What every WOMAN should know|The difference between baking soda and baking powder

When I told my husband the title of this article he actually chuckled a little. I guess because he remembers all the ingredients I actually messed up by using baking soda when the recipe called for baking powder or vice versa. I’m better now but back when I was a freshman in the kitchen I made horrible mistakes. I think our stomachs paid for it royally. When my now husband and then boyfriend came over for Thanksgiving I was so hyped I made everything look so amazing and everyone was eager to try my FIRST Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for and the first bite…..YUK..the dressing had a bitter taste as if I was attempting to kill my family.  Ooopsie, I actually put baking soda in the cornbread stuffing instead of baking powder…  Silly Me!

Luckily, I didn’t go to jail for that stupid mistake but I wanted to make sure that no one else makes the same mistake… Please take a moment to know the difference baking soda and baking powder.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and when combined with an acidic ingredient (buttermilk, lemon juice, etc.), it creates carbon dioxide gas, which expands in the heat of the oven and helps cookies, cakes, and other baked goods rise.

Baking Soda (Arm & Hammer)

Baking Soda
(Arm & Hammer)

Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent, a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate and a weak acid, and is used for increasing the volume and lightening the texture of baked goods.

Clabber Girl

Clabber Girl

If you are new in the kitchen those definitions probably didn’t help you. So let me add a little more assistance.

Baking powder is technically baking soda but toned down a little. Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and a dry acid, such as cream of tartar, and perhaps some cornstarch to help keep the two separate and dry. So essentially, most baking powders on the market are “double acting”, meaning that some leavening occurs the minute the baking powder gets wet, and the rest of the leavening occurs when it is heated.

Use Baking Soda if you are:                              Use Baking Powder if you are:

  • Cleaning                                                  Baking Cakes
  • Making Pancakes                                    Making Waffles
  • Baking Cakes                                          Baking Breads
  • Baking cookies                                        Baking Biscuits

Hope that this helps someone. One thing that I’ve learned about cooking and experimenting is it’s really not about the recipe it’s about knowing your ingredients. Happy cooking! What mistakes have you made in the kitchen?

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