Baking soda and baking powder can be easily confused. They have a similar function and name but work differently. Both are used to add air to mixtures, usually bread dough and cake mix. They are leaveners.
The key difference is baking soda ( sometimes known as bicarbonate of soda ) needs an acid to work, and baking powder needs heat and moisture to be activated.
Baking Powder – contains sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar ( an acid ).
Baking Soda – contains just bicarbonate of soda.
You can see that baking powder has an inbuilt acid, so it’s ready to work immediately.
Mixtures that use baking soda are usually those that are used straight away, for example, pancake mix, as the baking soda starts to work as soon as the acid is added.
The reaction between baking soda and vinegar is often used for science experiments as it instantly makes bubbles which froth up.
Last Updated on September 25, 2023 by Emma Vanstone