Baking soda: what it does and doesn't do for your health

Become a better baker by learning the real differences between baking powder và baking soda– in easy-to-understand language!

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Welcome bachồng to my Baking Basics series!

Today I’m discussing one of the most confusing subjects in the entire realm of baking. What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? Are they the same? Can I sub one for the other without changing anything else?

If there is one thing that you take away from today’s lesson, let it be this: baking powder và baking soda are absolutely not the same.

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Baking powder & baking soda are both leaveners, however they are chemically different.

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What is Baking Soda?

Aka bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate.

Let’s start with baking soda because it’s the most confusing. First, baking soda is a BASE. Do you remember the science experiment we all did in school? Mixing baking soda with vinegar và watching an eruption of bubbles? Usually we did this in some sort of mã sản phẩm volcano contraption. I know you know. When you phối baking soda (BASE) with vinegar (ACID) you get a chemical reaction (an eruption of bubbles!). A sản phẩm of this reaction is carbon dioxide.

The same exact reaction happens in our cookies, cakes, breads, etc. When a recipe calls for baking sodomain authority (BASE), it usually calls for some type of ACID like buttermilk, brown sugar, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, cream of tartar, molasses, applesauce, natural cocoa powder (not dutch process), or honey. You need this ACID in the recipe to lớn react with the baking sodomain authority, which in turn creates carbon dioxide and allows your baked good khổng lồ rise.

Baking sodomain authority is svào. In fact, it is about 3-4x stronger than baking powder. More baking sodomain authority in a recipe doesn’t necessarily mean more lift. You want to use *just enough* to lớn react with the amount of acid in the recipe. Too much baking sodomain authority and not enough acid means there will be leftover baking soda in the recipe. You bởi not want that; it creates a metallic, soapy taste in your baked goods. Iông chồng.

Good rule of thumb: I usually use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking sodomain authority per 1 cup of flour in a recipe.

Baking soda CAN leaven a baked good when exposed lớn heat. However, unless it is neutralized with an acid, your finished baked good will likely have sầu a metallic aftertaste– like I mention above sầu. Get it? Got it? Good.

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What is Baking Powder?

Baking powder contains baking sodomain authority. It is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar (a dry acid), and sometimes cornstarch. These days, most baking powder sold is double acting. This means that the first leavening occurs when baking powder gets wet– lượt thích when you combine the dry và wet ingredients in the recipe. (This is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time lớn bake later– because the baking powder has already been activated.) The second leavening occurs when the baking powder is heated.

Double (first, second) acting.

Since baking powder already contains an acid to lớn neutralize its baking sodomain authority, it is most often used when a recipe does not Điện thoại tư vấn for an additional acidic ingredient. Like my sugar cookies. However, this isn’t always the case. You can still use baking powder as the leavening agent in recipes calling for an acidic ingredient. Like my letháng blueberry cake. In my recipe development, I based my lemon cake recipe off of my vanilla cake recipe. I used buttermilk (acid) instead of regular milk for added moisture and a little tang & subbed a little brown sugar (acid) for granulated sugar– again, for added moisture. I was pleased with the rise & taste of the cake, so I did not experiment with using baking soda.

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Good rule of thumb: I usually use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour in a recipe.

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Why vì some recipes Điện thoại tư vấn for both?

Some recipes call for both baking powder và baking sodomain authority. These recipes contain some sort of acid (yogurt, brown sugar, etc), however the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking sodomain authority is not enough lớn leaven the volume of batter in the recipe. That’s why baking powder is used as well– lớn add necessary lift.

Basically, the reason for both is because sometimes you need more leavening than you have acid available in the recipe. It’s all about balance.

Another reason lớn use both baking powder and baking soda is because they affect both browning and flavor. Fine Cooking breaks it down easily: let’s take my buttermilk pancake recipe. In my recipe, buttermilk is used partly for its tangy flavor. If we used only baking sodomain authority, it could neutralize all of the buttermilk’s acid. And we’d thua kém that tanginess! However, by including baking powder as well (which has its own acid), some of the buttermilk’s flavor is left behind, và there is still enough leavening for fluffy pancakes.

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How to Substitute

It’s tricky, which is why I never recommkết thúc it without background knowledge (và the expectancy that your baked good will not taste as intended).

If you have sầu a recipe calling for baking soda, you might be able to substitute baking powder. However, you will need up to lớn 4x as much baking powder lớn get the same amount of leavening. And, depending on the recipe, you might over up with a baked good that’s a little bitter with that much baking powder. You can sub baking soda for baking powder only if you increase the amount of acid in the recipe– which likely changes the taste và texture of your baked good. You’d also need less baking soda since it is about 3-4x stronger.

So, uh, just stichồng khổng lồ the recipe!

Don’t Forget– They Expire!

I replace my baking powder & soda every 3 months, just khổng lồ be sure they are always fresh for my recipes. I always date them on the bottom of the container. If you aren’t a baking addict freak like I am, chances are you’ll have lớn chạy thử your baking powder and soda for effectiveness before using.

How To Test Baking Powder

To chạy thử baking powder, pour 3 Tablespoons of warm water into lớn a small bowl. Add 50% teaspoon of baking powder. Give it a light stir. The mixture should moderately fizz if the powder is fresh. If there is no reaction, toss the baking powder and buy a fresh package.

How To Test Baking Soda

To thử nghiệm baking sodomain authority, pour 3 Tablespoons of Trắng distilled vinegar into a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Give sầu it a light stir. The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh. If there is no reaction, toss the baking soda & buy a fresh package.

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That’s it for today! Did I completely bore you? Hello?

For anyone still here, don’t forget that baking is CHEMISTRY and it takes practice, trial & error, & the willingness lớn learn in order khổng lồ succeed.


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