Why is there both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe?

GREAT question, reader Vanessa. A lot of people wonder why some recipes call for both. If you consider that baking powder is really baking soda (combined with some tartaric acid and corn starch) the answer becomes a little clearer: sometimes you just need more “pop.” Adding a little baking powder to a recipe that already contains soda and an acid like buttermilk will provide it, since it’s a pre-made reaction in a jar. Why not just add more soda and buttermilk to your pancake batter? Simply because a small amount of soda needs a fairly large quantity of buttermilk to react with. Much more liquid in the recipe and your family will be eating crêpes for breakfast.

I’ll add that in many baking circles it’s dogma that acids and bases must always be perfectly balanced. Hogwash. It’s true that you don’t want a whole lot more baking soda in a fatty preparation like a cookie dough or a tea bread, but a little extra alkalinity will make either one appetizingly brown on the outside. Likewise extra acidity can be a boon to cake or muffin batters since acid helps the egg proteins set up faster. Why is that an advantage? Well, let’s say you have an idea for the ultimate cherry chocolate-chunk muffin, except your fruit and chocolate pieces keep sinking to the bottom of the muffin molds. Extra acid in the batter will increase the batter’s viscosity, holding the big inclusions in place until the muffins are fully baked.

84 thoughts on “Why is there both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe?”

  1. Ok….I think I get it….but does that mean if I take the baking powder and soda out of my choc chip recipe, I’ll get the nice, flat, non-cakey, more chewy cookies??

    I’ve noticed that some flours also have a bit of leavening in them….no more cakey cookies, please!!!

    1. You want at least a little leavening in there so the cookies don’t settle down into hard little disks. Leavening not only pushes things up, the holes it makes keeps baked goods tender and chewable.

  2. 1. I know that baking soda requires the presence of acidic ingredients in the batter/dough in order to react with, but why are there so many recipes that call for baking soda as a leavening agent even if there aren’t any acidic ingredients? I’m thinking of cookie doughs made entirely with white sugar, for instance. Curiously in my experience the baking soda still manages to leaven impressively! Why is that?
    2. Since baking soda leavens immediately, how come so many recipes recommend resting the dough/batter that contain (sometimes solely) baking soda? Wouldn’t this mean a substantial loss of leavening power?
    3. My experience is that baking soda produces a greater, more ‘spongy’ rise than the equivalent amount of baking powder (i.e. 1/4 baking soda VS 1 tsp baking powder). Am I deluding myself?
    4. Incidentally, I just made Beranbaum’s White Velvet Cake. It turned out quite coarse and dense. I looked at the recipe again, and realised that for 300g of flour there’s a staggering 4 tsps of baking powder. I think this is an example of over-leavening which caused the cake to sink after the initial rise? I realised that most of her other cakes in the Cake Bible are heavily leavened too.
    5. So many chocolate recipes call for baking soda since it reacts with the acidity in chocolate/cocoa well. However, this decrease in acidity also takes aways the acidic fruity overtones in chocolate that I love and makes it taste like, hm…, dull dutch-processed cocoa powder. I tried switching to baking powder to preserve the acidity of the chocolate, but the texture suffers (devil’s food cake is a case in point). Is salvation possible?
    6. What do you think of adding the leavening agent to the butter/sugar mixture right at the beginning of the creaming stage as opposed to adding it with the flour at the end? Do you reckon it will be better or worse so far as its distribution is concerned?
    Sorry for the long questions! Much appreciated~

    1. Hi Henry! Those are a lot of questions! Let’s see what I can do. While it’s true that acid is the most efficient way to generate CO2 from baking soda, soda will also react with water, especially when the mixture is heated. Soda (NaHCO3) and water react to create sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and carbonic acid (H2CO3). In the oven that carbonic acid will break down to water and CO2. So, even though acid gives you a faster, higher yielding reaction, you still get a good amount of “pop” with simply water and heat.

      Regarding resting, while you do lose some of the leavening power as a result of resting a baking soda batter, chemical leavening reactions are generally rather slow at room temperature. As the heat goes up the reaction speeds up. That’s why, unless you leave the soda-leavened batter to sit for hours and hours, you’ll still get some leavening action.

      Concerning the texture issue, if you’re using equivalent amounts of soda and baking powder you’re going to get a much more dramatic reaction from the baking soda since it’s about 4 times more powerful than baking powder (baking powder being made of a soda, acid and corn starch). So while there’s no difference in the reactions, the amount of CO2 that’s released is substantially greater, and that can indeed change the texture of what you’re making.

      Regarding the White Velvet, I’m surprised since RLB’s recipes are so thoroughly tested. I’ve never made that cake before, but I wonder if your oven might be running a bit hot? Concerning the acidic batter, what’s the texture difference? I presume it’s a bit coarser, but I need to know more. I suspect that it’s the early setting of the eggs that’s responsible for the difference. You could try moderating the acid a bit with a soda-baking powder combo to see if you can strike a balance you can live with.

      Lastly, I don’t recommend adding leavening to the creamed butter and sugar, simply because the soda or powder can clump in that situation…in which case you won’t get a very good dispersion and that could lead to uneven leavening.

      Whew!

  3. to use buttermilk powder in making a pancake mix, I was told it had to sit for 2 hours before using. That just won’t work…for a cup of flour, can I just increase the b.s. and b.p. from 1/2 t. to 1 t.?

    1. Hm. Never heard of that before. However you’re right that your baking soda reaction will be completely spent if you let it sit that long. I’d be tempted to simply go with an all baking powder formula (a teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour) and see what that does. The extra acidity from the buttermilk shouldn’t hurt anything, and might actually give you a taste and texture you like. Let me know how it goes! – Joe

  4. I think I love this website! ok, I am trying to re-create a specific chocolate chip cookie recipe from memory. I know it contained both baking powder & baking soda, but am unsure of the amounts. talking a basic 18-24 cookie recipe, would I be safe with 1 tsp BP & 1/2 tsp BS? thanks!

    1. Hey Susan! That sounds about right. Figure that soda is going to give you between three and four times as pop as baking powder. Best of luck with the recipe!

      – Joe

  5. hi Joe……….ok, I have another question. today I made a saffron & golden raisin breakfast bread. the recepe makes a heavy dough, but the middle did not bake through. If I would have continued baking, the outside would have been overdone. Do I need to knead the dough longer or is there another trick to it. Actually, the same thing happens with my cream cheese pound cake recipe; heavy batter & problems getting the middle completely done. Do I lower the temp & just cook longer in that instance?
    thanks so much for your time!

    1. Hi Susan!

      That’s certainly one solution. For this sort of chemically raised bread you’ll just need to fiddle with the time and temp until you get the end product you want. I’ll also say that sometime you get so much liquid in a quick bread batter that it can never be fully “done” in the sense that it’s firm int he middle. The batter will be baked, just water-logged. This tends to happen with very watery ingredients like bananas or in your case cream cheese (which is 50% water). If you can’t seem to get a firm middle, but back on the wet stuff!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  6. Great information! Never thought about the viscosity advantage of a more acidic batter. Thank you for sharing your research!

    1. Hi Katie!

      I’m happy to sure anything I can — researched or not! 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, please come back often.

      – Joe

  7. Hey Joe
    I have a bread that uses yeast. I wanted to know if I can use baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast.. I wanted to ship the dough raw and without keeping it frozen.. If I use yeast it proofs at room temp and I dont want that..

    1. Hey Greg!

      There’s really no substitute for yeast other than yeast. Using chemical leaveners would give you something on the order of soda bread, which not everyone likes..and even that will peter out over a period of days because it activates with moisture.. As far as I know there’s really no way to ship raw dough without it being frozen. Can you ship a mix, perhaps? It’s the best alternative I can think of.

      – Joe

  8. Hi 🙂 I am making a gluten/dairy free cake and it calls for only 1 tsp baking soda (contains 3 cups gluten free flour). How can I make it rise more? Could I add baking powder, if so how much? Thank you so much for you help 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole!

      That’s about the right amount of soda for that quantity of flour, actually. Soda is very powerful stuff. Much more than that and the cake will rise so much it’ll fall. What you need, I think, is something to catch more of the gas and steam, more of the gluten replacer in the recipe. What are you using now? Guar gum?

      – Joe

      1. Yes, guar gum. When I pour the cake into the pan, it does not rise one bit. So if I pour it at 1 inch high, it comes out at 1 inch high? Im not used to cooking with gluten, so this is very new to me.

  9. I was wondering how a six-week muffin mix will come out if you accidentally added 5 tsps of baking powder along with the same amt of baking soda?

