Dec. 2, 2011
Hi Herbies! It's baking season so we thought we would bring you a few informative posts on baking and answer your questions. Once in awhile people will email in and ask if they can replace baking soda with powder or vice versa.
Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents, meaning they’ll make your baked goods ‘rise.’ Baking powder actually contains some baking soda, but they aren’t used exactly the same way.
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When you bake with baking soda, you usually add some kind of acidic ingredient. Chocolate, agave, soy yogurt, all of these are acids, and they cause the sodium bicarbonate to activate and the bubbles that it forms makes your baked goods rise. If your recipe only calls for baked soda, you’ll want to bake it soon so it comes out nice and fluffy. Baking soda will taste bitter if you use it in a recipe without any acid, which is usually why you find baking soda in cookie recipes that use things like chocolate.
Baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, an acid agent, and a dying agent like a starch. Baking powder is activated when it is combined with a liquid. Gases are released when your dough is in the oven after the temperature has increased.
If a recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda, they’re usually being used for different reasons. The baking powder will be used for leavening, while the baking soda is added to the recipe to neutralize the acids in the ingredients and it can help make your baked goods soft.
You should always whisk your dry ingredients together before adding the wet so that you have an equal distribution of all of your ingredients. You don’t want to create a baked good that has too much baking soda or baking powder in only one part of the batter because they will rise too much. If you bake cookies or a cake that seems to rise and then collapse, you’ve used too much baking powder. The bubbles that form are too big and then they collapse!
If you have any baking questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section or send us an email!