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Baking powder vs baking soda

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I was hoping someone could explain to me the difference between baking soda and baking powder. I know one is acidic and the other is 4 times more potent.

What I don't understand is when to use which one, how much and why some recipes call for one and some for both!

Thanks so much!!
post #2 of 12
Baking powder is just baking soda plus an acidic ingredient to activate the leavening reaction. If your recipe already has enough of an acidic ingredient you can use baking soda, otherwise you'll want to use baking powder.

Recipes that call for both usually have a small amount of acidic ingredients, so you can use some baking soda to react with the existing acid but if more leavening is needed you'd have to add baking powder as well.

More info:
http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/bakingdesserts/a/Baking-Soda-And-Baking-Powder.htm
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'm making a white cake. It has 2 cups of buttermilk. How much of each would you suggest I use?
post #4 of 12

You are asking for a scientific answer to a question with unknown variables. "Adjusting" a recipe is part trial and knowledge....you don't seem ready for that level of baking based on your opening question.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Stitches! I believe a more appropriate response would have been to ask what the other ingredients are and how much. I obviously am not ready. Hence the opening question. Thanks again, Stater of the Obvious! I'm looking for help. Not someone to throw my lack of experience in my face icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 12

I don't believe she threw your lack of experience in your face.


She was merely suggesting that if you don't have a lot of recipe development experience and knowledge (ie the function of ingredients etc) then you would be best advised to follow an already tested recipe.  You say the white cake you are making has buttermilk..... you are obviously following a recipe - what does it have .... baking soda?  if so - use that

Baking soda and baking powder are not interchangeable in recipes

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A sense of humour is a wonderful thing  - without laughter, the world is a SUPER boring place

PS..... only smart people can read truly WITTY comments and chuckle instead of getting all miffed

Hero of all time - GODOT

 

 

www.facebook.com/applegum

Th...

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Reply
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm not following a recipe. I was trying to come up with one, specifically to learn functions of ingredients and how they react with each other. That's why I asked about baking soda/powder. I've seen recipes that have buttermilk that call for baking soda and some with buttermilk that call for powder. I know they're not interchangeable. But I'm not sure when to use which one and how much. Buttermilk would be the only acidic ingredient.

I know my level of baking is close to non existent. I was hoping someone would be able to help me.
post #8 of 12

If you are just learning how to bake I think most everyone on this site would advise you to follow a basic recipe.  I've never heard of anyone learning how to bake by inventing recipes 8O.  Once you master the basics and can produce a successful cake then perhaps you can experiment a bit with flavors, but the basic structure of a cake can only be modified so much before something bad happens.  The recipe tells you exactly when and how much to use of which ingredients, there's no need to guess!

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookoo4cakes View Post
I know my level of baking is close to non existent. I was hoping someone would be able to help me.

Thank-you ApplegumPam, you were correct about my intent in my earlier post....thanks for explaining better than I did.

 

If you want to learn about the importance of ingredients in a baking recipe start with a recipe you've already baked and know well. Than begin experimenting with that recipe. Every time you bake that recipe change the ingredients and proportions of them and you will see how ingredients effect each other.

 

OR if you seriously want help, there are millions of baking books that explain the roles of each ingredient in the beginning of their books.

 

If you want someone to personally help you, I suggest taking a baking course where the teacher has a lot of time to individually coach you.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your suggestions. I will find a recipe and change it around.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookoo4cakes View Post

Thank you for your suggestions. I will find a recipe and change it around.

I'd suggest that you get a copy of the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. It has recipes, then an explanation of why the recipe works the way that it does, so you can figure out what to adjust if you need to adjust something. Changing things around in recipes without knowing why you're changing it isn't going to teach you anything and will probably just be confusing.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

Baking powder is just baking soda plus an acidic ingredient to activate the leavening reaction. If your recipe already has enough of an acidic ingredient you can use baking soda, otherwise you'll want to use baking powder.

Recipes that call for both usually have a small amount of acidic ingredients, so you can use some baking soda to react with the existing acid but if more leavening is needed you'd have to add baking powder as well.

More info:
http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/bakingdesserts/a/Baking-Soda-And-Baking-Powder.htm

Kudos Jason_kraft and Stitches:  exacting answers to the question.

 

decorating is an art, baking is a science; and they both take an enormous amount of time, money, energy, training, education, and hands-on practical experience in the kitchen. IMO.

 

cookoo4cakes: you were helped by receiving the perfect and the only correct answers to your questions.

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~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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