It is time we solve this mystery once and for all!

If you are baking cakes or making pakoras, there are chances that you have been introduced to both baking powder and baking soda. But the question is, how do we differentiate among the two? They are both look the same and have an eerily similar appearance that does not make the job any easier!

However, the Culinary Gods above have not abandoned us. There are distinctions between baking powder and baking soda and how they are used in different recipes as well as remedies for common issues around the house. 

So here’s presenting, baking soda and baking powder, in a new light and distinction, just for you!

What is the Main Difference?

If you paid attention in your Chemistry class, then this distinction will be easy to understand. Baking powder already has a built-in acidic element while baking soda needs an external acidic component to get it humming.

However, they are used for the same function – as rising agents. 

What is Baking Soda Made Of?

Also known as Sodium Bicarbonate, baking soda has high acidic content that immediately reacts when mixed with warm water or exposed to heat. 

Thanks to its volatile reaction, baking soda is a quick trick one applies to rise the food item. 

What is Baking Powder Made of?

As discussed, Baking Powder has baking soda and acidic medium with a hint of starch 

In fact, Baking Powder = Baking Soda + Acidic Medium + Corn Starch.

Know the Difference, Again!

Baking PowderBaking Soda
The finger test: Simply press your finger into a lump of baking powder and rub it between your thumb and your forefinger. Brush it off and you will observe a thin white film on your fingers. The finger test: Simply press your finger into a lump of baking powder and rub it between your thumb and your forefinger.  Brush it off and you will observe no white film on your fingers, they are devoid of any white residue.
Add warm water and you will start seeing bubbles as it is starting to ferment. Add warm water and you will see no reaction. However, if you add an acidic medium along with it, then you will observe a reaction. 

Usage

Baking Soda: Since this is a highly reactive compound, it is used to make pakoras and cookies to bring in that instant lift and fluffiness to the food item. So for quick instead recipes, you know what to reach for. 

Baking Powder: It is a 2-part reactive compound. For instance, if you mix it with warm water while making a cake, it might rise up a bit. However, the real magic comes into play later when you pop the cake into the oven and the soda reacts with the heat to give it that soft, fluffy and spongy rise.

Fun Facts!

Time for some fun facts.

In case you are wondering whether you can substitute a baking soda for a baking powder and vice-versa, the answer is a 100% yep!

1 tsp Baking Powder = 1 tsp Baking Soda + 1 tsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp Baking Soda = 3 tsp Baking Powder

Clearly, baking soda is much stronger than the baking powder. 

Final Takeaway

Baking powder and baking soda are an important part of your kitchen and almost every palate in the world. 

Hope this blog helped you understand the tiny, yet important difference between Baking Powder and Baking Soda. No more calling home or looking for the label on the box!

You are now an expert! 

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