5 Shocking Baking Soda Substitutes (With Great Results)
Aah, the science of baking soda substitutes. And here’s one thing we can all get right out the gate:
Baking soda and baking powder are so dang unique that substituting them kind of becomes a specialty thingy.
But we all agree that baking soda, which is the major ingredient in both in-store baking powder and pure baking soda, is a jack of all trades and a master of one: baking. Well, technically, it is one of the best leavening agents in modern times.
We say “one of” because, as you guys have been asking and noting down that using baking soda for baking might not be your best means to irk out a cookie.
Can you Substitute Baking Soda (and Baking Powder) When Baking?
Maybe the big Q we’d have to ask is: Why is baking soda so important in baking?
We penned a post just for you which you can read right here (including a spot-on video on how baking soda works—and baking powder too).
But sometimes you are in the middle of preparing your cake batter or lemonade scorn dough and gasp—eek! You are out of baking powder …and baking soda too. It’s a conspiracy.
Or perhaps you want a natural leavening agent for raising your baked goods just right, fluffy and light.
Still, it might be that you want to be a little more experimental, testing out different flavors to rekindle your loved ones’ taste buds. Whichever reason you have for wanting out with baking powder or baking soda, we have got you covered in this post.
But…but…what if your baking recipe calls for both baking soda and baking powder, then what?
How to Substitute Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Both Baking soda and baking powder are chemical leavening agents. They help you to speed up the leavening reaction in the dough or batter you prepare. And you can actually substitute either for the other as we discuss in this post.
In that post, we went on to discuss how you can get rid of either or both in case you want to reduce or eliminate sodium from your baked goods recipes.
In this post, we are going to share with you ways to substitute baking soda and baking powder altogether; stunning baking soda substitutes you’ll love.
Keep in mind, though, substituting baking powder or soda with even the best baking soda substitutes can still leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth—and pretty literally too, but only if not done right.
And you might not get exactly what you would have wanted in terms of flavor, browning, lightness, and fluffiness.
Heck, sometimes it’s a mess.
But you are bold than that, so let’s treasure hunt, shall we?
How to Use Yeast to Substitute Baking Soda (Or Baking Powder)
Old is gold and using yeast to bake can be fulfilling to you if you prefer organic baked goods. You can totally eliminate using chemical leavening agents with this natural raising agent.
How is yeast used for baking?
Yeast is, in fact, a living culture (as in a tiny mini league of living things) organic bakers add to batter or dough to help leaven their bakes.
Yeast gets the comfortable break it needs to feast on your ingredients and excrete carbon dioxide. Pretty much the gas a baking powder reaction pops and fizzes to raise your breads and cakes and biscuits and flapjacks and cookies.
Despite your kind gesture to the yeast league, the natural leavening process is a stretchy, boring-to-tears undertaking you might not have all the time for—not when you want to pack those peach muffins or paleo zucchini to take into your workplace in a few moments.
This is precisely why baking powder is such a darling with fast-paced bakers, and in many baking kitchens around the world; it is insanely faster.
Danni slammed this background check to boost:
But if you prefer natural over high-speed dough, yeast could just be your best baking soda substitute to pour out. You only need to know how to let yeast dough rise to make homemade yeast bread successfully.
Here’s a video to demonstrate how yeast makes bread rise (on a serious note):
Suzanna even demonstrates you how to bake in yeast, including breaking down the science behind kneading dough here:
Use Self-rising flour with Baking Powder
If you have somewhere you need to be and fast, yeast might not exactly get you the goods in time for GO, clearly.
But if you are okay with baking soda, yet still want to scoop down on the amount of sodium bicarbonate in your bakes, here’s an alternative. Keep in mind, at the core of it, baking powder is baking soda plus dried acid.
Get self-rising flour at the store. The self-rising flour helps you to not bother with transform into a kitchen chemist; measuring parts and portions of baking powder to add to all-purpose flour to convert it to self-rising baking flour.
Want to learn how to make your own self-rising flour? Check out this post where we explain all about it and do it like a pro.
Use Potassium Bicarbonate to Replace Baking Powder in Baking at Home
Substituting baking soda for potassium bicarbonate is okay. And you can use the same amount of it as the amount of baking soda recommended in your recipe.
If your recipe calls for baking powder, you can use a third portion of potassium bicarbonate.
Here’s what to keep in check, though:
Potassium bicarbonate, unlike baking soda, does not require you add an acid to it for it to react and leaven your batter or dough.
That means you might have to wipe out some or all of your acidic content. These include buttermilk, whole milk, cream yogurt, brown sugar syrup, and other acids you might be using to trigger the rising action.
Yet, you might want to add a bit of buttermilk or lemon juice (for instance) if you love tangy bakes with matching flavor.
Still, you can choose to add or not to add any salt. If you do, we do not recommend more than 1 teaspoon.
There’s another thing…
You might miss potassium bicarbonate stocked in your nearest store, but you do not have to slash it off of your baking shopping list either. Simply check out this My Delicious Homemade review of powerful and healthy baking products you need.
