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Baking soda + powder

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My question is, what is  the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Can they be used instead of the other? For example: Could I use baking powder than baking soda? Would it ruin what I am making. Let say banana bread, or maybe cup cakes for example.

 

                         Thank you for your help. I was just wondering about the 2 powder's.

 

                                               John, aka Male cook.

post #2 of 9
Baking powder is 2/3 cream of tartar and 1/3 baking soda. If you make substitutions you might have flat baked goods or too airy, or a flat batter, etc.
post #3 of 9
Baking powder is usually double acting. It reacts when wet and a second time at about 130 F. The reactive components are part of the powder.

Baking soda needs a reactive acid included in the recipe to make it react.

Millionknives version is a simple single acting ale of baking powder. Many inexpensive ones use an aluminum base and can taste metallic.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 9

@phatch  is that because the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)  when it is dehydrated (giving off H2O and CO2) becomes sodium carbonate, a stronger base?  Or where does the double acting part come from? I played around with this somewhat when I was experimenting with Bavarian Pretzels.  I ended up using sodium hydroxide though haha.

post #5 of 9

Also are you saying it's worth it to buy the double acting baking powder instead of mixing as needed?  I don't bake much so I have never bought it.

post #6 of 9
Most recipes are written for double acting baking powder.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 9

I think I just figured out why my cast iron skillet cornbread was so flat a couple weeks ago!  I rarely use baking powder, and usually for frying batters.  That's one case where the single action powder probably bit me.  Most of my bread baking relies on yeast for CO2.

post #8 of 9

I don't have my On Food and Cooking handy where McGee breaks down the reactions of common baking powder.  Wikipedia gives some discussion you might find useful.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baking_powder And On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee is a book any serious cook should have for just such questions. 

 

Older recipes from the American South are more prone to use the single acting type baking powder you mixed up yourself, but that's dying out imho. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

I think I just figured out why my cast iron skillet cornbread was so flat a couple weeks ago!  I rarely use baking powder, and usually for frying batters.  That's one case where the single action powder probably bit me.  Most of my bread baking relies on yeast for CO2.

Baking powder (and baking soda) are ingredients that I feel free to throw out and replace often.  Baking powder "goes bad" with age and humidity.  Baking soda picks up bad smells.

 

Double-acting is like insurance... good to have.

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