baking Soda??

What Even is Baking Powder and How is It Different From Baking Soda??

Are you one of those sciency nerds like me who wondered what even baking powder is and what makes it different from baking soda? Well, I have good news!!  you’ve come to the right place.

Baking powder and baking soda are commonly used leavening agents in baking and cooking. These guys give a rise to whatever you’re baking or frying. They may look similar but have different uses and interchanging them might be a bad idea.        

This article will help you to understand the differences and might even answer some of your burning questions.

To make it extremely simple, the differentiating factor between the two is baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate and baking powder is baking soda plus an acid either citric or tartaric acid (mostly cream of tartare is used) and corn-starch. Baking powder needs an acid for it to work. It reacts with the acid and neutralises producing carbon dioxide which helps to leaven. On the other hand, baking powder requires moisture and heat for it to work.

          There are two types of baking powders – single acting and double acting. Single-acting baking powder requires moisture which dissolves the dry acid and base (Sodium bicarbonate) which helps it to react and produce carbon dioxide. In contrast, double-acting baking powder gives a rise once you mix it and when you bake or expose it to heat.  

When to use baking Soda?

People use baking soda when there’s some kind of acidic agent present in the ingredients e.g., Buttermilk, lemon juice or cocoa powder. The acidic agent being present is non-negotiable.

Baking soda also helps with browning as it is alkaline. It promotes (FANCY WORD ALERT) Maillard reaction. To put it in simple terms Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between the amino acids(proteins) and sugars present on the surface of the food which browns when exposed to heat.

When to use baking powder?

If the recipe does not call for an acidic agent, we use baking powder as it already contains an acid.

Some people use both baking powder and soda to give an extra rise to the product.

Can you substitute baking soda with baking powder??

Exchanging these ingredients is not recommended as it might alter the result as baking soda is much stronger than baking powder, but if you’re in a pinch and don’t have baking soda lying around you can substitute it with baking powder.

How long does it stay fresh??

If the packet is unopened, you can store it for up to 1.5 years and if it’s opened you can store it for up to six months.

Hope this article answered some of your burning questions and even made you smarter than yesterday.

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