Baking powder

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  • Baking powder is a solid mixture that is used as a chemical leavening agent in baked goods.
  • It can be composed of a number of materials, but usually contains baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3), cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate, C4H5KO6), and cornstarch. (A base, an acid, and a filler respectively.)
  • Baking powder is made by generating these solids, combining them in unique proportions, and then transferring them to packaging.
  • First developed in the mid 1800s, baking powder formulations have changed little since.


  • Most baking powders are double-acting, which means they the baking powder reacts twice.
  • Contain one acid that dissolves when it comes in contact with water and another acid that does not dissolve until it reaches a higher temperature in a hot oven.
  • This type of double action ensures that the finished product is light and fluffy.
  • Single-acting baking powders are mainly used by manufacturers and are usually not available for retail sale.


  • Generally (in countries where the cup is used as a standard measure in cookery) one teaspoon (5ml) of baking powder is used to raise a mixture of one cup (200-250ml) of flour, one cup of liquid, and one egg.
  • However, if the mixture is acidic, baking powder's additional acids will remain unconsumed in the chemical reaction and often lend an unpleasant chemical taste to food.
  • High acidity can be caused by ingredients like buttermilk, lemon, yoghurt, citrus, or honey.
  • In baking powders that contain sodium acid pyrophosphate, excess alkaline substances can sometimes deprotonate the acid in two steps instead of the one that normally occurs, resulting in an offensive bitter taste to baked goods.

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