Baking soda is on almost every list of baking ingredients. It is a mysterious and volatile white powder. Many people have no clue how it is made and only a few know it can be mined directly from the earth. You probably still have the packet you bought from a decade ago because recipes only need a tiny amount of it. Given the interesting nature of this product, you won’t be blamed for thinking that finding a baking soda substitute is impossible. In fact, making a replacement for baking soda is easy and you can prepare it with products that are already in your kitchen.
What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
These two have a lot in common. They contain more or less the same ingredients. They are both used to make baked goods rise and can substitute each other whenever necessary. Baking soda is preferred when it comes to baking because it contains substances that the powder does not. When it is combined with other ingredients and heated, it allows carbon dioxide in the batter to escape through very small bubbles. When carbon dioxide leaves your batter, it rises and makes whatever you are baking much lighter in texture and more delicious. Baked goods with lighter texture also look great, which is why baking soda is the baker’s best friend.
Baking soda’s pH level is alkaline. In order to release carbon dioxide, it needs to be mixed with an acidic ingredient like buttermilk. Whatever you substitute for baking soda should have a similar alkaline content, but you should also make sure your buttermilk substitute is acidic to achieve maximum results. The carbon dioxide is released but never makes it out of batter. It is trapped inside it and because of this the batter is forced to rise.
The good news is that if you ever find yourself out of soda, baking powder makes a great baking soda substitute. You need to double and in other cases triple the amount of baking powder in recipes for it to have the same effects of baking soda.
When do you need baking soda?
This might sound like a silly question with an obvious answer but baking soda is not always used in baking cakes, muffins, cupcakes and other treats. Many people use it as a meat tenderizer while others find it to be an effective cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.
How to make your own baking soda substitute?
You cannot just replace baking soda with a double portion of baking powder and end it there. A good baking soda substitute should be alkaline but contain a little bit of acid as well. The simplest recipe for a substitute involves combining baking powder with cream of tartar. No matter how much of it you need, you should always mix one part of baking powder with two parts of cream of tartar. You’re free to add a teaspoon of corn starch which can prevent baking powder from reacting prematurely.