What’s baking soda?
Baking soda and bicarb soda are the same thing.
In USA, bicarb soda is called baking soda.
What’s bicarb soda/bicarbonate of soda?
Bicarbonate of soda (otherwise known as bicarb soda) is a pure leavening agent.
It’s alkaline and commonly used in recipes that mix moisture and an acidic ingredient. Some acidic ingredients are lemon juice, buttermilk or chocolate. You need the bicarb soda to make batter rise. Remember to sift bicarb soda otherwise it leaves a tangy flavour if overused
What’s baking powder?
Baking powder is bicarb soda pre-mixed with a dry acidic ingredient – usually cream of tartar – to make the batter rise when you mix it with wet ingredients. It’s usually 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part bicarb. All you need to add is the moisture, which gives off carbon dioxide in order to aerate and lighten a mixture during baking.
Can I use bicarb soda instead of baking powder?
Bicarb soda has 3 to 4 times more power than baking powder, so if you need baking powder and only have bicarb soda on hand, you’ll have to increase the amount of acidic ingredients in your recipe to offset the power of the bicarb.
For example, if the recipe calls for a teaspoon of baking powder, substitute it with half a teaspoon of bicarb soda and then include an additional teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to offset the acidic components.
Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder by mixing 1 part bicarb soda with 2 parts cream of tartar, and then add the mixture as you would baking powder.
How to test if baking powder is still good
Put some baking powder in a small bowl and add some boiling water. If you see it foam up, it’s okay to use.
How to test if bicarb is still good
Drop a small amount into a mixing bowl and add a little vinegar or lemon juice to it. If it bubbles, it’s good to use.