Questions and Answers – Substitute Baking Soda
I recently moved to Germany, but still love to bake good ol’ American chocolate chip cookies. However, I have encounter a problem in getting all of the needed ingredients together. First, there is no “packed” brown sugar, so I have to use natural raw brown sugar (basically the same as white, only brown). Secondly, I cannot buy baking soda anywhere. Can I use baking powder as a substitute? Do you know of any substitutes I could use?
Baking powder and/or baking soda is used as leavening in many cookie recipes. Baking soda helps neutralize acidic ingredients. Baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable and there is no substitution for baking soda.
Try the local pharmacy, or the pharmacy section of the supermarket, and ask for bicarbonato. Baking soda is also called sodium bicorbonate in Britian, or NaHCO3.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is used as a leavening agent when a recipe contains acid ingredients. Baking soda, an alkaline ingredient, plus an acid ingredient, such as buttermilk, vinegar, molasses or sour cream creates a chemical reaction to form carbon dioxide gas in a baked product making it rise and become light and porous. Heat is not necessary for the chemical reaction, so the reaction begins as soon as liquid ingredients are added. Therefore, products leavened with baking soda should be baked immediately after mixing or the gases will escape and the product will not rise.
Comments from Readers:
I’m currently living in Germany but grew up in the United States. I was also on the search for baking soda recently. I just wanted to let you know how/where to find it for people on the search in Germany.
I recently discovered Natron. When I asked for Baking soda in grocery stores over here, people had no idea what I was looking for, but Natron is well known and found in most grocery stores.
Why would a biscuit recipe call for cream of tartar and baking soda, when most recipes call for baking powder and baking soda, or just baking powder?
Substituting in Recipe – You can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (you will need more baking powder and it may affect the taste), but you can not use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder. Baking soda by itself lacks the acidity to make a cake rise. However, you can make your own baking powder if you have baking soda and cream of tartar. Simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda.