Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder and Baking Soda

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Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder and Baking Soda

I know there’s a lot of confusion over the difference between Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder and Baking Soda so let’s take a moment and clear it up.

Bicarbonate of soda and baking soda and basically the same time. It’s just different names for the same ingredient. Here in the UK, we generally call it bicarbonate of soda and our friends over in the US call it baking soda. So fear not, if you have a recipe that calls for either of these things, you probably have a tub in your cupboard that is right.

Bicarbonate of Soda

Both bicarb of soda and baking soda are both raising agents. Which roughly speaking it will have a chemical reaction and will cause air to bubble, leaving your baked goods lighter and fluffier

Baking powder is the one that that is different. It’s like a premixed bicarb of soda and a very weak acid. The acid that is often used in baking powder is cream of tartar. You can easily make your own baking powder by mixing bicarbonate of soda with cream of tartar with a ratio of 1:2. Baking powder is often used in more delicate tasting bakes as it has a relatively undetectable taste.

Bicarb of soda is much more alkaline and if not mixed correctly with moisture and an acidic ingredient (like lemon juice honey or cream of tartar) it will leave a metallic taste in the mouth. We’ve all heard Paul Hollywood complain that he can taste the bicarbonate of soda in some of the bakes in the British Bake off tent. Well that’s the taste he is talking about.

So now you know what the difference between bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and baking soda, so you needn’t get confused again. I hope you’ve found this post useful and happy baking!

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14 thoughts on “Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder and Baking Soda

    • Sally Sally says:

      From guessing Annie, I bet your cakes are amazing and you know the right ingredients! Must go again for cocktails soon.

  1. Yes, there is a lot of confusion about this. Since I am in the US but so many of my readers are in the UK, I have a British Conversions page on my blog and this is one of the things listed. Looking forward to reading more of your blog when I get a break; couldn't resist your "ketchup tomorrow, relish today"!

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