How To Substitute Baking Soda

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?



Substitute Baking Soda
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:

Substitute Baking SodaI’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?

How Are Recipes Determined?  Some recipes call for baking soda, while others call for baking powder.  Which ingredient is used depends on the other ingredients in the recipe.  The ultimate goal is to produce a tasty product with a pleasing texture.  Baking soda is basic and will yield a bitter taste unless countered by the acidity of another ingredient, such as buttermilk.  You will find baking soda in cookie recipes.  Baking powder contains both an acid and a base and has an overall neutral effect in terms of taste.  Recipes that call for baking powder often call for other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk.  Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes and biscuits.


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.




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Comments and Reviews

4 Responses to “How To Substitute Baking Soda”

  1. Wulf Graunitz

    I have a problem opposite to the first question on this site.
    I want to prepare something according to a German recipe that calls for ‘Natron’,
    unavailable here under that term.
    Can I use baking soda instead ?
    On the Web it says Natron contains only 17% of baking soda,
    which would make it distinctly different, the way I understand it.

    • Linda Stradley

      I’m sorry, but I know nothing about “Natron.” I have never used it.

  2. Grace

    Just use it. I did and it tasted the same.

  3. Charlotte

    Baking soda is natron. Its just the translation for it.


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