  10. Wow this is an awesome sight, thank you for your expertise and advice!

    I have tried a vanilla cupcake recipe which calls for I cup sour cream but 1 tsp baking powder only.

    It turned out okay but a bit heavy and dense.
    I then tried it again with cake flour only and really whipped the butter sugar and eggs and did not overmix the flour but I still wasn’t satisfied and the finished product had some big holes inside from the bp reaction. Could this recipe be missing baking soda to give it the lightness softness and even texture it’s missing ? I have noticed some cake recipes combining both leavening agents and I was surprised this one only called for baking powder.

    Please advise?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hey Sara! Thanks for the question. It’s hard to know without seeing the recipe. How much flour is there in the recipe?

      Cheerio,

      – Joe

  11. Hi there!

    Thanks for acknowledging my message!

    Here is the recipe:
    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp AP flour
    1 cup + scant 1/3 cup cake flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    5 eggs, separated
    1 vanilla bean
    1 cup sour cream

    The egg whites are to be whipped and set aside
    Butter and sugar creamed, and then yolks combined
    Vanilla
    Dry ingredients alternated with sour cream
    Egg whites folded in at the end

    Hope this helps 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Sara!

      This does seem somewhat under-powered. The author probably added volume as you say, by incorporating egg white foam and using the creaming method in combination. That is a little odd though. To try it the one-bowl way, use 1 teaspoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoons baking soda and eliminate the whites completely. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and stir to combine them. The add the butter (softened) and stir until it’s all combined and even. Combine the yolks with about 1/4 of the sour cream and set that mixture aside. Add the rest of the sour cream to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 90 seconds. Scrape the sides and add the yolk mixture in three additions, beating for 20 seconds each and scraping well. Bake as usual. If it rises too high and falls, cut back the soda by 1/4 teaspoon.

      Let me know how that works, Sara!

      – Joe

  12. Thanks Joe, your method is very new to me I’ve never heard of the one bowl method 🙂
    So should I completely omit the whites?

    I got this recipe from Martha Stewart when Amy Berman from Vanilla Bakeshop was featured in her show, this is her recipe. But I didn’t believe she would give out her REAL recipe anyway!

    I’ll try this, thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Sara!

      I admire Martha Stewart mostly for her design sensibility, not so much for her recipe testing, which is pretty poor in my experience. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

      1. I agree with you!
        Actually this is Amy Berman’s recipe so I was surprised 🙂

        Will try it, thank you!

  13. Hi Joe,

    This didn’t really work out right, I dunno what wasn’t right but it was rather dense – was it because of the lack of whites?

    Can I try the usual creaming method with whole eggs but using 1 tsp of each baking soda and baking powder ?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hm. Keep after it, Sara. But change only one thing at a time. Maybe the whipped whites would be a good first step. Let me know how it goes!

      – Joe

  14. What do you think of this recipe? Usual creaming method

    1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
    1 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp baking soda *
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg, at room temperature
    2 large egg whites, at room temperature
    1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  15. hi Joe,
    just discovered this wonderful site. i have a question for you. how much baking powder should i use for a 1lbs cake.

    1. Hello Alwine! An easier way to the about baking powder is that you need 1 teaspoon to leaven each cup of flour in the batter. That’s the general rule anyway. Does that help?

      – Joe

  16. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the website.
    I want a well risen cup cake recipe. I have tried so many recipes but to no avail. I usually put 250g butter,250g sugar,250g flour,4 eggs,1 tsp baking powder but taste salty.please help. Thank you

  17. Hi Joe,

    I find your website very informative and helpful. I have a problem with my cookies turning out like cupcake-like texture and I cut down the baking soda in my second batch but still turns out a bit like cake than cookies. what can I do? below is the recipe :

    1 stick of butter
    1/4 brown sugar
    1/4 confectioner’s sugar
    1 tableappon ginger juice
    1tablespoon lemin zest
    1cup of all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon first batch )
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 cup chopped walnut
    1 cup oatmeal

    You said baking soda is neccessary if there is acidity in the batch. did I still put in too much? what if I don’t put soda at all? what will happen?

    Thanks so much!
    Brenda

    1. Hi Brenda!

      Interesting formula. It doesn’t look like there’s enough acid in the batter to react with all that soda, especially the first batch. Do they every taste off? Maybe a little soapy?

