Baking Powder vs Baking Soda
Baking powder and baking soda have different chemical properties, which I won't discuss here. Both are leavening agents used for making foods more light, fluffy, and airy.
In general, baking powder = baking soda + stuff. Use less baking soda than baking powder. Be careful when measuring either unless you want your food to be soapy and inedible.
Here are 2 possible substitutions for 1 teaspoon of baking powder:
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Honestly, if you bake often, save yourself the hassle and buy both. Baking soda generally costs $1, and baking powder costs $2.
I'll end this post with an anecdote.
I gave my friend a pancake recipe, which specified "a bit of baking soda." I meant about 1/2 teaspoon. Unfortunately, he did not know what he was doing and ended up adding about a tablespoon. The pancakes tasted so gross, we threw them away.
Before I acquired measuring spoons, I always estimated "a bit of baking soda." Unlike my friend, I would err on the side of adding too little baking soda or baking powder. When I actually measured how much I was adding for a full batch of pancakes, it turned out to be only 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda. This did not have any major consequences.The pancakes just turned out flatter.
After these incidents, I got measuring spoons and made sure to measure out exactly the right amount of baking soda and baking powder. I tried making pancakes using the exact ingredients, but the pancakes still did not turn out sufficiently fluffy.
If this happens to you, check the age of your baking powder and baking soda. These leavening agents lose their potency after a few months. My hall has a huge 20 pound bag of baking soda that has been in the kitchen forever. I reserve this bag for cleaning, and I use a newer, smaller box for cooking.