We all love to bake! Some people say that baking is easy and you just need to mix some ingredients and it is ready! Other argue that baking is like a science; it is very important to use correct proportions and know how all ingredients work together.
If you ask me, I think that both sides are correct. Of course, you can just mix your ingredients as you wish and have standard homemade cookies or a cake. But, if you want some specific cookies, like soft, or gooey, or with crust outside…. then you will need some knowledge and practice.
Very often I see questions about Baking Powder Vs Baking Soda. Which one shall we use and in which proportions? Are they the same? Can we substitute them? And what, finally, is the difference between the two?
Baking powder and baking soda are not the same. Yes, they are both leaveners but they are different.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a base ingredient that requires some acid to activate. That means that in order for your baking soda to work, you have to use some type of acid, like lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, sour cream, etc. When they react together, it creates carbon dioxide, which allows your cookies to rise.
But don’t be overexcited about baking soda and don’t use too much of it! It is all about balance! Too much of baking soda can make your baking goodies taste bitter, soapy and metallic.
What is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a mix of baking soda and dry acid (cream of tartar and sometimes cornstarch). These compounds start to work together the minute they are moistened. Most of the baking powders on the market are “double acting”. This means that the first leanening occurs when you add wet ingredients to the baking powder. The second leavening is activated by heat, while baking.
Can I use Baking Powder instead of Baking Soda?
So, finally we came to the main question… can I substitute baking powder with baking soda?
The answer is NO.
Let me explain. The baking powder is consist of 1/3 of baking soda and 2/3 of dry acidic ingredients. For each teaspoon of baking powder you will have only 1/3 of actual baking soda in it and your baking goods will not rise enough. If you decide to put 3 time more baking powder, you will have too much acidic ingredients and your cookies or cake will have a bitter aftertaste. Also, because of too much acidity, there is a chance that first your batter will rise too quickly and then deflate, because the bubbles inside the batter didn’t have enough time to bake.
When you use them together, they create a balance and good leavening without a bitter aftertaste. That is why most of the recipes use baking soda and baking powder.