Similar names and similar look are the two main reasons why people can’t tell the difference between baking powder and baking soda. That is why this article will be about the difference between these two different ingredients.

Both of them can be a part of the same recipe but it is of a big importance to know their individual uses. Maybe they are both leaveners but they are different chemically.

And the difference is:

1. Baking soda – The baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate and it will produce carbon dioxide when it is combined with something that is acidic. This means that some type of acid is needed when a recipe needs baking soda. In other words you will need something acidic (for example lemon juice, buttermilk, cream of tartar, brown sugar or yogurt) when you prepare a dish with baking soda. Baking powder is not as strong as baking soda but this does not mean that baking soda can cause lift and if in the recipe there is no acid there will leftover of baking soda. The meal will have something similar to metallic taste when the baking soda is not neutralized with acid. The amount of baking soda that you use in your dishes should always be the rule of thumb which is actually ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.

2. Mixture of baking soda and other acids is baking powder. Those other acids are mostly cornstarch and cream of tartar. There will be two leavenings when you prepare a meal with baking powder because there is already acid in it. The first leavening will be when the baking powder is wet and the second when it gets heated. Use 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

As we previously mentioned in some recipes both of them are needed and that is because the baking soda will not be enough to leaven the volume and the baking powder should be added for that. In other words it is about balance. Also you should remember that they expire and that you should always use fresh baking soda and baking powder and throw them away if there are in your kitchen for longer period of 3 months. But before you throw them away you can always check their effectives. To check the effectiveness of baking soda you will need 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar poured into a small bowl and to add half a teaspoon of baking soda and to stir. If rapidly it starts to bubbles it means that your baking soda is still effective and you should not throw it away. To check the effectiveness of baking powder you should pour 3 tablespoons of baking powder into a small bowl with warm water. After that you should add half a teaspoon of baking powder and stir and if there is any reaction then it is still effective and you should not throw it away.

The conclusion is that the baking powder is poof in the oven and the baking soda in a single ingredient!