      My suggestion if you don’t like the fluff is absolutely to cut back the leavening. Try taking all the soda out and see how you like them. It won’t matter that the batter is a little acidic, and that small amount of baking powder might be just about perfect. Let me know!

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe,

        Third time is the charm! I cut out baking soda and only put 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. They came out just like cookies texture. Thanks a lot!

        I will move on to sour dough bread next.

        Cheers,
        Brenda

  18. can someone please tell me a website were i can find out why exactly they are they both added to recipes

  19. Hey Joe!

    I need a little help out here. . My chocolate cake recipe ingredients are:-

    2 cups sugar
    1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup boiling water

    Can I skip either the baking powder or the soda? Or is it really going to hamper the outcome?

  20. A quick question. .

    I have a convectional microwave. . How do I bake two cake pans together? I mean, how do I place them?

    1. Very interesting!

      How long does it take to bake a layer? If it’s only 15-20 minutes or you can bake them separately with no ill effects.

      – Joe

  21. Hi, my chocolate cake recipe requires baking powder and baking soda. I ran out of baking soda. Is it ok if i just use baking powder? No time to run to the store. Do i have to add more baking powder in lieu of baking soda? Thank you

    1. Hi Ann! You can make the substitution, just remember that baking soda is between three and four times as powerful as baking powder. So if the recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, you’ll need a scant 2 teaspoons of baking powder to replace it. More like 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder. Make sense?

      – Joe

  22. I have a carrot/apple/banana muffin mix and I think the author of the recipe made a mistake. They said to put in 1/1/2 teaspoons of soda and 1 teaspoon of soda.

    Shouldn’t it be maybe 1/1/2 t of baking powder and 1 t baking soda instead? That is what I put in and they are baking right now. Don’t know which I should have used. Please let me know for future baking.
    thanks

    1. Hi Donna!

      I think you made the right move. 1 1/2 teaspoons of soda is equal to about 6 teaspoons of baking powder. That would be a whole lot. 1 teaspoon of soda is still a lot but seems more reasonable! How did they turn out?

      – Joe

  23. i made several batch of chocolate chip cookies using “Alton Brown-The Chewy” cookies recipe and it always turned out great. but when i want to make it’s chocolate version, i made a little change by decrease the bread flour amount of 2 tbs for 4 tbs black cocoa powder. the other is just exactly the same. in my surprise, my cookies came out too puffy and cake like in texture instead of chewy.
    Joe, can you help me in this case? should i add more baking soda? or the amount of cocoa i used is just too much?

    need your advise soon..

    1. Hey Lisa!

      The thing about cocoa powder is, it’s extremely absorbent. What’s happening is that the cocoa is binding up moisture and drying the batter so you’re not getting the spread you’d normally get. Try adding some extra egg to the batter. That should do the trick!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

      1. hi Joe,

        can I substitute the moisture in the dough with some tbs of milk instead of egg? if yes, how much milk can you suggest for a recipe?

        Thanks…

        1. Hello Lisa!

          Yes you can do that if you prefer. I’d add maybe 3 tablespoons and see how that works.

          Cheers,

          – Joe

  24. Hi Joe
    I’ve been having this problem for ever. I use natural cocoa powder in all my chocolate recipes but I can’t grasp the concept of baking powder and baking soda! if my recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda should I use one more than the other? or can I just kill the baking powder and just use baking soda, In past experience I used same amount of both leavening and it was a mess in my oven it overfloded so I don’t know what to do! and what if a side from cocoa powder it call for buttermilk.
    I need help urgently!! any adive for red velvet cakes don’t have dutch process so can I just use baking soda?

    1. Hi Andy!

      Yes it sounds like there’s too much leavening going on for sure. The concept of leavening is no more complicated than this: baking soda + acid = bubbles.

      Baking soda is about four times as powerful than baking powder (which is a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch). The main reaction in the recipe is the baking soda with the acid the batter contains (buttermilk and/or cocoa powder). The extra baking powder is there to provide extra lift if it’s needed. To cut down on the reaction simply take away some or all of the baking powder. Odd though that the reaction would be so explosive. Are you at a high altitude?

      Let me know!

      – Joe

  25. Hi Joe,
    I’ve been baking pound cakes successfully for years, and recently started baking one with fresh peaches. The first few batches were great, but recently the results have been inconsistent, meaning that In some batches the cakes rise too fast and then sink. Could the issue be the acidity of the peaches and the ratio of baking soda and baking powder?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Pat!

