baking powder


A leavener containing a combination of baking soda, an acid (such as cream of tartar) and a moisture-absorber (such as cornstarch). When mixed with liquid, baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles that cause a bread or cake to rise. There are three basic kinds of baking powder. The most common is double-acting, which releases some gas when it becomes wet and the rest when exposed to oven heat. Single-acting tartrate and phosphate baking powders (hard to find in most American markets because of the popularity of double-acting baking powder) release their gases as soon as they're moistened. Because it's perishable, baking powder should be kept in a cool, dry place. Always check the date on the bottom of a baking-powder can before purchasing it. To test if a baking powder still packs a punch, combine 1 teaspoon of it with 1⁄3 cup hot water. If it bubbles enthusiastically, it's fine.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Next Up

The Best Baking Powder Substitute

No powder? No problem. Make your own leavener with pantry staples.

How to Make Pancakes Without Baking Powder

There are a couple super easy swaps.

Related Pages