If you have been baking for a while, by now you must be knowing the purpose of baking powder. But if you are new to baking and do not know anything about baking powder, fret not. In this article we will try to answer all the question related to baking powder- what roles does baking powder plays in baking, what are its substitutes, is it healthy or not, etc.
Why is Baking powder one of the most vital ingredient for baking?
Baking Powder is primarily made of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and two other acidic agents- cream of tartar and corn-starch. When sodium bicarbonate comes in contact with an acid like ingredient, for example – yogurt, a chemical reaction takes place that produces carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide causes the batter to rise and give fluffy and airy texture to cakes, muffins, and cookies. It is possible to make cakes and cookies without baking powder, but the resultant cakes and cookies will be dense and flat. So, it is suggested to use baking powder whenever possible. If baking powder is not available there are many substitutes that can be used.
Why do we need both baking soda and baking powder both?
Baking powder and baking soda are both chemical agents used for leavening. Baking powder is made up of baking soda which is mixed with other acidic agents. Both these leavener are used to enlarge air bubbles which arise in the batter while whisking it. Baking soda can react with other acidic ingredients in the batter to make it rise and can be used to neutralize the batter. But to neutralize and raise the batter at the same time excess use of baking soda will be required which will make the taste of batter gross. Therefore, sometimes baking powder is also added along with baking soda because baking soda might be enough to neutralize the acid but not enough to raise the batter. Baking powder will give the extra lift to the batter and other ingredients of baking powder will help to neutralize the acid.
What is the substitute of baking powder?
There is a possibility that baking powder is not readily available with you. Well you are in luck, there are plenty of substitutes available in the market and probably they are already at your home. Here are few substitutes for baking powder-
1. Buttermilk– Traditionally buttermilk is a low fat, thick and tangy cream which is left after churning butter. But modern buttermilk is formed by adding bacterial cultures to milk and allowing milk to ferment. This process breaks down sugar into acids.
2. Yogurt- Yogurt is also produced through fermentation of milk just like buttermilk. The fermentation process breaks down sugar and increases the concentration of lactic acid, which lowers the pH level of yogurt and increases the acidity of it.
3. Molasses– Molasses is thick syrup which is a result of refining sugar cane into sugar. Molasses is acidic in nature and hence can be used in place of baking powder.
4. Vinegar- Vinegar is produced through fermentation of alcohol. The acidic level of vinegar is perfect for use as a baking powder substitute. White Vinegar is preferred as it will not alter the colour of your final product.
5. Club soda- Club soda is a carbonated drink containing sodium bicarbonate. For this reason, it can be substituted with baking powder.
6. Self-Rising Flour- Self rising flour is a mix of all flours, baking powder and salt. It is a primary ingredient in packaged premixes.
7. Lemon Juice– Lemon juice, being citric in nature, contains high amount of acid and that is why can be easily substituted for baking powder.
Is baking powder healthy?
Baking powder is generically considered as a nontoxic ingredient when used in cooking and baking. Sodium Bicarbonate, which is a primary ingredient of baking powder, belongs to antacids class of drugs. It is used to ease symptoms arising from upset stomach, acid reflux and urinary tract infection . Sodium bicarbonate is a great source of sodium, which is the most important mineral to improve blood pressure. It is safe enough to consumed sodium bicarbonate few times in a week, but overuse of sodium bicarbonate can lead to allergic reactions and other problems as well. So, if used in moderation, baking powder ca prove good for your health.
Hope we are able to clear your queries related to Baking powder. Here are some tips on baking which will really help you. We will be happy to share your pictures of awesome baking on our Instagram handle @ritualskitchen. Follow us on Instagram for more amazing tips and pictures.