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Substituting Baking Soda in Cookies

In Food, In-depth Guides, Tips And Tricks April 11th, 20210 Comments

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Whether you are an amateur or professional baker, you must understand how important baking soda is in baking cookies. Each ingredient is equally as important in the specific amount dictated in the recipe.

However, what would happen if you do not have one of the ingredients, for instance, baking soda? Can I skip baking soda in cookies and what would be the effect? Do you need baking soda for cookies? You might realize that baking soda is a very important ingredient even though it is used in small amounts.

Baking soda replacement in cookies can be quite tricky but it does not mean it is impossible. Several alternatives can allow you to bake cookies without baking soda. In this article, we highlight some of the alternatives. You can pick one substitute for baking soda in cookies depending on your preferences. But first, a bit of information about baking soda.

Understanding Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

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Even though baking soda is a very common ingredient for cookies, not everyone understands what this ingredient is. This ingredient can also be referred to as sodium bicarbonate, which is a bicarbonate of sodium hydrogen carbonate and soda.

The main reason why baking soda is preferred in baking cookies is its ability to behave like a leavener. That means that it helps the batter or cookie dough to rise. When you integrate it into your ingredients, you will couple it with another acidic aspect such as molasses, pumpkin, lemon juice, buttermilk, and maple syrup. The reaction with this acidic ingredient will result in the production of bubbles coupled with a carbon dioxide gas. As a result, it causes the batter or dough to rise.

When used as an ingredient in cookies, it gives them a coarse and chewy texture. If you fail to add the baking soda or a replacement for baking soda in cookies, you will get a flat and hard cookie.

So, how do you make cookies from scratch without baking soda? Let’s look at some of the substitutes you can choose to use without a problem.

Most Effective Baking Soda Substitutes

If you want to replace baking soda in cookies, you should consider the type of cookie you intend to make and the ingredients included in that recipe. If you want to make a cookie that has a heavy reliance on acidic ingredients, we do not recommend that you replace the baking soda since the results may be varied.

It is recommended that you stick to sugar-based, soft doughs. For instance, a substitute for baking soda in chocolate chip cookies would be possible. Now to the substitutes.

Potassium Bicarbonate

Potassium Bicarbonate

One main baking soda substitute for cookies would be potassium bicarbonate. It is often preferred by those who would like to reduce their sodium intake. It has equal leavening capabilities without the sodium that is contained in baking soda. It is a great option if you have heart or circulatory issues.

So, what is the problem? Potassium bicarbonate is not as easy to find as baking soda. You will not easily find it in a grocery store even though it is a great option. So, where do you find it? Simply look for it in the supplement part of a health store or a drugstore. Sometimes it is used by people who have high blood pressure or reflux.

If you want to use potassium bicarbonate as the replacement for baking soda, you should use it in the same amount dictated in the recipe. Therefore, if you want to use a single teaspoon, then a teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate will give you the same good results.

Remember: You should pay attention to the acidic ingredients in the recipe. If you have an ingredient such as sour cream, replace it with milk or even water and you will get good results in your cookies.

Baking Powder

Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder

What happens if I use baking powder instead of baking soda in cookies? Most sources will give baking powder as the best replacement for baking soda, which might not be necessarily true. You should understand its composition if you want to use it properly.

Baking powder is essentially a mixture of an acid and baking soda. There is an inactive element that will prevent this combination from forming a reaction, referred to as an inert stabilizer.

Note: For those who want to avoid baking soda completely, maybe because of health issues, then baking powder might not be a good option for you because it contains baking soda inside it.

If that is not the case, then the other thing you should know is that baking soda is stronger. Baking soda has three times more strength than baking powder. Therefore, for every teaspoon of baking soda, you would have used, you should use three for baking powder.

We recommend that you integrate a double-acting instead of a single-acting baking powder to achieve the same results that baking soda would provide.

Self-Rising Flour

King Arthur, Unbleached Self Rising Flour

This is another efficient substitute for baking soda in cookies. However, this substitute would be tricky to use.

With self-rising flour would require you to make additional adjustments to the other ingredients. The main reason behind this is that the self-rising flour has baking soda, salt, as well as all-purpose flour. Therefore, you need to be careful with the ingredients you use.

In case the recipe calls for baking soda, there might be an additional acidic ingredient. However, self-rising flour already has its acidic agent.

Therefore, you have to replace the acidic ingredient with something neutral. For instance, replace buttermilk with whole milk.

You should also remember that salt is present in the self-rising flour. You need to balance the salt so that the flavors remain balanced.

Conclusion

If you ever want to bake some cookies and realize that you do not have baking soda, you do not have to worry. You can use any of the options named above as your substitute for baking soda in cookies. Although the process might involve some additional adjustments to the recipe, you will improve your skill as a baker. Try out these substitutes today and start learning.

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