Quick Recipes and Easy

Ever Wondered How Baking Soda Really Works in Home Baking?

On top of the numerous and incredible uses of baking soda, my favourite will have to be in dessert baking.

Baking soda is not to be confused with baking powder. So if a cake recipe calls for baking powder, make sure you don’t mistake this with baking soda.

So what is the difference? Here are some quick notes that you should know to ensure your success in dessert making and home baking.

* What is Baking Soda?

Also called Bicarbonate of Soda (NaHCO3), baking soda is pure ‘Sodium Bicarbonate’.

How does it work?

It reacts when it comes in contact with liquid acids in recipes and produces gasses, carbon dioxide. You will notice that any recipes with baking soda will also have a liquid acid ingredient, such as lemon juice, honey, buttermilk, brown sugar, fruits, etc.

It is this ‘fizzy’ chemical reaction with liquid acids that makes the necessary rising in your dessert recipes.

The chemical reaction of baking soda happens instantly the liquid acid ingredients are added to it, therefore you need to make sure that you bake your cakes or desserts nearly instantly and do not allow batter to sit and “flop”.

Baking soda is used in fizzy soda drinks, so you can remember this to for how the bubbles quickly dissipate and disappear. Trick is to have all your ingredients measured and prepared before mixing and getting your batters into the oven straight after mixing.

Test for Usage:
Mix about 1 teaspoon of baking soda with about 4 teaspoons of vinegar. It should bubble like fizzy drinks.

* What is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a dry acid and is really a combination of baking soda with other key ingredients.

How does it work?

Baking powders are called a “double acting” leavening agent because if its difference to the baking soda. Baking powder not only reacts in your recipe mixture (same as with the baking soda), but it also reacts again once you place it in the oven to cook. The difference to baking soda is that baking powder has slower acting agents in the mix which only reacts with heat, or, at baking.

Baking powder is advantageous for more complex recipes that requires longer preparation time as you don’t have to rush it into the oven.

Test for Usage:
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 1/2 cup hot water. It should bubble and fizz.

Never add more or cut the amount of baking soda or powder questioned for in dessert recipes.

Adding too much…
Too much making soda or powder in your batter mixture can make your baking result taste bitter or react too much that causes it to flop and fail.

Adding too small…
Not adding enough baking soda or powder will cause your baking to end up tough and have a dry texture.

Also obey baking recipe temperatures as stated. The gas produced by these leavening agents, carbon dioxide, will expand quicker with altitude.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder…

- “Single Acting” vs. “Double Acting”
- Must work swiftly vs. Can take your time
- Long shelf life (indefinite if stored in an air-tight container) vs. Shorter limited shelf life up to one year
- Use as is vs. Need to be pre-mixed (if not bought)

To make your own baking powder, sift and mix together,
- 2 parts of Cream of Tartar, to
- 1 part baking soda and
- 1 part cornstarch.

Or, for 1 teaspoon of commercial baking powder substitute, it is:
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda,
- 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch, and
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

With these basic knowledge of the difference between baking soda to baking powder and how they should be used, you can be rest-assured that your cakes or baked goods will rise.

Just remember to follow the recipe and how these baking agents work, and you can achieve fantastic tasting home-baked treats like a professional!

~* Janlia Chong has held onto her title as Baking Sensation because of her near endless knowledge of baking and packaging treats. Her ability to impress is one of her largest traits. What’s her trick? Simple, she takes something that sounds hard and makes it simple and fun. Follow Janlia’s advice and you’ll be busy baking treats for the entire family. Visit BakingHugs.com BakingHugs.com *~

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