The science behind delectable and finished baked products is very fascinating. The secret ingredients that spread their magic inside in the aromatically flavorsome bread, cookies, biscuits, etc. make them soft, spongy, gooey, and delight the taste buds will be interesting to know.
Beaten eggs are a mechanical leavening agent and yeast is a biological leavening agent. Muffins, cakes, quick bread, biscuits, and scones, are baked goods and might not always require the use of eggs or yeast.
Some recipe calls for baking soda or baking powder or both. They give good rise to the baked goods increasing them exponentially and giving them a fluffy texture and a crumbly surface. Both baking soda and baking powder are the two most common chemical leavening agents that are widely used. Check out 15 easy baking recipes that are for beginners and require these leavening agents.
Let’s get to know the 5 differences between baking soda and baking powder.
1. Baking soda vs Baking Powder – Concept and Constituents
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening or rising agents that make baked goods rise.
The baked good that is being prepared should always be mixed with the leavening agents, baking powder, and baking soda in a dry state initially, for uniform spreading out otherwise the recipe might not turn good and suffer from too little or too much usage of leavening agents.
1.1) Baking Soda
Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda, or sodium hydrogen carbonate. An alkaline-only powder and a base, baking powder reacts with acidic ingredients like buttermilk, citrus juice, sour cream, yogurt, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, and molasses to get itself activated to create carbon dioxide in baked goods thereby allowing them to rise. This is how chemical reaction in baked goods takes place.
The leavening occurs just the minute the baking soda gets mixed with the wet ingredients of the baking recipes.
It gives a unique texture and makes the baked goods grainy. Cakes, quick breads, and fried foods are a few edibles that by and large need baking soda to give exceptionally desired taste and consistency.
1.2) Baking Powder
Conventional baking powders consist of a base element, a dry acid, specifically a powdered alkali, sodium bicarbonate, and a powdered acid, cream of tartar. Most baking powders available in the market are single-acting baking powder or double-acting baking powder. They give fluffy and light texture to the baked goods and fried stuff.
Single-acting baking powder is quick in its reaction and does not need heat as second assistance to rise. It is composed of sodium bicarbonate and acid.
Double-acting baking powder depends on moisture as well as heat to respond. The leavening occurs when baking powder is mixed with wet ingredients, generating carbon dioxide gas to form in the batter or dough making it rise and, then further expand with heated temperatures thereby lightening and increasing the volume of prepared goods.
Most baking powder that is available in the market is double-acting and it is mentioned on the label. Find more information on the rise and history of baking powder.
2. Baking Soda Vs baking Powder – Distinct features
The difference between baking soda and baking powder is that because of the double-acting attribution of baking powder, specific doughs can be kneaded with it as a leavening agent thoroughly and let to rest, as later it will rise exponentially when heated without losing their leavening power which is not possible with baking soda. An easy process is required when using baking powder in recipes with no need for rush.
Mix baking soda and a speedy baking process of baking are required after or else the item might end up dense or flat keeping the carbon dioxide bubbles that are released, intact, or going in the air. While using baking soda if the dough is kneaded too much, the carbon dioxide bubbles will get away in the air and make the dough compact and flat.
2.1) Baking Powder
If a recipe calls for an extensive reaction so that the rising does not take place all at one time but in stages of mixing, fermenting, and heating, baking powder is used.
The remarkable composition of baking powder creates carbon dioxide gas into the batter or dough. This causes bubbles, making the wet mixture expand and rise at different stages of the baking process. With a long shelf life, baking powder is not an expensive product.
The pH balance of baking powder is relatively balanced and therefore it does not require acidic ingredients for reaction to take place. Ideally, a good rule of thumb ratio of flour to baking powder is 1 cup of flour to one teaspoon of baking powder. However, going by the recipe is the best technique to use rising agents.
Various brands are available in the market for baking powder and the composition is similar other than the acid part.
Cream of tartar is however the most commonly used ingredient and it can be used to make homemade baking powder. All that is needed is one part baking soda to one part cornstarch, and two parts cream of tartar to be mixed thoroughly. In a few seconds, the baking powder will be ready at home. This mixture can be stored in an airtight container.
In simpler recipes, where the baking powder is required along with milk, eggs, and flour, the baking powder reacts with these liquids and holds the fort up to make its way to perfection with its double-acting reaction.
If added in large quantities, baking powder produces a bitter aftertaste.
Waffles, pancakes, fried foodstuffs, cakes, cookies, and breadstuffs can be made using baking powder within defined limits.
2.2) Baking Soda
Mixing baking soda with wet ingredients gives a jumpstart to a chemical reaction instantly. Stronger than baking powder, baking soda has a set amount of usage in recipes, and adding more of its quantity will not benefit the recipe.
If there is an absence of an acidic ingredient in the recipe and there is the usage of baking soda, the baked good will not rise and give a metallic aftertaste.
