Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder


Main Difference

Although both baking soda and baking powder are considered as the most important ingredient in baking process but the fact is that both can’t be used as a substitute as both are chemically different form each other. The main difference between baking soda and baking powder is that baking soda or sodium bicarbonate/sodium hydrogen carbonate base is alkaline while baking powder is a mixture of carbonate or bicarbonate and its base is acid (slightly weak).

What is Baking Soda?

Baking sodium or sodium bicarbonate is a chemical substance that is present in a white solid that is crystalline. However it is also found in powder in addition to crystalline form. Its chemical formula is NaHCO3 (sodium bicarbonate or chemical nomenclature name – sodium hydrogen carbonate). Other name of baking soda is bicarbonate of soda, bread soda, cooking soda and nahcolite. Baking soda is largely used in as pest control (to kill cockroaches), paint and corrosion removal (sodablasting), pH balancer (to raise pH levels in pools, spas, and garden ponds), mild disinfectant (work as an effective fungicide against some organism),fire extinguisher (used to remove low level electrical fires), cooking (cakes, quick breads, fried foods, baked foods, and soda bread), neutralization of acids and bases, medical uses, personal hygiene, in sports, as a cleaning agent, as a cleaning agent, as a biopesticide, and as a cattle feed supplements.


What is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is a dry chemical raising agent and is mixture of bicarbonate and a weak acid. The main purpose of baking powder is to increase the structure or volume and lightening the texture of any baked food. It is mostly used as substitute of yeast for end-products where fermentation flavours would be undesirable. A five grams of teaspoon can raise a mixture of 125 gram if cup of flour, one cup of liquid and one egg. In any food or product, it works by emitting the carbon dioxide gas into a batter via acid-base reaction, generating bubbles in the wet mixture to expand the volume and thus raising the mixture. The reason behind the name of quick-breads is that, in quick breads, carbon dioxide is emitted at a faster rate via acid-base reaction as compared to fermentation.


Key Differences

  1. Chemically, baking soda is a pure chemical substance while baking powder is a mixture.
  2. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate/sodium hydrogen carbonate base is alkaline while baking powder is a mixture of carbonate or bicarbonate and its base is acid (slightly weak).
  3. Preservation period if baking soda is more than baking powder. If baking soda is stored sealed in a dry or cool space, it can last for years while baking powder can last for three month easily.
  4. To test the baking soda either it is useable or not, put two or three teaspoon in a bowl and pour some vinegar. If it make bubbles then it is still good for use. While in case of baking powder pour some water instead of vinegar. If it foams up then it is still good for use.
  5. Baking powder can be used as a substitute of baking soda by using more quantity to develop the taste but baking soda can’t be used as substitute of baking powder.

Comparison Video

YouTube video
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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