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Advice requested on error - used baking powder instead of soda.

I'm making jalapeno cornbread using a recipe I found on simplyrecipes.com. It's the kind that's baked in a cast iron skillet. The ingredients are: 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup plain yogurt (I'm substituting sour cream), 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, 5 Tbsp melted butter, chopped jalapenos, 1/2 cup corn and 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack). I wasn't reading carefully enough, and I put in baking powder instead. I've already stirred together the dry ingredients, so my only choices are continuing with what I've done or wasting flour and cornmeal. Is this a fatal error? Is it likely to make the bread rise too high and spill over the sides of the pan in the oven? Does it make any difference that I'm using sour cream instead of yogurt? I haven't added any wet ingredients yet, so I'm open to modifying them if that would help.

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  1. You should be fine - I actually think the recipe is wrong or you misread it, two teaspoons of baking soda will make for a bitter concoction.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rjbh20

      It definitely says soda, not powder. That's the source of my reading error. I'm used to seeing 2 tsp b. Powder and 1/2 tsp b soda. Thanks for your reply.

      1. re: MrsBridges

        Quite a few of the SimplyRecipes recipes use 1-2 tsp of baking soda. That includes banana bread which only has bananas the acidic ingredient. I doubt if she has finely tuned this quantity.

        When using your usual 2 tsp of baking powder, most of the lift comes from the bp. The baking soda serves more to promote browning. That is, acidic batter doesn't brown as well as one that is slightly alkaline.

    2. Here's a note from one of Kenji's Food Labs on Serious Eats: "With this knowledge, it should be clear that while it's possible to substitute baking powder in a recipe that calls for baking soda (use a ratio of three measures of baking powder for every measure of baking soda), you can't expect the flavor profile to remain the same with all the extra acid that baking powder adds to the mix." http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/06/wh...

      From other sources, it's explained that baking powder has only 1/3 baking soda and 2/3 other ingredients. It might be tricky, but you could add just the amount of "missing" soda. If it were me, I'd try that rather than change the flavor so much by adding what amounts to additional acid (and starch) as contained in the baking powder.

      Good luck, whatever you decide.

      1. With that amount of flour (and cornmeal) I'd expect to use 2tsp of baking powder and 1/4tsp of baking soda.

        Most of leavening comes from the baking powder. 1 tsp bp per cup of flour is a standard ratio.

        It is possible to use straight baking soda, which works with the yogurt/buttermilk/sour cream. But it doesn't need much.

        With 2 tsp of baking soda there's a risk that you'll have unreacted baking soda, and a off taste.

        So my guess is that you make a fortuitous mistake.

        The sour cream should be fine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          There must be fifty ways to leaven your loaf.

        2. It's in the oven. I will report in 30 min.

          1. Looks okay. It's lumpy and uneven because the batter was very stiff and I did not have the patience to smooth it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MrsBridges

              Well, it didn't make a break for freedom. :)

              Rise looks fine. Does the taste test come tonight or tom'w morning?

              1. re: MrsBridges

                The thicker/stiffer sour cream probably accounts for the stiffer batter. But sour cream loosens as it warms.

              2. Tastes fine! Thanks for everyone's input.

                I just used what I already had mixed with 2 tsp baking powder. I did not add any soda.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MrsBridges

                  I suspect the Simply Recipes ingredient list "simply" has a serious typo and that your "mistake" was a stroke of good fortune. I've never heard of using only baking soda as the leavening in cornbread. Corn bread recipes using buttermilk instead of regular milk sometimes call for a bit of baking soda in addition to baking powder, but most corn bread recipes only call for baking powder. If you'd followed the directions, you might have ended up feeding that cornbread to the trash can!

                2. I made a tasty cornbread AND learned more about baking chemistry. Good deal! And it all started when I asked myself what I would do with the jalapeƱo in my CSA distribution.

                  1. http://chemistry.about.com/cs/foodche...

                    A bit more chemistry info. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, the stuff that makes the rise. Baking powder is sodium bicarbonate PLUS cream of tartar [an acid, which helps with the rise] PLUS a drying agent.

                    So, by volume, you'll always have more leavening from baking soda than from baking powder. BUT it comes with a price - it's more acid-tasting.

                    And you can use baking powder instead of baking soda, but apparently you can't go the other way.

                    With the volume of batter that you were making, I would have been very surprised if you'd had a Lucille-Ball-like experience!

                    Bottom line, you did the right thing. butter that corn bread up and emjoy!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jiffypop

                      Commercial baking powder also has some starch (e.g. corn starch), in part to absorb moisture, and to keep the baking soda separate from the powdered acid. But it also 'dilutes' the powder to a relatively standard strength. That way, all brands have roughly the same leavening strength.

                      1. re: jiffypop

                        >>>So, by volume, you'll always have more leavening from baking soda than from baking powder. BUT it comes with a price - it's more acid-tasting.<<<

                        I think this is backwards. Powder should be more acid-tasting, because as you noted it contains acid for the soda, which is alkaline, to react to. And I'm not sure which inherently gives more lift. Seems if there are acid ingredients in the mix, soda would, but if not, powder would.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          Quoting one source:

                          Too much baking powder can cause the batter to be bitter tasting .... [though taste varies with the particular acids in the bp.]

                          Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda (alkali) is about four times as strong as baking powder. ... Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse, open crumb. ....

                          Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda...