Oct 092008

Have you ever wondered what the Double acting in Baking Powder meant? What is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder? Or what the purpose of baking powder is and why some recipes call for it and other call for baking soda? What is the double acting?

Baking Powder and Baking Soda act as a leavening agent, similar to yeast although it is instantaneous and does not take a few hours. Baking Soda is pure sodium bicarbonate- the reaction begins instantaneously upon mixing it with ingredients (there is always an acidic ingredient when baking soda is involved) that are moist. Therefore the ingredients need to be baked immediately for the reaction to have its intended purpose. Baking soda can be substituted for baking powder but not the other way. That being said you can make baking powder with baking soda and cream of tartar. (2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda)

Baking Powder – there are two kinds, single acting and double acting Baking Powder. Most often recipes call for double acting. Single acting contains only low-temperature acid salts (the cream of tartar being a low temperature acid salt) where as the double acting has two acids one that reacts to low temperatures and one that reacts to higher temperatures to cause further rising during baking. This is why the cake rises while baking and it is important not to over fill the baking dish. I have definitely done that on numerous occasions.

Now I know it is annoying to throughout ingredients that have not all been used but check the expiration dates to make sure your baking soda or baking powder with still is not old. Here is how to test, baking soda should bubble when added to vinegar and baking powder should bubble when added to hot water.

Baking Soda outside of baking has numerous other useful uses here are just a few. Pretty handy to always have a box around

-Baking soda will also put out fires in clothing, fuel, wood, upholstery and rugs. More importantly in case of grease or electrical fire scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out.
- Place in a cup/ bowl in refrigerator to absorb odors.
- Sprinkle soda on barbecue grills, let soak, then rinse off. Perfect since the BBQ season is coming to an end. In general baking soda is a great cleaning agent- drain cleaner, silver polish, stainless steel, soft scrub (for the bathroom), and oven cleaner to name just a few.
-Apply soda directly to insect bites, rashes and poison ivy to relieve discomfort. Make a paste with water
-Grease and Oil Stains wash with Baking soda


  One Comment to “Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda and Different Uses”

  1. THANK YOU! This is what I needed. I always wondered what the difference was and why I couldn’t just substitute one for another.

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