newbie2 Registered User
#1

Whats the difference between Baking Soda/Bicarbonate Soda/Baking Powder?

The wife has a few recipes off the interweb and a lot of them refer to Baking Soda - which I couldn't find in Superquinn. Is it an American term or am I an idiot for not knowing this basic question?

Thanks

Alun Registered User
#2

Baking Soda and Bicarbonate of Soda are the same thing, Sodium Bicarbonate or NaHCO3. Baking Powder is Baking Soda plus other ingredients (acid salts) that, when mixed with water, react with the Baking Soda to make CO2 that acts as rising agent.

muckety Registered User
#3

Good question (and answer) - I understand that Baking powder acts as a raising agent, does Bicarb of Soda do the same or what is the purpose of it in recipies?

Alun Registered User
#4

muckety said:
Good question (and answer) - I understand that Baking powder acts as a raising agent, does Bicarb of Soda do the same or what is the purpose of it in recipies?

Basically, plain bicarbonate of soda reacts with other weakly acid ingredients in the recipe, such as buttermilk in scone and soda bread recipes, to do the same thing, i.e. act as a raising agent.

You also see recipes for things like soda bread or scones that specify using baking powder instead of bicarb, or that specify a mix of bicarb and cream of tartar, which is one of the ingredients of commercial baking powder. I don't know the reasons for using the one over the other, I'm afraid, maybe it's just a belts and braces approach in case the buttermilk or whatever isn't acidic enough to cause enough rising.

the beer revolu Registered User
#5

Alun said:
Basically, plain bicarbonate of soda reacts with other weakly acid ingredients in the recipe, such as buttermilk in scone and soda bread recipes, to do the same thing, i.e. act as a raising agent.

You also see recipes for things like soda bread or scones that specify using baking powder instead of bicarb, or that specify a mix of bicarb and cream of tartar, which is one of the ingredients of commercial baking powder. I don't know the reasons for using the one over the other, I'm afraid, maybe it's just a belts and braces approach in case the buttermilk or whatever isn't acidic enough to cause enough rising.


You're spot on there.
Was in DIT bakery school the other day.
For soda bread, they use bicarbonate of soda (bread soda) mixed with cream of tartar. The reasoning being that the butter milk hasn't enough acid to react with and use up the bread soda. Without the cream of tartar, the bread tastes and smells of bread soda. The cream of tartar adds acid to the mix hence using up the bread soda fully and rising the bread.

It's a fantastic school where they teach artisan bakery (without nasty additives) rather than industrial bakery.
Maybe in the future, we'll have more bakers making decent bread!!

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Possum66 Registered User
#6

Alun said:
or that specify a mix of bicarb and cream of tartar, which is one of the ingredients of commercial baking powder. I don't know the reasons for using the one over the other,


My experience is, that if you make the scones with baking powder, you have to use a lot, and it has a nasty aftertaste. So for scones a mix of bread soda and cream of tartar is the best.

Magic Monkey Registered User
#7

You can also switch to using aluminum-free baking powder to prevent the bad aftertaste when you use a lot

rubadub Registered User
#8

Could you just use baking soda and lemon juice as the acid? I would not mind lemony scones.

europhile Registered User
#9

Possum66 said:
My experience is, that if you make the scones with baking powder, you have to use a lot, and it has a nasty aftertaste. So for scones a mix of bread soda and cream of tartar is the best.


I thought you mixed cream of tartar with bread soda and the end product was baking powder.

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