Baking soda and baking powder are different ingredients and not interchangeable because they work differently in cooking.
“Baking soda and baking powder are both leaveners used in baking, but they are chemically different,” explained Simply Recipes
. “The easiest way to explain it is that baking soda is a base — it’s alkaline. … When you mix a base (baking soda) with an acid (vinegar) you get a reaction (bubbles).”
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is used in cooking along with acidic ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, or yogurt. When they mix, bubbles of carbon dioxide are created to leaven batters or doughs.
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Baking powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and dry acid, such as cream of tartar.
Most baking power is "double-acting" meaning that "it reacts to liquid and heat and happens in two stages," according to JoyofBaking.com
The first occurs when it hits the batter, which is moist. That produces carbon dioxide gas. Then, once the wet mixture hits the heat in the oven, the gas cells expand, making it rise.
This works because double-acting baking powder includes two different acids: one that reacts in moisture and another that reacts in heat, creating a longer lasting leavening process, North Carolina State University explained
The two ingredients also can affect the color and flavor of foods, according to The Huffington Post
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“Swapping these two ingredients WILL impact your results, even if it's subtle,” The Huffington Post said. “So, even if it's raining and you don't feel like it, it's probably worth the trek back to the store to get the right ingredient.”
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