Difference Between Cream of Tartar and Baking Soda

Cream of Tartar vs Baking Soda

When it comes to baking, the list of ingredients is quite long. However, it is very important to get these things accurate since the fate of a dish may sometimes depend solely on just one ingredient. Leavening agents are such ingredients that can make or break a baked dish. Cream of tartar and baking soda are two leavening ingredients that are commonly used in baked goods. Knowing the difference between cream of tartar and baking soda may aid greatly when it comes to choosing the best ingredients to add to the appropriate dish.

What is Cream of Tartar?

The leavening agent, better known as cream of tartar in the culinary world, is known as potassium hydrogen tartrate or Potassium bitartrate in the chemical world. Cream of tartar is produced as a by-product of wine making and is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid. Its formula is KC4H5O6.

During the fermentation of grape juice, potassium bitartrate crystallizes in wine casks and can also precipitate out of wine bottles. These crystals usually can be found on the underside of the corks of wine bottles that have been stored at temperatures below 10 °C. These wine crystals are known hardly ever to dissolve naturally into wine. Apart from that, they are also formed out of fresh grape juice that has been chilled or been allowed to stand for some time. The crude form of these crystals is then collected and purified in order to produce the acidic powder used in the culinary world today.

Cream of tartar is used for a myriad of purposes in cooking. It is used to stabilize egg whites and whipped cream by helping to maintain their texture and volume, to prevent sugar syrup from crystallizing as well as an ingredient in baking powder which is an essential ingredient required in baking.

What is Baking Soda?

Sodium hydrogen carbonate, Sodium bicarbonate commonly known as baking soda carries the formula NaHCO3. The natural mineral form of baking soda is nahcolite which is found in many mineral springs. Baking soda is available in the form of fine powder with a slightly salty and alkaline taste. Prepared by a process known as the Solvay process which is generally the reaction of ammonia, sodium chloride and carbon dioxide in water, baking soda can also be obtained by the reaction of carbon dioxide with an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide.

In cooking, baking soda is utilized as a leavening agent in cakes, quick breads, pancakes and other baked dishes. It is also used for making vegetables softer when cooking. Sodium bicarbonate is also effective as a fire extinguisher for small grease or electrical fires but not for fires in deep fires. In medicine, baking soda is used to treat heartburn and acid indigestion and is an ingredient in gripe water for infants. Sodium bicarbonate is also used in toothpaste, shampoos, deodorants and mouthwashes.

What is the difference between Cream of Tartar and Baking Soda?

Both cream of tartar and baking soda are essential agents that are commonly used in baking. However, based on their many differences, the manners in which baking soda and cream of tartar are used and their very nature are different.

• Cream of tartar is a by-product of wine production. Baking soda’s natural mineral form is nahcolite while it is also produced in labs via the Solvay process.

• The formula of cream of tartar is KC4H5O6. The formula of baking soda is NaHCO3.

• Baking soda is a leavening agent. Cream of tartar is a stabilizer.

• Cream of tartar and sodium bicarbonate are both ingredients used in baking powder.

• Baking soda has medicinal uses as well. Cream of tartar has no known medicinal uses whatsoever.