Difference Between Baking Soda And Baking Powder

The key difference between baking soda and baking powder is that baking soda serves as a leavening agent and includes one or more acidic components like cocoa powder or buttermilk while baking powder is more suitable for recipes with minimal or absent acidic ingredients.

What Is Baking Soda?

Baking soda, a pure form of sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile white powder used for various purposes. Bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are interchangeable terms. When mixed with moisture and acidic ingredients like honey, buttermilk, or cocoa, baking soda acts as a fast-acting leavening agent.

 It generates carbon dioxide bubbles, resulting in a light texture in baked goods. It’s important to work swiftly with baking soda-based recipes to preserve the immediate bubble reaction, making it ideal for quick baking projects like biscuits or breads that don’t require rising time with yeast.

What Is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a blend of baking soda, acidic salts or dry acids, and often a starch like corn starch. It usually includes tartaric acid, known as cream of tartar, which acts as a dry acid. When you use baking powder, you’re adding the acidic component that generates carbon dioxide bubbles.

This is especially helpful in recipes lacking acidic ingredients like molasses or buttermilk. Like baking soda, baking powder’s purpose is to create air bubbles for a light texture.

Types of Baking Powder

There are two types of baking powder

Single action

 Single-action baking powder reacts quickly with moisture to produce bubbles, similar to baking soda.

Double Action

Double-action baking powder, more common, has two leavening phases. The first creates bubbles when baking soda and cream of tartar are mixed with liquids. The second leavening phase occurs during baking in the oven when the mixture reaches a specific temperature.

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder

The primary differences between baking soda and baking powder are given below:

PropertyBaking SodaBaking Powder
Main IngredientSodium BicarbonateBicarbonates (often baking soda) + Acid Salts
Monocalcium PhosphateDoes not containContains, reacts when wetted and heated with NaHCO3
Reaction with AcidsReacts immediatelyDoes not immediately react with acids
Leavening ProcessShortExtended with a second acid
Product FluffinessLess fluffy due to shorter reactionGives fluffier products when baking

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