Baking soda + powder

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by malecook, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. malecook

    malecook

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    At home cook
    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.
     
  2. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    464
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,543
    Likes Received:
    508
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  4. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    464
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    @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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    464
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    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.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,543
    Likes Received:
    508
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Most recipes are written for double acting baking powder.
     
  7. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    464
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    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.
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,543
    Likes Received:
    508
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    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. 
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  9. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,131
    Likes Received:
    368
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.