Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

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Difference between Baking soda and baking powder

Baked goods are much appreciated for their taste and light texture. When stepping into a pastry shop, the sweet smell invades your senses to the point your mouth may water and you become overwhelmed with the memories of your favorite pastry from the past visits to the bakery or from holidays when your mother baked her unique desserts. There are thousands of recipes to try, but you’ll need to rely on a dough rising agent to achieve the appropriate consistency. Products on the market react differently according to their chemical formula, so it is best to choose the one specifically mentioned in the recipe and when trying to substitute with products at hand, review the following comparison for insight.

Baking soda
baking powder


Baking soda is a chemical substance obtained from calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, ammonia and carbon dioxide which react in a water medium as part of the Solvay process used on a large scale in industry. It has a white crystalline solid appearance, but it can be sold in a powder form as well. Baking powder is a chemical substance composed of sodium bicarbonate, acid salts and an inert starch. It is dry, white and has the consistency of powder as the name first hand reveals.

Reacting to acid

Baking soda neutralizes the acids, therefore it is highly recommended for treating stomach acidity. For a pastry recipe, baking soda needs to react with an acid compound such as buttermilk, lemon juice, cream tartar, vinegar or yogurt to create volume expansion. Baking powder already includes an acid component. This can be fast acting or slow acting. The first one allows for the dough to rise at room temperature when certain conditions of moisture are met, the second needs high temperature in the oven to provide that effect.


Baking soda can be used in cooking to increase the volume of dough by releasing carbon dioxide. It may be substituted by baking powder. For medical purposes, baking soda is recommended to be taken when trying to solve acid indigestion issues as well as heartburn problems because it can reduce the level of acidity. Baking soda can also be used for cleaning. It is highly effective in removing stains, odors and may also replace softener products so you can add it to detergent for washing clothes. Baking powder is used to increase the volume of baked products. At the same time, by creating an infusion of carbon dioxide, it lightens their texture. Baked goods include pastry like muffins, cakes, biscuits and scones.


  • Baking soda and baking powder are chemical substances including sodium carbonate which have a white powdery appearance.
  • Baking soda needs to react with an acid compound to release carbon dioxide and make the dough expand its volume, while baking powder already contains acid which is temperature dependent if slow acting or just moisture dependent if fast acting. It produces the same rising effect as baking soda.
  • Baking soda can be used in pastry recipes, for medical purposes or as a cleaning agent. Baking powder is usually used for cakes, muffins and other.

Which one raises baked goods?
  • Baking soda
  • baking powder

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