OK, so I found these two questions, which kind of helped me:

Baking powder and baking soda?

For what is baking soda used in cooking?

But I still have a query... I was making blueberry muffins yesterday and realised just before putting them in the oven to cook, that I had accidentally used 2 teaspoons of baking soda instead of baking powder. So I scratched my head a bit! And then decided to sprinkle a pinch of baking powder onto each one and mix it into the batter. But then I was worried this wouldn't work, and the batter did taste a little 'odd'. And so, not wanting to waste a rather pricey batch of blueberries, I tipped all the muffin cases into a sieve and washed all the blueberries off, before making the entire recipe again, but with the correct ingredients! And they are now very yummy!

So my question is, did I need to do this? Hypothetical now as the muffins are made, but I just wondered....

What would the muffins have been like with baking soda in? And what effect would adding the extra baking powder have had? Would having 2 tsps of both have been disastrous?

asked 24 Mar '10, 15:24

Ikkle%20Becca's gravatar image

Ikkle Becca
accept rate: 22%


Good thing you realized your mistake. I ruined a whole batch of muffins once when I didn't realize that I had done the same thing until I tasted them. Yuck! Disgusting. I think they were blueberry, also.

(25 Mar '10, 19:52) Elizra

@Elizra - Ooh, so that confirms I was probably right to wash and start again! Thanks! :)

(25 Mar '10, 20:53) Ikkle Becca

No question, washing off was the safe thing to do!

(25 Mar '10, 23:34) klypos ♦♦

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When heated, it gives off carbon dioxide and becomes sodium carbonate, which is washing soda.

Because the sodium carbonate can give baking an unwanted bitter aftertaste, baking powders were formulated. These are mixtures of sodium bicarbonate with other chemicals (usually pyrophosphates) which neutralise the sodium carbonate as it forms.

Thus baking powder works to reduce the undesirable bitter taste. Many people always use it instead of baking soda. You need to use twice as much baking powder as a specified quantity of baking soda - then you get the right amount of carbon dioxide.

Conversely, you need to use half the specified quantity of baking powder when substituting it with baking soda.

So, to answer your questions -

You had double the amount of leavening in the mix to start with when you added the baking soda instead of baking powder. That mixture would probably have given an edible product - this is cookery, not a lab preparation. Maybe not as good as usual, but edible.

Sprinkling with baking powder was a mistake. If it is not mixed in properly, baking powder tastes unpleasant - those cakes would have been "cement frosted".

If you add too much baking soda to cake mix, you can often get by if you mix in a couple of teaspoons of dried skimmed milk - it helps the flavor Marvellously!


answered 24 Mar '10, 20:18

klypos's gravatar image

klypos ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

Hmm, very interesting, thank you.

(24 Mar '10, 20:56) Ikkle Becca

Thanks so much for this informative answer. I've often wondered the difference between baking soda and baking powder.

(25 Mar '10, 19:53) Elizra

Baking soda is good for other things, like soothing bee stings, and washing out the fridge to remove odors - baking powder is useless for those tasks!

(25 Mar '10, 23:37) klypos ♦♦
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Asked: 24 Mar '10, 15:24

Seen: 2,629 times

Last updated: 24 Mar '10, 20:18

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