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Just like many of you, even I was clueless about the answer to this common query. And if you are a cook, you might have always wondered if you can use baking powder instead of baking soda and vice versa. So this time when this question ticked my mind, I thought of getting it answered from an expert rather than search online and be more confused. If you are also trying to find the difference between baking soda and baking powder, then read what Dr Swati Dave, nutritionist and dietician, Ahmedabad has to say about it.
How is baking soda and baking powder different? Although most people use baking powder and baking soda as leavening agents for baking, chemically both are different. Baking soda is an alkaline compound that reacts when you mix an acidic compound with it. For example, if you add an acidic compound like vinegar, buttermilk, lemon juice or yoghurt along with baking soda it causes carbon dioxide to form, which creates the leavening effect in the dough or batter. Whereas, baking powder is a mixture that has baking soda along with other acidic ingredients, which keeps it dry and separate. The currently available baking powders are double-acting ones, meaning leavening occurs twice, once when you add water and the next time when you heat the dough. Also read about why adding baking soda is a cooking mistake.
Can you use baking powder in place of baking soda? Yes, you can use baking powder instead of baking soda and vice versa. However, the quantities might differ. For example, to replace baking soda with baking powder, you need to add three times the mentioned amount of baking powder to the recipe. If a recipe specifies using a teaspoon of baking soda, but you don't have one and are planning to replace it with baking powder, then you have to add three teaspoons to get the desired effect. To replace baking powder with baking soda, you have to cut down on the quantity of baking soda and also add acidic compound for the leavening effect. So if a recipe suggests using a tablespoon of baking powder, then you can use a teaspoon of baking soda along with two teaspoons of lemon juice or other acidic compounds to the batter. Did you know these 4 beauty benefits of baking soda?
Should you use baking soda or baking powder? Dr Swati Dave says that it is better to go natural than using baking soda or baking powder. It is mostly used to prepare idlis, dhoklas and cakes. So instead of using baking soda or powder, allow the ingredients to ferment, which gives it a natural leavening properly. To cook idli, soak urad dal and rice overnight, grind and then rest it for few hours for steaming idlis. It is wise to restore to the traditional, Indian-style of cooking, which is all natural. For cake and confectioneries, you can use butter and cream to make it soft than opting baking soda or powder. If eating out, then practice portion control as it is loaded with baking soda or powder.
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