Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda: What’s the Difference?

    Baking powder and baking soda are both leavening agents that cause baked goods to rise.  They look similar in looks but they are different and are used differently.  The main difference between baking powder and baking soda is that baking powder already has an acid in the chemical mixture and baking soda does not so it requires an acidic ingredient to help baked goods rise.  Many people do not know for sure how and when to use each one so today, I’m going to try to explain it all for you.



            Baking soda is used in recipes that have acidic ingredients in them such as buttermilk, vinegar, lemon or citrus juice, yogurt or even brown sugar.  These acidic ingredients actually activate the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide which allows the baked goods to rise and become fluffy and light.  Be sure not to use too much baking soda.  Adding more baking soda will not make the baked good rise more.  If you use too much, the leftover baking soda that did not react will make your baked goods have a metallic or bitter taste and nobody wants that.

            Baking soda has an infinite shelf life so no matter how old it is, it is still safe to eat but it can lose its efficacy over time.  An unopened box of baking soda stays potent for about 2 years and if you have an opened can, replace it about every 6 months. If you are not sure if your baking soda is still effective, just stir ¼ teaspoon of baking soda into 3 tablespoons of either lemon juice or vinegar.  If it bubbles up then you know the baking soda is still good.

Baking soda is often used in things like cakes, muffins, and cookies.  

For instance, I use baking soda in my Butter Dip BiscuitsCast Iron Skillet Cornbread, in Snickerdoodle Muffins, and in my Cast Iron Skillet Banana Bread.





            Baking powder is made up of baking soda and a dry acid such as cream of tartar and is considered a complete leavening agent because it just needs to be combined with a liquid to activate it. Baking powder is often used in things like biscuits, cornbread, or pancakes. A good rule of thumb to use if you are creating your own recipe is to use one teaspoon of baking powder per one cup of flour.

            Baking powder is also always safe to eat but also loses its potency over time.  An unopened can should last about 1 ½-2 years and you should replace your open baking powder every 3-6 months.  To test your baking powder to see if it is still potent, stir ½ teaspoon of baking powder in a bowl with about 1 tablespoon of hot water.  If it bubbles up, then it is still good.

If you would like to learn how to mix up your own homemade baking powder, you can learn how by clicking on this link: Homemade Baking Powder.

     I use baking powder in my recipes such as: my Blueberry Biscuits, Homemade Blueberry Pancakes, and in my Chocolate Chip Biscuits.



            You can swap baking powder for baking soda in recipes but keep in mind that baking soda is a lot stronger than baking powder so you need about 3 times more baking powder as you would baking soda to get the same rise.

     I actually use baking powder and baking soda both in some of my recipes such as in my Angel Biscuits, in my Old-Fashioned Butter Cake, in my Homemade Cheddar Biscuits, and in my Root Beer Chocolate Cake!


    I hope you have found this article informative.  

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