Anyone is quite familiar with baking soda which is used mainly for baking purposes. However, many may not know that baking soda has other different names. These are bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is often used in recipes that contain acidic ingredients, such as, sour cream yoghurt, butter milk, vinegar, honey, molasses etc. If you need your baking item to "rise", you have to use baking soda. This process occurs when combined moisture and the acidic ingredient in your baking product cause a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide bubbles. These bubbles are responsible for literally "pushing up" your batter to give the raise and expansion in the baked product. This happens under proper oven temperatures. There are very few substitutes for baking soda. You must make note that these substitutes may cause your product to differ in taste and texture. However, if, for some reason, you are unable to find baking soda, there are two methods of substitution.
Substituting Baking Soda with Baking Powder
Baking soda can be substituted with baking powder. As with baking soda, baking powder is also a leavening agent. This means, if you add baking powder instead of baking soda to your product, the chemical reaction will cause the product to "rise". Baking powder does contain baking soda and also contains an acidifying agent, as well as, a drying agent. Baking powder comes in two ways. These are single-acting and double-acting baking powder. Most baking powder, today, is double-acting which means it reacts in two ways. The first reaction is when the powder is added to the dough before baking. This releases a gas at room temperature. The second reaction occurs in the oven when the temperature rises. If you are substituting ½ tsp. of baking soda with baking powder, you should do so with 2 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder. When doing so, you should also substitute the acidic liquids in the recipe with non-acidic ones. Baking powder is best with pancakes, cakes and cookies.
Substituting Baking Soda with Potassium Bicarbonate
If you are baking cookies, you can try substituting baking soda with potassium bicarbonate. This is often recommended for people with sodium intake problems. Potassium bicarbonate contains the same properties as baking soda, but no sodium. This ingredient may not be easily available at the grocery store. However, you may be able to purchase it at the drugstore. If you were baking cookies, you can substitute 3 tsps. of potassium bicarbonate, instead of 3 tsps. of baking soda. If you are worried about your salt intake, do not add salt. If not, you can add 1 tsp. of salt to your mixture.
You can also try substituting other ingredients for baking soda. However, these may not work as well as baking powder or potassium bicarbonate. For example, you can beat and whisk air into eggs if making pancakes, or use self-rising flour and beer to make beer pancakes. Keep in mind that you should experiment with these in small quantities. This way, if it does not work, you may not feel so bad. Whatever ingredient you use, using it in the right quantities can provide you with baked goods that taste good and have a soft and airy texture.