Baking Powder v. Baking Soda

I learned something new today. Wikipedia helped.

I mean, I always knew that baking powder was related to baking soda, just not how.

Long-short, baking soda is the basic version, and baking powder is the “neutral tasting” mixture of baking soda and acidic powders with a starch filler.

So, why is this interesting? Ever seen those “make your own soda pop” kits? They always boil down to some kind of bottle, a tube and a cap for the juice or what-ev’s you want to carbonate. To get the bubbles into the juice, you mix an acidic liquid (a la vinegar or lemon juice) with (can you guess?) baking soda.

So, fun, baking soda makes bubbles, and that’s kind of interesting, but why post it here? Because baking soda makes bubbles. In stuff. Like bread.

For baking soda to make the bready bubbles, it needs to (1) be mixed with something acidic – from buttermilk to vinegar to lemon juice – and (2) get cooked pretty quickly after mixing.

Some take-aways:


  • Baking powder is baking soda plus the stuff it needs to react with to make bready bubbles
  • Baking soda is bitter, bitter & (IMHO) needs to be sweetened
  • If you are having problems getting your quick bread to rise, try switching the baking powder out for a 2:1 ratio of cream of tarter to baking soda (and maybe a tablespoon of honey for taste) – and don’t let your bread stand before putting it in the oven!