Baking Powder

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Baking Powder

(PD) Image: Public Domain Harper's Baazar Ad for Royal Baking Powder
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Baking powder is used in baking as a leavening agent. Quick breads, cakes and cookies usually use baking powder as an ingredient.


Baking powder is comprised of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3), cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate, C4H5KO6), and cornstarch.[1] [2]


Single acting: Single acting baking powder can be made from several different chemical formulations: Single-acting baking powders react immediately when liquid is added to the mixture.

Those that contain cream of tartar and tartaric acid (C4H606) create gas rapidly when mixed with baking soda and a liquid. These batters must be cooked quickly or they will go flat. Slower single-acting baking powders are phosphate baking powders that contain either calcium phosphate (Ca3O8P2) or disodium pyrophosphate (H2Na2O7P2). Aluminium sulfate (AI2012S3) powders react more slowly at room temperature but give a bitter taste to the batter.[3]

Double Acting: A quick acting acid provides an initial rise during the mixing process followed by a second rise when heat is applied. [3]

Baking Powder Substitute

You can make your own baking powder equivalent at home.

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Mix or whisk the ingredients in a clean dry bowl. 1 teaspoon of the homemade baking powder substitute is equal to a commercially made product. [4] [5]


Store baking powder sealed in a cool, dry place no longer than one year.[6]

Proofing the Baking Powder

To check, or proof, the baking powder add 1 teaspoon baking powder to 1/2 cup warm water. The baking powder should immediately bubble.[6]

  1. How Products Are Made: Baking Powder (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
  2. Kitchen Dictionary: Baking Powder (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
  3. 3.0 3.1 How Products Are Made Volume 6: Baking Powder (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
  4. Homemade Baking Powder Substitute (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
  5. Wise Geeks Baking Powder (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Joy of Baking Powder (English). Retrieved on 2010-09-29.