Make Your Own Baking Powder (And Why It's Not Baking Soda!)

Question: What is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?

Answer: Baking Soda: Pure Sodium Bicarbonate.  When combined with both moisture and an acidic agent (honey, buttermilk,etc.) it produces bubbles that help your dough to rise. The action starts immediately and so you need to bake the dough immediately after adding adding the baking soda or else it will fall flat!

Baking Powder: Contains Sodium Bicarbonate, but also contains the acidifier (cream of tartar)  and also a drying agent(corn starch).  It too must be baked immediately.

Q: Why do some recipes call for one or the other?
A: Whether you use soda or powder depends on the other ingredients in the recipe.

Baking Soda can yield a bitter taste unless the acidifying agent is something with a bit less neutral taste like buttermilk. (Hey, maybe that's why my Grandmothers Texas Sheet Cake recipe calls for buttermilk and baking soda!)

Baking powder contains both the acid and the base so it already has a neutral effect as far as taste goes, so it is more commonly used when the other ingredients in the recipe are also neutral tasting such as regular milk.

Q: Can you substitute one for the other?
A: Yes and No!  Baking Powder can be substituted for baking soda, but you'll need to measure more out,since it has less sodium bicarbonate per measure. BUT you can NEVER substitute baking soda for baking powder. The recipe was calculated without the proper acidifier as baking powder has it built into itself and baking soda lacks that.  ( You'll need to make the recipe below instead!)
How to Make Baking Powder
Printable Recipe

Baking Powder
Ingredients for one teaspoon;
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Ingredients for larger batches:
one part baking soda
one part cornstarch
two parts cream of tartar

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