Baking Powder – Baking Soda Essay

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Baking powder – baking soda What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Interesting question, Sister Beth. Baking soda and baking powder are both chemical leavening agents that cause batters to rise when baked. In fact, baking powder is a combination of baking soda plus a few other things that I’ll tell you more about later, but first let’s focus on baking soda. Baking soda is another name for sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 for you chemistry buffs out there). When mixed with an aqueous acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, buttermilk, citrus juice, chocolate, honey, vinegar, etc.) the resulting chemical reaction produces sodium (Na), water (H2O), and most importantly bubbles of carbon dioxide (CO2) that expand and cause your batter to rise. The tricky thing with baking soda is that production of CO2 happens immediately when mixed with the acid. So if your batter sits around for a while before you get it in the oven or you beat the batter too much, the leavening will be lost and your baked goods will come out looking like hockey pucks. Overcompensating by adding more baking soda will end in tears, too. If not enough acid is around to fully react with the baking soda, you’ll be left with bitter, soapy tasting baked goods. Unpleasant. Okay, baking powder. Baking powder also produces CO2 to help your batter rise, but how that happens is slightly different from the way baking soda works. Unlike baking soda, baking powder doesn’t need an additional acid to activate the sodium bicarbonate because it comes with its own - usually in the form of a dry acid salt such cream of tartar (KHC4H4HO6), sodium aluminum sulfate (Na2SO4 . Al2(SO4)2), and/or monocalcium phosphate (CaH4(PO4)2). Add a liquid (e.g., water, milk) and violà. If you really must know, baking powder also contains a dry starch to absorb any moisture in the air so the desired CO2-producing reaction

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