Different recipes call for baking soda and or baking powder. These ingredients are quite important to give rise (some height) to whatever you are cooking. Most people just check which one they have in the cupboard and go for it. Major DON’T. Ok you won’t die, or get some weird gastrointestinal disease, BUT, you might end up with flat or caved in whatever you are cooking.
NOTE: Both baking soda and baking powder react chemically when added with different ingredients. That reaction causes carbon dioxide bubbles which then causes all the ingredients to rise when combined with heat (in the oven).
Baking Soda: Is actually pure sodium bicarbonate. It reacts with moisture and acidic ingredients (ex. vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, chocolate, honey, lemon, etc..)
Baking Powder: Is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar (an acidifying agent ), and cornstarch (a drying agent). There are 3 types of baking powder (listed below), however the most commonly available and used is double-acting .
- Single-Acting or Fast-Acting: Reacts with the ingredients once mixed.
- Slow -Acting: Reacts only with the heat.
- Double-Acting: the most common and in my opinion probably the ideal for the best lift. It reacts first ,when combined to the ingredients, and a second time (hence double) to heat.
- Caution: Make sure to really pay attention to the portion measurement of these! Adding too much might leave your food tasting bitter or aluminum-y. YUK!
WAIT a second…: If you don’t have baking powder and happen to have baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch, and are really inspired to make your own baking powder or just simply too lazy to go out and buy some.. here is the combination Simply Done:
Grab a small bowl…Take 1/4 of the amount of baking powder called for in the recipe and put that amount of baking soda. Add that equal amount of cornstarch and then twice the amount of that particular portion of cream of tartar.
Example: Recipe calls for 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder.. So then in a small bowl mix: 1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda, 1/4 Teaspoon of cornstarch, and 1/2 Teaspoon of Cream of tartar.