Post was Updated on August 26, 2022
Do you try to bake some goods but you get confused between bicarbonate of soda, bicarb of soda, baking soda, and baking powder? What are the differences? Can you substitute one with another? Will you get the same result? Let’s find out!
Is Bicarbonate of Soda the Same as Baking Soda?
Yes, you can substitute the bicarbonate of soda with baking soda as they are both the same ingredient. Just different names depending on the origin of the recipe.
If we are referring to baking soda then it is the same thing as the bicarbonate of soda. If you follow a US recipe, then you will see that the recipe is calling for baking soda. If you try to make a recipe from Australia, New Zealand, or the UK, you will see that the recipe is asking for bicarbonate (shortly bicarb) of soda. It is the same thing, so you can easily replace each other.
Quick Note: You should pay attention to what terms are used. You can easily confuse baking soda with baking powder.
What Is the Bicarbonate of Soda?
The bicarbonate of soda or baking soda is a pure leavening agent. But in order to start the process, you need to combine it with an acidic ingredient like buttermilk or lemon juice.
Other acidic ingredients to consider:
- Sour Milk
Quick Note: Pay attention that bicarbonate of soda has a specific flavor and that you will overuse it, this taste may be too prominent.
How to Test if Bicarb of Soda Is Good?
The simplest way to test if the bicarbonate of soda is still good and if you can add it to your baking goods is to put a little bit of bicarbonate of soda in a glass or plate and drop an acidic element over it. You can add a little bit of buttermilk, vinegar, or lemon juice. If you see that the bicarbonate of soda started to make some bubbles, that means that this bicarb of soda is still good to use.
What Is Baking Powder?
On another hand, the baking powder is the bicarbonate of soda mixed already with an acidic element so you shouldn’t worry about the reaction. Just add it into the dough and you will get an airy and light dough.
How to Test the Baking Powder if It Is Still Good?
If you have a package with baking powder but you don’t know if it is still good and if you can use it to bake some goods, you can pour a little bit of baking powder into some boiling water. If you see that the baking soda has started to foam, that means that it is still good and it will raise the dough and you will get the desired results.
Difference Between Baking Powder and Baking Soda?
Baking soda and baking powder are two different things. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, while baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), cream of tartar (a type of acid that keeps the leavening properties longer), and cornstarch or potato starch. If you don’t have any on hand when your recipe calls for it — or if you’re trying to substitute one for the other — you’ll need to adjust some of your other ingredients as well before using this substitution method.
The pH of a product is an indication of how acidic or basic it is. In baking soda’s case, a low pH means that it’s more likely to act as an acid when added to your recipe. That’s why some recipes call for adding baking soda along with an ingredient (like buttermilk) that has a low pH itself; the two chemicals combine and react to lower the overall pH of your batter or dough.
In baking powder’s case, however, it already has a lower pH than baking soda! This means that when you add it directly into your recipe without any other ingredients in play (like another acidic ingredient), there won’t be enough chemical reaction going on between its components — and thus no significant effect on your food’s overall acidity level either way.
Baking soda is much stronger than baking powder.
So what’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
Baking soda is a base, which means it reacts with acidic ingredients like chocolate, yogurt, or buttermilk to help biscuits rise. It also reacts with natural fats in butter to create air pockets within your dough.
Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and other ingredients that cause it to release carbon dioxide when they’re mixed with moisture. This helps the dough rise as well as gives bread its soft texture.
If you want to get technical about it, you could say that two parts sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) combined with one part cream of tartar forms the basis for most commercial baking powders sold today—but normally people just refer to an equal amount of each ingredient during their recipe preparation instead of buying any kind of premade mix from their local grocery store!
- Baking soda is more alkaline, baking powder is more acidic.
- Baking soda is stronger than baking powder.
- Baking soda reacts more to other ingredients and will dissolve faster in liquids than baking powder does.
- Baking powder costs less than baking soda but has a shorter shelf-life (about 6 months).
Substituting One for the Other Is Possible With Careful Adjustments.
You can make the substitution, but you’ll have to be careful. Baking soda is a stronger leavening agent than baking powder, so you’ll need to reduce the amount of baking soda if you’re substituting it for baking powder.
Quick Note: If you will substitute one with another, keep in mind that baking soda is three times stronger than baking powder. So, adjust the quantity in your recipes.
Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate and an acid. The reaction between these two ingredients produces carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes your baked goods to rise as they bake due to the increased volume of gas bubbles in the batter or dough. When you use baking soda instead of baking powder, there won’t be enough acid present in your recipe to kick off this chemical reaction—so if that’s what happens when you substitute one for the other!
So, as we found, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are the same thing, just different names in different places around the globe. Just pay attention to not confuse baking soda with baking powder as these two are two completely ingredients and will give you different results. You can substitute the baking soda with baking powder, but you will need to adjust the quantity of them.