Baking soda is composed of a high pH and the balance is created promptly when it comes in contact with an acidic ingredient. It is used in recipes that call for a tangy flavor.
Baking soda gives a crispy texture to baked goods and helps them to turn brown while adding nutty flavor. In high alkaline environments, the baked goods give a better brown color. Bread, cakes, muffins, and cookies come out best when baking soda is used.
Baking soda is also added to recipes that have baking powder as the main fermenting agent to create a more inclusive alkaline environment.
Baking soda has additional uses in the culinary cookhouse. Baking soda is often used to soak up any kind of avoidable odors in the refrigerator by just opening a box of baking soda and placing it in the refrigerator.
Baking soda makes a beneficial and smooth buffing paste when it is mixed with boiling water. The concoction can be used to unblock clogged drains by pouring a little mixture into the drain and then rinsing it downward with a similar quantity of white vinegar. The mixture will bubble up and clean trapped gunk. Rinse comprehensively with hot water.
Sodium bicarbonate is also used as a component in mouthwashes to prevent tooth decay. Adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of warm water and followed by the swishing process will make homemade baking soda mouthwash. It neutralizes the formation of acid in the mouth and acts as an antiseptic to help to stop infections.
3. Baking Soda vs Baking Powder – Substitution
Too much baking soda or baking powder will make the confections and doughs rise extremely speedily and collapse even more rapidly, bubbles will appear bigger in size and eventually burst.
Too little baking soda and the baking powder may let the product (batter or dough) rough in texture and the baked good may lack volume while also being heavy.
Many recipes require the usage of baking soda and baking powder to get an intended overall balance in the flavor and a distinct texture. The soda and powder both will leave just adequate acid in the batter and air during the fermenting process to give the final product a tangy taste while giving a good rise too. Too much baking soda will completely neutralize this flavor.
3.1) Baking Soda
Substituting baking soda is artful and requires expertise and careful measurements. Three times as much baking powder will be required to get the same rising effect as the amount of baking soda in a recipe as it is is 3 times stronger than baking powder.
The end product might become bitter with a soapy taste if the leavening becomes imbalanced, too much, or too little.
There are times in the home economics when ingredients fall short or are out of stock at home. So if there is a recipe that is getting ready on the shelf and requires baking soda, that is unavailable, three times baking powder might come as a rescue and no additional ingredients will be required as the raising agent. However, it is always good to go with the recipe.
3.2) Baking Powder
Baking powder substitute is difficult. It requires cream of tartar and cornstarch with accurate measurements to find the right balance between baking soda and an acid. Inadequate measurements will lead to dark-looking, hard-baked, and metallic-tasting end products.
In case a recipe requires the usage of baking powder and the shelf has baking soda, much less baking soda for baking powder will be required because of its leavening power. Also, the recipe might require one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every one teaspoon of baking soda.
4. Baking Soda Vs Baking Powder – How to store and use
4.1) Baking Soda
Baking soda usually comes in a box and moving it to an airtight container will help it stay fresh. Keeping baking soda in cardboard boxes will not work as it will absorb the odors and ultimately not work. Unopened baking soda can be stored for up to 18 months whereas after opening the box, it may last up to 6 months to one year at room temperature.
Maintaining individual containers for baking soda for domestic cleansing, and baking purposes is a good option for it to retain the leavening strength.
The storage space for baking soda containers should be away from strong spices, microwave, stove range, refrigerator, or coffee pots as baking soda absorbs every odor nearby.
Dry measuring spoons are always recommended whenever taking out baking soda from the container to avoid it losing its leavening power.
4.2) Baking Powder
Baking powder should be stored in airtight containers or in its usual packaging in a dry and cool cupboard in the kitchen away from heat and excessive moisture.
It should be measured with a dry utensil to help it stay fresh.
Storing baking powder in the fridge is not recommended as the powder will react with the condensation of the refrigerator.
Opened baking powder box should be used within 6 months and an unopened baking powder box can be stored indefinitely.
It is always advised to go through the expiration dates mentioned in the packages of leavening agents to be sure about them being active. However, there are various techniques to find out their power.
5. Baking Soda vs Baking Powder- How to test the strength
5.1) Baking Soda
To test baking soda, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda into a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, and stir. The concoction should bubble up immediately and vigorously, if it does then baking soda is ready to be used in food gastronomy.
5.2) Baking Powder
To test whether the baking powder is fresh or not is to take 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder in a bowl and mix it with 3 tablespoons of warm water and stir. The mixture should foam up immediately, giving clarity on its usage.
6. Conclusion on Baking soda Vs baking powder
Baking soda and baking powder work best when used within described quantities in recipes and are leavening agents with distinct qualities.
Each reacts in a specific manner when mixed with batter or dough so both are equally essential based on their role in recipes.