If you like baking then you know the importance of baking powder, but even you’re not an avid baker, there are times when baking powder is essential. So, what happens if you can’t find any?
The reality is that some recipes absolutely rely on this ingredient for the baking process to allow your recipe to expand or have some sort of form.
But before you begin to worry about not being able to cook or bake your favorite meal, it is important that you understand what baking powder adds to the process, and how to find a good replacement.
What is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and acid, such as cream of tartar, sodium aluminum sulfate, or calcium acid phosphate. It is used in baking as a leavening agent, which allows a chemical reaction to occur giving carbon dioxide as a byproduct, creating air pockets in the dough.
When the dough is baking, carbon monoxide is released further and mixes with the carbon dioxide, creating steam and pressure that expands the food itself, causing it to rise.
Baking Powder Vs. Baking Soda
It is also key to know that baking powder and baking soda are not the same. For one, baking soda is alkaline and just a base.
Baking powder, on the other hand, is mixed in with a dry acid. The chemical reaction for baking powder is not instant, as it is for baking soda when mixed with an acid, but it does happen when the powder gets wet and is heated.
What Can You Use Instead of Baking Powder?
Now that you got the science down, here are some baking powder substitutes that can help you out:
#1. Cream of Tartar
This is the most common alternative to baking powder. For a better leavening power, you can mix cream of tartar with baking soda. Cream of tartar is a powder traditionally used in baking, and you will find it in the baking aisle of any grocery store.
To create a stronger agent, mix half a cup of warm water with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. This mixture will begin to foam, which you can take as a sign of the necessary chemical reaction going on, so you can begin to use it in your baking.
#2. Vinegar or Lemon Juice
These two are very easy to find, and you guessed it, they are acidic, so mixed with the right alkaline agent and they can be a leavening agent. You may have lemons in your fridge or vinegar in your pantry, so they are an easy fix for your baking problems.
When mixed with baking soda, either of these two acidic agents can create the necessary chemical reaction to create leavening in the baking process. However, keep in mind that unlike the cream of tartar, these two ingredients are much more acidic and they could alter the flavor of your final product.
Even though it may come as a surprise, yogurt is actually an acidic food due to the bacteria fermentation in the production process that results in lactic acid. You will need unflavored yogurt, as the flavor could alter the pH level of the yogurt.
To create a sustainable reaction, mix the dry ingredients with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and then add ½ cup of the yogurt. Because the yogurt is liquid, you should swap some of the liquid out, as it can change the consistency and form of your recipe.
Since it is also acidic, this dairy product can work as a replacement when you don’t have a baking powder that comes in handy.
To make it work as a leavening agent, mix ½ cup of buttermilk with ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Keep in mind that because buttermilk is liquid, you’ll have to reduce the amount of liquid you use in the recipe.
The flavor in buttermilk varies depending on the amount of fat it contains, but commercial brands tend to be thicker and sourer, which is good for your baking purposes.
Related: Can Buttermilk Go Bad?
This sweetener made from sugar cane juice is a thick brown syrup that is often used in baking cookies, cakes, and even cocktails. This option is much sweeter than the rest of the above alternatives, but you’ll be surprised to see that once molasses is mixed with baking soda, an acidic result is made. This reaction can be what you need for your baked product to rise or get the form it needs.
Mix ½ to ¼ cup of molasses with about ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Be sure, though, to reduce the amount of liquid that you use because molasses is liquid, and also consider not using as much sweetener because molasses is, after all, a sugar.
Related: Can Molasses Go Bad?
You Can Make Your Own Baking Powder
Since baking powder is just a combination of baking soda and an acid, then you should know that you can make it at home easily.
To do this, combine ¼ teaspoon baking soda with around ⅓ of cream of tartar, which should yield around 1 teaspoon equivalent to baking powder.
Keep in mind that because it is homemade, it can go bad more quickly, so if you want to store it, then you can add cornstarch to make it more shelf-stable and absorb moisture.
Yes, you can use baking soda as a replacement of baking powder as long as you mix it with an acidic agent to create the necessary chemical reaction for the leavening process to occur.
If your recipe calls for baking powder and you don’t use any, then your dough will not rise during the baking process. If you can’t use baking powder, then you can choose one of these substitutes, or use self-rising flour.
Yes. In fact, egg whites are considered as a baking secret used to replace baking powder for an increased fluffiness and lightweight texture. Eggs whites are whipped until they get bubbles and look fluffy.
If you don’t have baking powder, consider using self-rising flour, which as the name suggests doesn’t require a leavening agent to create the effect of rising or form. You can find self-rising flour in most grocery stores in the baking aisle, and it is very easy to use.
We’ve all been there where we almost have everything we need to make our favorite baked good, but then we can’t find that one ingredient.
Instead of running to the store, consider using one of these baking powder substitutes. You may already have most of these at home, but if not, they are very easy to find anywhere anyway.
*Photo by mirzamlk/depositphotos