      Very interesting. It sounds like too much leavening for sure, as to what’s causing it, that’s a bit of a puzzle. Extra acidity in the fruit shouldn’t matter that much, though it may cause a faster reaction in the baking soda. Tell me…is there any chance you let the failed batches sit out for a while before you put them in the oven? I wonder if the soda reaction might have gone off early, before the batter had a chance to heat and set. Any possibility of that do you think?

      – Joe

  26. Hello!
    I made this zucchini bread recipe yesterday. The bread is indeed moist and dark, but it didn’t rise. I’m wondering if the leavening agents are properly proportioned. I don’t think it’s my oven temp, or old ingredients because I bake frequently and haven’t had this problem. Thanks!

    Ingredients:

    Yield:
    2 loaves Units: US | Metric
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup molasses
    1 c. brown sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 c. wheat flour
    1 c. white flour
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    2 cups finely grated zucchini, drained and packed
    1 cup walnuts

    Baked at 350 deg for around 1 hour until the toothpick was clean.

    Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

    1. Hi Susan!

      These proportions look fair enough, though I have to say that there’s not much in here that would create much structure. You need gluten to trap and hold gas bubbles, and there’s only one cup of white flour. Everything else from the bran in the whest flour to the zucchini, molasses and sugar would undercut that rise. My suggestion is to go over to all white flour. I think that will help! Let me know how it goes,

      – Joe

      1. Thanks, Joe! I did switch to all white flour and did get more rise. I always back one standard size loaf and 2 half size loaves (that I remove from the oven earlier). My little loaves rose quite a bit and my standard loaf rose a little – but they all looked much better. I appreciate your helpful comments!
        Susan

  27. Hi. Your website is very interesting to read. Very informative. Im still confuse on the amount of baking soda. The rule is 1/4 per 1 cup. But why is that sometimes i saw recipes using 2 cups flour but uses more than 1/2 tsp baking soda. Does is also depends on the amount of acid from ingredients, if so, how much is the enough acid the batter needs for me to decide if i should add more baking soda. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hello Celeste and thank you for the kind words!

      That’s a very difficult question to answer since some types of recipes use more leavening than others. The rule I quoted is just a “rule of thumb” we say. For example, American biscuits use more leavening than average because much of the CO2 escapes out the sides of the biscuits as they rise. There are any number of cake and bar recipes that behave in the same way. Each has different needs.

      All I can say is that every recipe with baking soda will contain acid from some source such as buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice or something like that. The acid and soda do not need to be perfectly balanced for the recipe to work. However it’s better to have extra acid than extra alkaline in almost every instance. Extra acid generally does not hurt anything, and in fact can be quite helpful.

      Does this answer your question more or less? If not get back to me!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  28. When making zucchini bread with pineapple, & coconut the recipe calls for 2 c flour, 2 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp baking powder . It was very good, but it doesn’t really raise. Is this normal ?

    1. Hi Rose!

      The Splenda was the key detail. That was very likely the problem. If the directions called for creaming the butter and sugar at the beginning of the process then that’s it, as the creaming step is where a lot of the rise comes from. Splenda just doesn’t do as well in that department. Their website might have some Splenda-specific tea bread recipes for you however. I might be work a check!

      Better luck the next time, Rose! Cheers,

      – Joe

  29. Your answers to the baking soda, baking powder dilema are quite informative and highly appreciated. I have 2 questions that you have’nt addressed, hoping you can help. have a cake reciepe that creams 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup butter, then 3 egg yolks, 2 cups (sifted) flour, spices, and 1 tsp baking powder. Then 5 tbls sour milk and 1/2 cup of soda water (1 tsp), fold in beaten egg whites. I am not sure the sequence is correct (?) and can’t figure out why this works well at 5000ft and above but not at lower elevations – almost no rising or outgasses before finished cooking. Any ideas, especially to adjust to lower elevations?

  30. I could read these questions and answers all day, but here is what happened to me. I tried a new cornbread recipe, made what I assumed to be a fatal mistake…more soda than it called for, but, in my estimation it was perfect, the rise, the crumb, the moistness. Next time, I got the measurements right, put the salt, soda bp and sugar into a small cup and prepared everything in the wee hours, for baking later. Upon combining the cup each of flour and corn meal, with 2 eggs, cup of buttermilk and 1/4 cup melted (bacon grease) I poured the mix in the greased preheated iron skillet and set it in the oven to cook. I turned around and OH NO, there was the small cup of leavening agents. I pulled the hot skillet from the oven, used a spatula to rake the batter back into the bowl, stirred in the missing parts, and back into the oven to bake. Surprisingly it turned out very well.

