Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder – What’s the Difference?

Let’s get nerdy! I love sharing new recipes with you, but I want to start diving more into the food science of food too. When a recipe calls for baking soda or baking powder, what is their purpose? What’s the difference between the two?
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Let’s answer the first question: Is there a difference between baking soda and baking powder? YES!
My friend, who is an 8th-grade science teacher, says “Obviously, there is a difference. When you add baking soda to vinegar, it makes cool science volcanos and the other doesn’t.”
Welp, that’s all you need to know. Blog post over. Just kidding, there is so much more to learn! Baking soda and baking powder do have a lot in common, as they are both chemical leaveners, meaning they generate gas during the making and baking of a batter.
Some recipes may call for one or the other, or both, but just make sure you don’t confuse the two because they do have distinct differences.
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking

Baking Soda:

Baking soda contains a single ingredient, sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with something acidic (think buttermilk, yogurt, citrus juice, vinegar, etc.), it produces carbon dioxide. This creates little bubbles that helps give rise to baked goods.
I know you might be thinking, I’ll just add more to get a better rise in my baked goods. Think again. Be careful not to add too much! When sodium bicarbonate is heated it produces sodium carbonate, which produced a metallic taste. No one wants a metallic tasting muffin. That metallic taste can be neutralized by the acid that is used in the recipe, while still giving our baked goods a pretty good rise.

Did you know?

You can also use baking soda to create homemade cleaners to freshen and clean up tough stains in your home. Learn ways you can use baking soda for cleaning purposes.
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Baking Powder:

Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and dry acid (plus, sometimes cornstarch). Yup, baking soda is one of the main ingredients in your baking powder. The acid that is typically used is cream of tartar. Cornstarch is often added in to keep the ingredients separate and dry.
The balance of acid (cream of tartar) and base (baking soda) is already balanced for you, so there will be no metallic aftertaste even if you go a little heavy handed with baking powder.
Baking powder only needs a liquid or moisture for a reaction to occur (no acid necessary). With baking powder, the chemical reaction that helps the product rise happens when the product is slowly heated. Baking powder allows for more flexibility because you can let the batter or dough sit for a little while before baking and still get the rise you’re after.
You might see some baking powders at the grocery store that say “double acting”. This means that a small amount of carbon dioxide is released and that some leavening occurs (bubbles) when the baking powder gets wet from wet ingredients, but the rest of the leavening occurs when the baked good is heated.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder - What's the difference via RDelicious Kitchen @RD_Kitchen #cooking #cookingtips #foodscience #science #baking

The bottom line:

To help you easily remember the difference between baking soda and baking powder, remember: Baking soda needs an acid.  Baking powder has an acid.

Baking soda = single ingredient.

Baking powder = poof in the oven.

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Guide to Herb & Spice Food Pairings

I’m sure you have a pantry full of herbs and spices. Not sure what to do with them? No problem! Use this handy guide to know what foods your herbs and spices pair best with.
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Before we start talking about what to pair your herbs and spices with, let’s make sure you are storing them properly first.

Herb and Spice Storage Tips:

  • Keep spices and herbs away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Even a commonly used herb like dried bay leaves should be kept away from the stove.
  • Don’t sprinkle spices and herbs directly from the bottle over a steaming pot. Steam can sneak into the spice bottle and sap your spices’ power. If you’re wondering why ground spices like allspice get hard and caked in the bottle, steam may be the culprit.
  • They don’t spoil, but spices and herbs do lose their strength. Old and weak seasonings will not deliver the taste that they should.
  • Make sure your measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the bottle. The moisture can quickly ruin the flavor of an aromatic spice like cinnamon.
  • An inexpensive coffee grinder can also be deployed to grind whole seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Fresh-ground spices are especially flavorful.

If the recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you only have dried on hand, don’t worry. Just remember the ratio, 1 to 3. Because dried herbs have a more intense concentrated flavor, dried herbs can be substituted for fresh herbs at a ratio of 1 to 3.
Use the food pairings guide below to help utilize the herbs and spices in your kitchen pantry. Pin to save for a reference!
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Let’s get cooking!
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Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

This Broccoli Cauliflower Salad is light and refreshing, being a perfect addition to your spring menu.

Broccoli cauliflower salad with red onions and almonds in a white bowl

Now that the weather is finally warming up here in NJ, my cooking methods start to shift. Roasting is one of my favorite cooking methods for vegetables, but as the weather warms I begin to not use my oven as frequently.

cold broccoli and cauliflower salad with red onions

All winter long I’ve been on a roasted broccoli kick. Broccoli was on my shopping list every week. I am surprised I didn’t get sick of it after a while. This time when I grabbed the broccoli from the fridge, I knew I wanted to do something different.

Instead of roasting this head of broccoli, this time I steamed it. Steaming was never my favorite until I figured out how to perfectly steam broccoli to my liking. Before steamed veggies would always be a little blah and mushy. I like a good crunch to them. Now I gently steam them, then shock them to keep their crisp.

broccoli cauliflower salad in a white bowl

Culinary term: Shocking

“Shocking” is a culinary term that refers to a rapid change in temperature, usually caused by plunging the food into an ice bath.  It’s most often used with veggies that are being steamed or boiled.

Oh, don’t forget about the cauliflower. I steamed and shocked that too to keep some crunchy texture to those florets too. This salad is so refreshing and a perfect addition to your spring menu.

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Broccoli Cauliflower Salad in a white bowl

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Broccoli Cauliflower Salad is light and refreshing, being a perfect addition to your spring menu.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 red onion (small), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, steam cauliflower and broccoli in a steamer basket for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pot and plunge in an ice bath or run under cold water (to stop the cooking process). Drain well and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add red onion, almonds, and feta cheese to the broccoli and cauliflower. Toss together with the dressing.

Notes

Don’t love raw red onions? Try adding pickled onions instead!

Keywords: salad, broccoli, cauliflower, side dish, fresh

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