Among other uses, baking powder is used in recipes to make biscuits, muffins, or even ‘bread without yeast’. Baking powder is used as a leavening agent – enabling baked goods to ‘rise’.
When baking powder is combined with water, a chemical reaction occurs which enables its ingredients to produce carbon dioxide – which is then trapped in tiny air pockets throughout a dough or batter. When baked, the trapped carbon dioxide air pockets expand, thus expanding the overall food. It ‘rises’.
One problem though with store-bought baking powder is its shelf life. And when it comes to preparedness, one thing we look at is how to mitigate shelf life issues.
A lot of people don’t know that you can make baking powder yourself.
Here’s how, with just two ingredients, each of which have an unlimited shelf life…
Homemade Baking Powder Ingredients
Homemade Baking Powder Recipe
Simply combine 2 parts Cream of Tarter with 1 part Baking Soda.
Optionally add 1 part Corn Starch for longevity (if you’re making a batch to store on the shelf versus immediate use) because it will absorb moisture.
Use a sifter to combine ingredients into a bowl for best results.
If you are making a bulk batch, store in an an air-tight environment such as a mason jar with lid (to prohibit moisture from prematurely ‘reacting’ the ingredients).
What is Cream of Tartar?
Cream of Tartar is a byproduct of the wine industry (bet you wouldn’t have guessed that!) and is formed from the sediment left over in wine barrels after the winemaking process. It is scraped off of the sides of the barrels and then cleaned and ground to form cream of tartar (a fine, white, odorless powder).
The chemical name is “potassium bitartrate”, or “potassium hydrogen tartrate” – an acid salt – (you can see where the “tartar” came from).
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is pure “sodium bicarbonate”. Most of what is used in the United States is mined and processed from a raw material (called ‘Trona’) in Green River, Wyoming.
Remember this science experiment? Mixing baking soda (base) with vinegar (acid) and watching an eruption of bubbles? (Simulated volcano eruption…)
Although you don’t want your breads or biscuits to ‘erupt’, the same reaction occurs when you add baking soda (base) with an acid such as cream of tartar (and water to activate).
What is Corn Starch?
Cornstarch is made out of corn by grinding, washing and drying the “endosperm” of the corn until reaching a fine and powdery texture. It is most often used as a thickener for sauces, and is flavorless after cooking.
Note: Most store-bought baking powder contains aluminum in some form, and aluminum is apparently directly correlated with Alzheimer’s. By making your own baking powder, you are controlling the ingredients. With that said, there are ‘aluminum-free’ baking powders available.
Note: My observations indicate that store-bought baking powder has an approximate shelf-life of 1 to 2 years if unopened and stored in a favorable (dry) environment. By sourcing the individual ingredients, and only mixing them when you need to, you are effectively increasing the shelf life to infinity… (or thereabouts 😉 )