Make your Own Baking Powder

It’s a bummer when you promise waffles for breakfast and then realize you don’t have enough baking powder to make more homemade baking mix.

But then, thanks to the Internet, I found out what’s actually in it, and it’s incredibly easy to make:

Homemade Baking Powder (ready? this is complicated; you’ll want to write this down…):

Mix: two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda.  If you are planning on storing it for a long time, add 1 part cornstarch as well; the only purpose this serves is to help it not to clump with ambient moisture.



As in, if you need 1 tbs baking powder, instead you can use 2 tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp baking soda.

The reason, apparently, why baking powder makes a difference vs just using soda is that the soda reacts with acid, and the cream of tartar reacts with heat, and the combination of the two (why it’s called “double acting”) is what makes pancake batter and such able to sit for a while before cooking. With soda only, you need to get whatever it is into the oven/pan as quickly as possible before the chemical reaction is done, whereas the baking powder gives you more time for stuff like pancakes.

What is a little more complicated is that despite what everyone has told me all my life about exactly measuring the amount of baking powder in a recipe, I cannot find consistency among websites regarding the difference between with- and without-cornstarch baking powder and the measurements thereof. Both kinds of recipes say “use the same amount as you would commercial baking powder.” I have not put this to scientific testing yet, but my hunch would be that the exactitude of baking powder required for any given recipe might be slightly more flexible than I’d been led to believe.

(Of course, none of this makes any difference at all if you don’t have cream of tartar in your house either…then you need to get your husband to go out to Whole Foods at 8:15 on a Saturday morning to buy you some more baking powder or cream of tartar or both. Which he will agree to since he wants waffles as much as the kids…)

Breakfast was delicious. Try it tomorrow! (But check the cupboard for ingredients tonight!)



Posted on July 30, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is good to know, as I HAVE run out of baking powder. I will say that at one point I was using baking soda plus more baking soda (since my baking soda container looks like a baking powder one) in my pancakes and they did taste slightly funny (less sweet), but other than that, no difference. Still puffed up same as ever. I wonder why people don’t just buy cream of tartar and use that plus soda, since many recipes call for soda and powder — you could just use more soda, and add cream of tartar. Weird.

  2. i had thought the same as Betsy once I learned that awhile back, and! with cream of tartar you can make your own MARSHMELLOWS! 😀
    it seems, tho, that when I learned this trick i was out of both — don’t remember what i was trying to make, but somewhere i also read that apple cider vinegar could be used instead of cream of tartar. confirm to be sure, but i know that whatever i had used that in lieu of baking powder came out pretty well.

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