One common cooking confusion lies in the use of bicarb soda, baking powder, and when you need them both.
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Bicarbonate of soda (bicarb soda) is an alkali substance that reacts with liquid acids. Bicarb soda will often give foods a 'bubbly' texture, or an extra rising boost to denser goods (think soda bread or banana bread).
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Baking powder is a mix of acidic compounds and bicarb soda. It's used primarily in lighter cakes and breads.
Sometimes a recipe will call for both, and that is usually because they each serve two different purposes in the cooking.