It will be hard to miss at an online or offline pharmacy too since potassium is great for treating acid reflux cases.
How to Substitute Baking Powder with Egg Whites
This baking powder substitution hack will work for you if you are okay with using eggs for baking cakes and what have you.
Of course, a good baking powder alternative will work well as a baking soda alternative as well—although you might have to use copious amounts of the substitute for a baking soda recipe.
Most people beat and spill whole eggs (whites and yolks) into their muffins/cake batter or bread/scorns dough. Here’s a better way:
Beat, separate and spill out egg whites from egg yolks into two separate bowls. Whip out your whisk and beat the beat out of those whites until lighter. You can add the yolks to the batter later.
You want to mechanically inject air into the mix, air that contains carbon dioxide. Now, this is what leavens bread. But even a tad too much whisking and aeration is bad for baking.
Here’s why and how it works.
It starts with a whisk and moves through the bowl.
The type of bowl you use to whisk your eggs could affect how your baked goods come out.
Glass and steel egg whisking bowls are most popular among bakers in many baking kitchens. But to get the best out of your whisking, aeration, carbonation action, either copper or other metal bowls might come in a bit more helpful.
There’s more to it:
Copper bowls release copper ions into the egg whites which react with the egg protein, conalbumin. What this brings up is to cause a yellow foam to bubble as you continue to whisk the egg whites. This foam is harder to overbeat than the foam you’d whisk out in a steel or glass bowl.
How is this helpful for your baking process?
Overbeat egg whites are a mess for baking because they denature or unfold.
Keep in mind one reason some recipes call for using both baking soda and baking powder. That is, to help your baked goods to spread out nice and rise significantly in time to avoid having the egg protein in the batter or dough set before both actions.
If you are planning on using no baking soda or baking powder for your baking needs, using copper and iron bowls to whisk egg whites might add oomph to it all.
The iron or copper ion-whites complex adds a bit more guard to help curb your egg whites from unfolding.
Ultimately, not only can this help you bake fluffy, well-textured and yummy bakes, it would help you substitute baking powder without losing the leavening benefits of baking powder (or baking soda).
Use Ammonium Bicarbonate for Baking (Baking Ammonia)
Dang! Can you use ammonia to bake?
Here’s another little-known baking soda alternative for baking; baking ammonia. It is also called hartshorn. Baking ammonia or ammonium bicarbonate used to be huge and still is for baking biscuits—commercially or at home.
But it does sound a whole lot more like poison than one of the best baking powder substitutes from way back, huh?
They used ground antlers (reindeer’s) to make this rising agent—a surprisingly natural and harmless process and the aftermath. These days it is mostly used in Northern European spots for pastries—biscuit and cookie dough—and users swear by its ability to produce ultra light and crispy bakes.
But is ammonium bicarbonate safe for baking healthy cookies and biscuits?
It is all in the how baking ammonia works in baking:
It works like a charm if you need to substitute double-acting baking powder. (Read all about single acting and double acting baking powders here). While it has a strong smell, the strangest thing is it does not lose much of its leavening potency even if it sat in a solution or batter or dough for about 24 hours.
However, when swanked into a heated oven in the form of cookie dough, it breaks down COMPLETELY to form water, ammonia, and most importantly for you, carbon dioxide. It is the carbon gas given off that activates the leavening powers of ammonium bicarbonate.
But there are things to watch out for or mess up big time:
We recommend using baking ammonia for baking cookies and biscuits, thin bakes that allow the ammonia gas released to dissipate out of the crunchy bakes. Also, you’ll want to use it with only dry baked goods.
Remember the strong ammonia smell we just highlighted? Well, if you used baking ammonia for baked goods that come out the oven with more than 5% moisture content, you most likely will taste and smell the ammonia trapped in the moist crumb.
In many cases, such moist bakes come in the form of cakes.
But that’s not all.
Ammonium bicarbonate is an incredibly alkaline product, more than baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), so it does give softer doughs compared to the more popular baking soda.
What these further mean is using baking ammonia can (actually, does) require you drastically reduce or eliminate any acidic solvents or acidulants (such as milk or cream of tartar or buttermilk or yogurt) that are usually mandatory to trigger baking soda raising action.
But you can add some soda to the biscuit dough to help act as a control agent for the acidity of your biscuits.
There is something else baking ammonia outdoes baking soda in; clumping.
Be sure to keep in an airtight container to avoid this. It even clumps under dry conditions, so you’ll want to beat the clumps out of it before use.
We recommend dissolving it in water before pouring it into your cookie dough and mixing both.
Substitute 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 1 teaspoon of baking ammonia. Keep an open mind, though. This means you might have to triple the amount of baking ammonia when you have a recipe that calls for baking soda only.
That’s it, folks!
The stunning baking powder substitutes to use to bake fluffy, crunchy and lip-smacking goods baked goods for yourself and your loved ones. Want to find out the best leavening products on the shelves today? Feel free to check out the My Delicious Homemade baking products review here.
Now it’s your turn. What are your best baking powder substitutes to date you want to share with the buzzing baking community here?