    This recipe calls for 1/4 tsp soda, 2 T baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 2 T of sugar. The first time I put in 1 tsp soda, everything else was correct.

    Why does a buttermilk cornbread recipe have both bp and soda and do the amounts of leavening sound right to you for the mesures of flour, meal and buttermilk? Or would you change either or both?

    Why did the 2nd batch turn out just about the same using 1/4 tsp soda.

    Would either soda or bp affect the crumb or dryness or lightness of this recipe.

    Thank you, I am really looking forward to hearing your expert reply.

    1. Hi Glenda!

      That’s interesting. I’ll say that it seems like an awful lot of leavening for a recipe with 2 cups of flour, but if it works, it works!

      The reason this recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda is because a.) any recipe with cornbread needs a lot of leavening and b.) buttermilk is acidic, so adding soda will deliver a nice reaction. Clearly not enough of a reaction to raise the bread to the recipe writer’s liking. That’s the reason for all the baking powder. It’s a ready-made reaction that’s not dependent on any acid in the mixture. Does that make sense?

      Typically cornbread recipes need a lot of leavening. The reason: because corn has no gluten. In wheat flour doughs and batter the gluten creates elastic bubbles that trap and hold CO2 gas and steam. As they expand, the bread rises. Since corn doesn’t have gluten it needs a lot of oomph underneath it to push it up…because most of the CO2 from the reaction escapes in the oven. You know those fan-driven nylon-tube dancing men you see in front of car dealerships? It’s the same principle. All the air that goes in the bottom blows out the top, but in the meantime the man stands up and dances around. This is why the precise amount of leavening in corn bread doesn’t matter all that much…you just need a lot to keep it standing until the eggs in the batter firm up…and the rest simply escapes.

      This is why the extra soda didn’t make a difference in the recipe. And it would not have effected the moisture or tenderness of the crumb. Thanks for a great question, Glenda!

  31. Hi Joe! I have a question for everybody… I have two recipes that call for both b. soda and b. powder. My problem is that I make these recipes to sell, and I live in a country where I can’t find large amounts of b. soda. Since my recipes call for both, can I simply not use the soda and increase the powder without affecting the taste of my product too badly? I hope you can help me since I add a little to my income with these baked goods. Oh, incase it helps at all, the recipes I’m working with are Pumkin, and Banana Breads. Thanks so much!

    1. Hell Natalia!

      You should not have a problem substituting baking powder for the soda. You’ll have to experiment a little since it takes 3-5 times as much baking powder to equal the performance of soda. Overall you’ll want to be aware of how much acid there is in the recipe. Formulas that call for soda usually have things like buttermilk and lemon juice in them. These react with the soda to cause a rise.

      You can eliminate extra acid by simply replacing buttermilk with regular milk, or lemon juice with water or milk. Most of the time extra acid in a recipe isn’t an issue. In a few instances it might make a cake too tender or too tangy, so you’ll have to judge for yourself what substitutions you’ll want to make. Get back to me with any specific questions!

      Cheers and best of luck with your business!

      – Joe

  32. Hi Joe,

    Needed to know if i could use baking soda to a cake recipe that calls for 1 tsp of baking powder.
    The recipe has 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup milk. Would the cake get more moist and fluffy if i add the baking soda.

    1. Hi Queenie!

      You can use baking soda, but remember that baking soda is 4 times as powerful as baking powder. Use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and substitute something acidic like buttermilk for the regular milk, otherwise you won’t get a reaction. Let me know how it goes!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  33. I made a batch of cupcakes that were disappointingly flat. I want to modify the recipe to include baking soda to get more rise.

    There’s only 1 cup of flour in recipe and 1 tsp. baking powder. Can I swap out the 1/2 cup of whole milk with an equal amount of buttermilk or sour cream and add 1/4 tsp of baking soda? Would either of those add a noticeably tangy flavor to cupcakes? ( They’re peanut butter.)

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Virginia!

      Interesting. That should be plenty of upward push to raise those cupcakes. Adding that much soda would amount to doubling the leavening. How much peanut butter is in those suckers?

      – Joe

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