Baking Powder

Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent made up of a base (usually bicarbonate of soda) and an acid salt. When water hits them they combine and release carbon dioxide bubbles into your dough or batter, causing it to rise.

Many slow acting and double action baking powders contain aluminum, which is not a desirable dietary element. It may be worth your while to search for aluminum free baking powder. Most baking powder contains high levels of sodium as well. Look for Ener-G, and Hain which are both aluminum and sodium free.

You can make your own fast-acting baking powder by combining 1 cup cream of tartar with 1/2 cup baking soda and 3/4 cup cornstarch. Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Using Baking Powder

Baking powder should be used when the batter or dough you are working with does not have a high acid component (example yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice). Otherwise the chemical acids in the baking powder may not be consumed and there's a chance you'll still be able to taste it in the finished product. In these cases, baking soda is a better choice.

There are three basic types of baking powder, classified by the speed at which the reactant chemicals combine. Fast acting baking powder reacts immediately upon the introduction of a liquid, slow-acting baking powder is triggered to react by the heat of your oven and double-acting baking powder contains chemicals which allow reactions to take place both immediately and in response to heat. These reactions are governed by the kind of acid salts used.

If you are using fast-acting baking powder, it is important to limit the mixing time and the time between mixing and baking to the absolute minimum you can in order to assure that the carbon dioxide doesn't escape before it has time to do its job. With slow acting and double

It is important to mix the baking powder with the flour and other solids before adding your liquid to your recipe to ensure that the chemicals are well-dispersed and react in the flour, not in the liquid, otherwise the carbon dioxide will just escape into the air.

Generally speaking, 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 1 cup of flour is a good guideline to go by.

Baking powder is associated with the element air.

Element(s): Air -
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Recipes that contain Baking Powder

Notes from the Test Kitchen

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