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I attempted to make pancakes this morning, only to discover that I was out of baking soda. I tried substituting baking powder, but it didn't work at all. The pancakes didn't bubble on the griddle, and they were far too doughy. If this happens again, do I need to go out to the store for baking soda?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You need to use 2-3 times more baking powder than baking soda. Be aware that your flavors will be affected. Make sure it's double-acting baking powder and you must replace the acidic liquid in recipe with non-acidic liquid. You could also use some heartburn medicine that contained potassium bicarbonate :-)

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+1 for the heartburn- as long as you don't mind the pancakes tasting like fruit. :) –  Sobachatina Oct 4 '10 at 15:51

Unfortunately there is no substitute. While it is possible to substitute for baking powder, the reverse just doesn't work the same. Tripling the quantity of baking powder to baking soda will give an equivalent reaction, but your pancakes will taste like metal.

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I wouldn't recommend replacing the soda in the same recipe but there are plenty of pancake recipes that call for powder instead of soda. –  Sobachatina Oct 4 '10 at 16:20
@Sobachatina - powder is the secret ingredient in the recipe I use. –  justkt Oct 4 '10 at 16:34
@Soba: I didn't say baking powder isn't used. Your comment seems to imply that I did. My pancakes use baking powder too. I was just referring to tripling the quantity of baking soda for a baking powder substitution. –  hobodave Oct 4 '10 at 16:43
I did misunderstand. Thanks for the clarification. –  Sobachatina Oct 4 '10 at 16:51
Using a baking powder that does not contain aluminum compounds might help alleviate that. –  snekse Oct 5 '10 at 20:06

You can use baking powder to leaven the batter but you can't replace baking soda with it 1 for 1.

Baking powder is soda with some acid to balance the ph. Pancake recipes that use only powder will not have extra acid, such as buttermilk, added to them.

I love buttermilk. If I were making the pancakes I would go buy soda rather than having an under-flavored breakfast. Baking soda keeps indefinitely and is useful for a lot of things. Buy enough that you never run out again.

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Use 2 times the amount of baking powder and a higher temp. As for acid I'm not sure. I sub it in cake recipes (and never cared about the acid). In fact I use extra lemon juice for softness and it never interfered.

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When no baking powder is handy, you can make pancakes using yeast*.

It takes longer, having to let the yeast rise for 30 minutes and all, but I've done it, and the result is really really tasty pancakes!

*No endorsement of this recipe is implied, it's merely the first one I ran across.

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Yes, there is a substitution. It is a combination of cream of tartar and salt!

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