Are you looking for a homemade baking powder substitute? We have all been there. In the middle of making a cake and you are out of baking powder. Years ago, I would be aggravated, but now it’s no big deal.
There are two items that you need and you should purchase them right away to have on hand. If you already have them in your pantry, just check the expiration date.
It’s important to have fresh ingredients because you want your baked goods to come out perfectly, don’t you? Try this substitute for baking powder today.
It’s nice that now you don’t need to make a special trip to the store, just use the recipe below and enjoy that cake.
Substitute for Baking Powder
BAKING POWDER SUBSTITUTE
To make 1 tablespoon:
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cornstarch
Mix until thoroughly combined and use right away.
If you need more, you can just double the recipe. If you need to store it for some reason, just add a teaspoon of corn starch (so that it doesn’t clump up), and store it in an airtight container. This baking powder substitute will definitely come in handy.
How Baking Powder Works in Recipes
If you’ve ever tried to use baking powder in place of baking soda, or vice-versa, you’ve discovered that the two don’t work the same. But what’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
The short answer: Baking soda needs an acidic ingredient like lemon juice to activate it. Baking powder is basically baking soda with the acid already built in.
But you can’t use the two interchangeably in your baking. If you try, your recipe probably won’t turn out the way you want.
In a moment we’ll talk about the problems that substituting one for the other can cause. But first, here’s a bit more background on how these substances work.
Quick Breads: Baking Powder or Baking Soda
Both baking powder and baking soda work by releasing carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms bubbles in the dough, causing it to rise. While the dough is cooking, these bubbles harden as it’s baked.
The release of gas is caused by a chemical reaction. The reaction happens quickly, which is why banana bread is made with baking soda and/or baking powder, are known as “quick breads.”
Baking Powder Substitute
How Do Baking Soda and Baking Powder Work?
So, how do baking soda and baking powder actually work? Baking soda is an alkaline, and when you mix in something acidic, like vinegar, it will release gas. The key here is that baking soda needs some sort of acid to activate the reaction. So it will work in recipes that include acidic ingredients like buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, yogurt and so on.
Molasses is also acidic, and so, believe it or not, is honey. So any of these ingredients would activate the baking soda. But if you were to try to substitute baking soda for baking powder in a recipe where no acidic ingredient is present, there will be no release of gas and the dough won’t rise.
Baking powder, on the other hand, is nothing more than baking soda with some sort of acidic compound (different brands of baking powder use different compounds) already included. The baking soda and the acidic compound won’t react together until they are moistened, which causes the two chemicals to mix.
So-called “double-acting” baking powder is also activated by the heat of the oven or griddle, and thus has greater leavening powers.
Using a Baking Powder Substitute Instead of Baking Soda
So now let’s say you were to use baking powder instead of baking soda. This should create some leavening, because a recipe that calls for baking soda should already include some sort of acidic ingredient as described above.
But here’s where the problem lies: Baking powder is about one-third baking soda, and about two thirds other ingredients. So while you will indeed get some rise, you won’t get enough, because you would essentially only be using one-third the amount of baking soda as the recipe actually requires.
If you were determined to do this, you could triple the amount of baking powder, but because of the additional ingredients in the baking powder, you’d probably notice a bitter flavor. There’s also a chance that because of the extra acids in the recipe, the batter would quickly rise and then fall before the bubbles had a chance to bake in. Either way, the results are not good.
One last note: Chemical leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda will lose their potency after a while, especially if they are stored in a warm place (like a kitchen) or if the containers are not sealed tightly. The good news is that both are pretty cheap, so for best results, replace them every six months or so.