Why would you ever want to make baking powder?
Especially when you can buy it easily and cheaply from the shop.
Well, like me, you may have run out of it.
In a rush, I forgot my trusty shopping list and came home without the requisite baking powder. As I don’t use self-raising flours, not having baking powder made Sunday night lunchbox baking a little more complicated than two wines could handle.
I could have sent hubby on a recon mission to the late-night IGA, but whipping up my own took fewer communication skills, which was important at the time.
Luckily for me, I always have bicarbonate of soda on hand for cleaning and I usually have some cream of tartar lurking in the back of the pantry for making homemade playdough, the two essential ingredients for making your own baking powder.
But you also might prefer to make your own baking powder to avoid the added aluminium that can be found in popular baking powder brands.
Why do they put aluminium in baking powder? I’m so glad you asked!
The bicarb and cream of tartar in traditional and homemade baking powders react together to create carbon dioxide once liquid is added. That means, if the baking isn’t placed in the oven within about an hour of mixing, it will lose its ability to rise properly because the reaction has already happened outside the oven.
Aluminium sulphate will react to the baking soda and cream of tartar once heated which gives it a fail-proof advantage if your cake batters tend to tarry on the counter before being cooked.
It’s good to remember that if you don’t buy baking powder, but instead buy self-raising flours, they may also contain aluminium sulphate.
Many people claim that because it doesn’t contain aluminium, homemade baking powder doesn’t leave that nasty metallic taste in your mouth. While I haven’t tested that theory on scones (the ultimate test of that metallic taste), I did think the muffins I made tasted better.
For some reason, muffins and I just don’t get along. Mine usually turn out hard, dry and lumpy. This batch, however, was light a fluffy, and I think that was due to the freshness and purity of the homemade baking powder.
Store-bought baking powder also contains fillers like flour (gluten), rice flour (gluten-free) or corn flour (possibly GMO). This is to stop the baking powder from clumping during the storage and to prevent moisture in the air from causing the necessary chemical reaction in the container.
If you’re making a large batch of homemade baking powder to store, you might also like to add a little rice or corn flour, but your baking will be better if you make this up in small batches without the filler.
Baking powder, whether store-bought or homemade, can lose its potency during storage. To test that your baking powder is still active, add 1/2 a teaspoon to a bowl and pour about 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. If it’s still active, it should really bubble up immediately.
Homemade Baking Poweder
I part bicarbonate of soda
2 parts cream of tartar
1/2 part rice flour (optional)
- Combine all and mix well. Sift before using or storing.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.