By Abbey Thiel
How many times have you been in the middle of baking before you realized you were out of baking powder or baking soda?
I’m sure you were tempted to substitute one for the other, thinking to yourself are these two ingredients even different?
Well, the short answer is— yes.
Baking soda is chemically known as sodium bicarbonate, which is a basic compound.
When baking soda is used in a recipe there is almost always an acid, like cream of tartar or lemon juice, also included.
This results in an acid-base reaction that generates tiny bubbles that aerate the dough. Baking powder is a little different.
It includes both sodium bicarbonate and an acid or two.
This means no extra ingredients need to be added for that acid-base reaction to occur, making baking powder more convenient.
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Abbey discovered that food science was a real major while attending University of Wisconsin-Madison, and quickly transferred into the department. After graduating with a B.S. in food science, she decided to stay in Madison to pursue her PhD. Her research explores the fat network found within ice cream, and yes, there’s lots of ice cream parties! If not found sitting at a microscope for extended amounts of time, Abbey enjoys the great Midwestern sport of log rolling (Google it) and laughing really loud. She is also very busy passing on her passion for food science to her two-year-old niece, whose favorite color is bacon and has hopes of growing up to be soup.