Cornstarch vs Baking Soda: Are They The Same Thing?

Cornstarch vs Baking Soda

We can’t truly call a kitchen a kitchen until we include all of the essentials and condiments that are utilized in it. The interesting thing about kitchen basics is that some of them are practically identical or can be used interchangeably.

However, some of these ingredients cannot be used interchangeably. Cornstarch and baking soda are two examples of this. Many people are perplexed by the difference between the two. While some individuals believe they are the same, others remain undecided.

Is there a difference between cornstarch and baking soda? Is it possible to utilize them interchangeably?

Although these two look similar, they are not the same thing and should not be used in place of another. The difference between these two is that baking soda act as a leavening agent, while cornstarch acts as a thickening agent. 

Cornstarch Explained

Cornstarch, often known as corn flour, is simple starch obtained from corn. The white endosperms found in the core of a corn kernel are used to make it.

The endosperms are ground into a fine white powder, which is then used as a thickening agent in the process. Corn starch is a gluten-free product since it includes solely carbohydrates and no protein.

How long can baking soda last?
Source: Blue Jean Chef

Baking Soda Explained

Baking soda is one of the most common leavening agents used in baked goods. This household condiment, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical substance.

Baking soda is classified as a salt since it has a “sodium cation” and a “bicarbonate anion”. Baking soda’s use can be dated back to the 1940s when it was first manufactured, and it has remained one of the few household necessities we cannot do without.

The Differences Between Cornstarch And Baking Soda

The difference between cornstarch and baking soda is in what they are made of and what they are used for. Cornstarch is more of a thickening agent while baking soda is used as a leavening agent.

Cornstarch Properties

Here are the main things to know about cornstarch and what sets it apart from baking soda.

  • The most important thing to note about corn starch is that it is a thickening agent.
  • Corn starch can be used to coat the fruit in pies, tarts, and other desserts before baking. The use of cornstarch keeps the pies and desserts from having a watery texture.
  • Outside of the kitchen, corn starch can be used as a natural dry shampoo.
  • Corn starch can be used to thicken soup or sauce. Although it should not be added directly to avoid making a mess of the whole thing.
  • Corn starch can also be used to soothe skin irritation. If you find your skin to suffer from sunburn or other types of skin irritation. A mixture of cornstarch and cold water can help calm it down.
  • Corn starch can be used as an ingredient for homemade deodorant, all thanks to its texture and ability to absorb moisture.

Baking Soda Properties

Here are the main things to know about baking soda and what sets it apart from cornstarch.

  • The most common use of baking soda is cooking and baking and it is known to be used as a leavening agent.
  • Baking soda apart from being used as a leavening agent is often used to reduce the acidity in different sauces or soups i.e., tomato sauce.
  • Baking soda can also act as an antacid that can be used to treat stomach upset and indigestion.
  • Apart from its uses in the kitchen, baking soda is known to remove dirt from materials without causing damage to the material.
  • Baking soda can be in a fire extinguisher, due to its formation of soapy foam.
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Baking Soda Substitutes When Baking

What can be used in place of baking soda? If you don’t have any baking soda on hand and are in desperate need of substitution, baking powder is the finest option.

Because baking soda is a component of baking powder, it can be substituted if baking soda is unavailable.

Baking powder isn’t as strong as baking soda, so you’ll need to use a lot of it to get the same outcome. Baking soda can be replaced with other substances such as baker’s ammonia, potassium bicarbonate, salt, self-rising flour, and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can Be Used In Place Of Cornstarch?

The following are staples that can be used in place of cornstarch. They are; flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, rice flour, wheat flour, arrowroot flour, etc.

What Happens If You Leave Baking Soda Out Of A Recipe?

Leaving baking soda out of a recipe will prevent the cake or cookies from rising and fluffy. However baking powder can be used in place of baking soda but in a larger quantity.

Can I Use Vinegar Instead Of Baking Soda?

No, vinegar cannot be used in place of baking soda, when baking. However, when mixed, they produce a great leavening effect in both cakes and cookies.

Final Thoughts 

Cornstarch and baking soda are two different kitchen items that can be used for baking and cooking, however, they function differently.

You must know that while one is a leavening agent, the other is a thickening agent.

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