Week 51: Baking Soda and Baking Powder

1.25 lbs of Baking Soda and 1.25 lbs of Baking Powder


After this week, you should have 1.25 lbs of Baking Soda and 1.25 lbs of Baking Powder. This is the program goal. This is the final week we address Baking Soda and Baking Powder.

Both baking powder and baking soda are chemical leavening agents that cause batters to rise when baked. The leavener enlarges the bubbles which are already present in the batter produced through creaming of ingredients. When a recipe contains baking powder and baking soda, the baking powder does most of the leavening. The baking soda is added to neutralize the acids in the recipe plus to add tenderness and some leavening.

When using baking powder or baking soda in a recipe, make sure to sift or whisk with the other dry ingredients before adding to the batter to ensure uniformity. Otherwise the baked good can have large holes.

Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda:

  • Baking powder consists of baking soda, one or more acid salts (cream of tartar and sodium aluminum sulfate) plus cornstarch to absorb any moisture so a reaction does not take place until a liquid is added to the batter. Most baking powder used today is double-acting which means it reacts to liquid and heat and happens in two stages.

  • Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda (alkali) is about four times as strong as baking powder. It is used in recipes that contain an acidic ingredient (e.g. vinegar, citrus juice, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, chocolate, cocoa (not Dutch-processed), honey, molasses (also brown sugar), fruits and maple syrup). Baking soda starts to react and release carbon dioxide gas as soon as it is added to the batter and moistened. Make sure to bake the batter immediately.

Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder. Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in the recipe. The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a pleasing texture. Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk. You’ll find baking soda in cookie recipes. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste. Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk. Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits.

Substituting:

You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you’ll need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can’t use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise. However, you can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts of cream of tartar with one part baking soda.

Why do I want to store these?

Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents used in baked goods. Their properties are slightly different, so in general, one should not be substituted for the other (exception above). So unless you want to stay off sweets, then you better store these items.

Nutrition:

Baking Powder (Low Sodium): There are 5 calories in 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder. Calorie breakdown: 3% fat, 97% carbs, 0% protein.

Baking Soda: There are 0 calories in 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda. Calorie breakdown: 0% fat, 0% carbs, 100% protein.

Storage:

For most purposes other than baking, baking soda has an unlimited shelf life. To test if it’s still at its maximum effectiveness for baking, put a few drops of an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda. If the soda fizzes immediately, it’s still effective. If the fizzing is delayed, keep the soda for cleaning purposes and buy a new box to use for baking.

Baking powder is more likely to lose its potency over time. Check it by stirring 1 teaspoon of baking powder into 1/4 cup of warm water. If it doesn’t readily bubble, discard the baking powder and buy a fresh can.

Containers of baking soda and baking powder carry expiration dates. Store them in their original containers in a cool, dry place; be sure to keep the baking powder container tightly closed. I store them in ziploc bags to ensure they don't absorb odors.

Cleaning:

While researching, I found a site that lists 50 clever uses for Baking Soda. So instead of relising all of them here, I'll just redirect you to the link: www.tasteofhome.com.

Page updated: 10/14/20