Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder

Should you use baking soda or baking powder when creating delicious culinary delights like those made at Sweet Melissa Patisserie? Why would that even matter? The difference boils down to whether your other ingredients require acid to activate leavening. Baking powder does not need the acid, while baking soda does. Foods like blueberry muffins or cut-out sugar cookies use baking powder, and, therefore, do not need any acid as a catalyst. Baking soda, used for snickerdoodles and Irish soda bread, involves the interaction of acidic agents. So, it all depends on which types of pastries you wish to make.

First, here are a couple of quick definitions, so that you know which is which:

  • Baking Powder = a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar (an acid), and sometimes cornstarch
  • Baking Soda = sodium bicarbonate, which is a base and requires and acid to make baked goods rise in the oven
  • Difference? Baking soda will create leavening on its own when heated, but it also has the tendency to produce a metallic taste

You CAN make substitutions between baking soda and baking powder for certain pastries but be mindful of the volume you use. If you switch from baking soda to baking powder, you must use four times as much to achieve the same results. This can be tricky given the acidity and you will have to make sure your ingredients have not expired. This will require some experimentation since it is very easy to alter the taste, texture, and/or flavor of the final product.

At Sweet Melissa Patisserie, we’ve been making a wide variety of savory offerings since 1998 – everything from croissants and pies to cookies, cakes, and tarts. Our founder, Melissa Murphy, has had a passion for desserts that started all the way from birth when her mother resolved to finish making pies for her family before going to the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. has deemed us the best bakery in New Jersey. Zagat Marketplace has honored us for having “the best tarts and pies in all of NY.” The HC Chamber of Commerce named us “Most Promising New Business 2017.”

If you have any questions or inquiries about our products and services, feel free to call us at 908-323-2460 or visit us at 56 Payne Road in Lebanon.

Come see us soon!