YOU wouldn’t be alone in thinking that baking powder, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are just three different names used to describe the exact same thing.
And although you’ve probably used one, or all three, of them at some point, they are actually entirely different and are used in different ways around the kitchen and home.
Here we explain the difference between the common baking powders and how each should be used.
What is bicarbonate of soda?
Bicarbonate of soda is the most necessary out of the baking substance family.
The vital white powder is also known as Sodium bicarbonate and is a mixture of sodium and hydrogen carbonate.
How to use it?
Its main use is for baking and it’s alkaline with a bitter taste. It’s most commonly used for baking cakes or soda bread.
According to BBC Good Food, when it is mixed with acid (such as milk) it creates carbon dioxide – which causes the mixture to expand before it’s replaced with air, resulting in light and fluffy baked goods.
But it’s also a super-effective but gentle abrasive and a great natural deodorise, making it a great natural cleaner.
It can be used to clean dirty mattresses, polished tarnished jewellery, and it even works to get the kitchen sink sparkling too.
What is baking powder ?
Although it is similar, baking powder is made up of numerous elements – one of these is sodium bicarbonate, above.
Unlike sodium bicarbonate which requires an acid and a liquid to become activated, baking powder only needs a liquid.
How to use it?
As the name suggests, baking powder is used in the kitchen for various recipes.
It’s used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods, and is made up of cream of tartar plus a filler like cornflour or rice flour which absorbs moisture.
Because baking powder already has an acid with it, it’s pretty much a pre-packaged version of sodium bicarbonate – so generally you need only add water to it for the same reaction.
While it is used for similar foods as sodium bicarbonate, some people have other uses for it too.
Beauty fans can use it to make their own dry shampoo, as well as using it to fake a sun-kissed look with a nose contour.
What is baking soda?
Although we said the common baking powders were all different, baking soda is just another name for sodium bicarbonate – so you were right on that one.
The name makes it very obvious what it’s used for, so all bakers should have it in their cupboard.
How to use it?
Just like sodium bicarbonate, it’s a common rising agent used in a lot of food – particularly baked goods.
But it has many uses around the rest of the home too.
Although it might sound strange at first, it also proves effective in whitening stained teeth and freshening your breath .
After all, many toothpaste products do list is as a main ingredient.
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