by Emma Chow
Baking powder turns up in most of the biscuit, cake and quick-bread recipes we have in our arsenal.
As a combination of a bicarbonate and acid, baking powder leavens and increases the volume of baked treats through the chemical reaction of an acid and base which releases carbon dioxide gas into your dough or batter. Think of it as a less explosive version of what happens when you add vinegar to bicarb for cleaning purposes.
Baking powder is generally made of sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is the acid component and is a by-product of wine-making; cream of tartar forms from the tartaric acid of the grapes as they ferment. Cream of tartar is often used when making meringue, as a small amount of acid can help stablise the egg whites and achieve a meringue that is crisper on the outside and marshmallow soft on the inside.
You’ll probably notice that some recipes only use baking soda and not baking powder. These are generally recipes that already have an acid component in them, such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk and non-alkalised cocoa.
Baking powder also generally contains corn starch or some starch. This is used to absorb moisture and allow baking powder to last longer by prevent the acid-base reaction from occurring before it hits your batter.
With just a few pantry staples, you can make your own baking powder when the urge to bake strikes!
Baking Powder: Ingredients
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of corn starch or potato starch
In a dry bowl combine the ingredients.
Sift to ensure a perfectly combine mixture.
If you’re going to use the baking powder immediately and you don’t have any starch, you don’t necessarily need to use the starch.
This recipe yields a tablespoon of baking powder.
Multiply this recipe and keep in a jar that can seal tightly.
Hey! This paragraph was so useful to me: “You’ll probably notice that some recipes only use baking soda and not baking powder. These are generally recipes that already have an acid component in them, such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk and non-alkalised cocoa.”
I often substitute buttermilk for regular milk, but didn’t realise that if I’m doing that I should also substitute the baking soda for baking powder. It think that will make a huge difference to my baking. Thanks!