That mysterious little ingredient hiding in your pantry, taken out occasionally to help the other, more important, ingredients make a cake. What are you, oh baking powder? You mysterious white powder in a strange container! What are you capable of doing? Why do trustworthy recipes call out for you by name? I mean sure, no one really knows what baking soda is either, but at least it has a bulging arm emblem that immediately recalls strength, and assumingly, a purpose of some sort. But baking powder? No such rapport.
Maybe you already knew that both baking soda and baking powder are used as "levelers" in baked goods which help the dough rise and create a fluffy-ish texture. This is caused by a chemical reaction achieved when moisture is added to the baking powder releasing carbon dioxide, which gets trapped inside tiny air pockets in the dough. (Think sponge cake)
But did you know that you could MAKE baking powder? YUP! And here's another little secret: its made out of baking soda!
Whoa, sit back down. I know its shocking, but just click on, and you'll see the lies unfurl. Baking powder, you have some explaining to do!
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Step 1: The Ingredients
Two, sometimes three, ingredients are used to make Baking Powder:
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Cream of Tartar
(optional) 1 part Corn Starch
Mix it all together in a lie of webs or bowl, if you prefer. Shake it up to make sure it all gets mixed
Step 2: Bake Some Cookies
The bitter taste of truth may not sit well in your mouth, so bake a batch of cookies with your new surplus of baking powder.
Step 3: Storage
Here's another secret: baking powder, whether home-brewed or store bought (hmph. <--contains aluminum, btw. Ever bitten into a tin-tasting muffin? The aluminum additive is where that tin flavor comes from!) can go "bad."
You'll add weeks to the life of your baking powder if you store it, tightly covered, in a cool place. Some experts say its best to store it in the fridge, whereas others say dry pantry is the best bet.
Step 4: Testing
You can test to see if you're baking powder is still potent and fresh by pouring 1/3 cup of boiling water on 1/2 cup of baking powder. It should bubble like crazy if it still has its groove. If the water doesn't move, your baking powder isn't...well, capable of doing the things you previously never knew it could.