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Volume III
August 17, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Why Not Make Your Own Baking Powder?

By Alice Osborne

Ever wonder if you can make your own baking powder? I have. The answer, by the way, is absolutely.

The standard home recipe for making the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of commercial baking powder...

Homemade Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
and - if you plan to store your supply - 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch.

The cornstarch absorbs moisture in the air and therefore prevents a premature chemical reaction between the acid and alkali. When adding homemade baking powder to your recipe, work quickly, because the carbon dioxide gas is released more quickly and at a lower temperature than is the case with the commercial double-acting powders.

And there's something else to know about baking powders. It can lose its potency over time. This is because moist kitchen air - which enters the baking powder canister each time you open it - dramatically lowers a baking powder's potency.

Always test your baking powder's potency before using it by mixing a small amount into a little water. The fresher the baking powder, the more actively this mixture will bubble. If the chemical reaction is weak or does not occur, your baking powder will not properly raise whatever you are planning to bake.

So do take the time to test the potency of your powder by simply measuring a little into a cup and adding cold water. If you see lots of bubbles, it's still pretty potent. Bubbles, lots of bubbles. That's what you want.

One more piece of baking powder information: You'll notice in times past that when I've included a recipe that called for baking powder, I always stipulated a non-aluminum type, such as Rumford's. There's just too much evidence out now to ignore the aluminum-Alzheimer's connection. Rumford's is one brand that's easily available that does not contain aluminum, so that's the one you want to start using.

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