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Thursday, February 27, 2014

kitchen basics: baking soda vs. baking powder

next in our kitchen basics series, we're taking a look at the difference between baking soda and baking powder.  baking is a science, and different ingredients react in different ways.  so it's important to know what chemistry is happening in your recipes.

although baking soda and baking powder may look similar, they are not interchangeable.  in fact, they each work differently in recipes . . .

baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.  when sodium bicarbonate is heated, it produces both carbon dioxide gas and sodium carbonate.  the carbon dioxide gas is a good thing because it is what makes cakes and other baked goods rise.  however, the sodium carbonate is not so great because it can give baked goods a metallic taste.  luckily, that metallic taste can be neutralized with an acid.  therefore, baking soda is often found in recipes with acidic ingredients (such as lemon, buttermilk, or yogurt).  the acid helps to eliminate the metallic taste while still allowing baked goods to rise.

baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, acid, and cornstarch.  any baking powder that is labeled "double acting" will release a small amount of carbon dioxide gas when stirred into a batter or a dough, and then will release more carbon dioxide gas when heated.  therefore, baking powder is often found in recipes with non-acidic ingredients (such as whole milk).

simply put: baking soda needs an acid and baking powder has an acid.

see, science can be fun (and tasty)!

. . .

are there any kitchen tips/tricks that you would like to learn?  leave a comment or send me an email to let me know what you would like to see next in the kitchen basics series.

happy cooking!
love, laurie

1 comment:

ma pa camlet said...

Good tip. How about a substitution for corn syrup to distrub the crystal bond. Will honey work?