When making cookies without baking soda, it is important to keep in mind the type of cookie you are making and the kinds of ingredients that the recipe calls for. Cookies that rely heavily on acidic ingredients will not be the best to substitute baking soda, as it may produce varied results.
If you don’t have baking soda, you can use baking powder, at three times what the recipe calls for. So if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, you can use three teaspoons of baking powder. Baking powder also contains a little bit of salt, so it’s also a good idea to halve the salt the recipe calls for.
Baking soda is typically used for chewy cookies, while baking powder is generally used for light and airy cookies. Since baking powder is comprised of a number of ingredients (baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch, etc.), using it instead of pure baking soda will affect the taste of your cookies.
Cream of tartar helps stabilize whipped egg whites, prevents sugar from crystallizing and acts as a leavening agent for baked goods.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is widely used in baking. This is because it has leavening properties, meaning it causes dough to rise by producing carbon dioxide.
It is possible to make cookies without baking soda or baking powder, but the resulting cookie will be dense. This is because carbon dioxide is not being produced by a chemical reaction that typically occurs when baking soda or powder is present in the cookie batter.
What happens if you leave baking soda out of a recipe?
Leaving baking soda out of the cake prevents it from rising, but you can use baking powder as a substitute. Baking soda is a salt that makes food light and fluffy. If you don’t have this ingredient at hand, use a baking soda substitute. Without it, your cake won’t rise and can turn out flat.
In cookies, too much baking soda will give them too much air, causing almost a cake-like texture. They won’t have the classic chewy texture that cookies have. If you notice that you have added too much baking soda, you can double all the ingredients.
When activated, baking soda releases a gas (carbon dioxide) into our baked goods, causing them to rise. Baking soda is activated when it is mixed with an acid. So in baking, we activate baking soda by pairing it with an acidic ingredient (such as lemon juice, buttermilk, or yogurt) in our recipes.
Underbaked cookies are the secret to softness. Using cornstarch in the dough is another secret to softness, as well as the secret to thickness. Using more brown sugar than white sugar results in a moister, softer cookie. Adding an extra egg yolk increases chewiness.
The protein in the yolk heats up and turns into a “gel-like substance,” which allows for a super soft texture once fully baked. The more eggs you add, the more chewy and almost cake-like your cookie will be.
Adding it to cake or cookie batters prevents sugar from banding together and crystallizing, meaning that it results in more of a tender chew—snickerdoodles and sugar cookies wouldn’t be the same without cream of tartar. The same effect is why it’s added to some frostings and syrups, where it helps keep things smooth.