Interesting facts about Baking Powder

Interested to know more about Baking powder? Searching for details of leavening agent added to baked goods? If yes, here comes the post that provides you information about baking powder and its uses, reactions, types of baking powder, how to test the quality of a baking powder? and many more.


Children as well as adults are fond of cakes, breads, cookies and other baked products. But before eating those tasty foods, have you ever noticed about an important ingredient namely the presence of baking powder in it? I know the answer is NO. We all know the fact that baked products always contain baking powder in it. But we haven't paid more attention to know the role of baking powder in baked products. Don't worry, this post will provide you all information about baking powder.

What is baking powder?
Baking powder is a leavening agent which when added to baked goods before cooking produces CO2 that helps the products to rise. I guess you might have a little interest to know the ingredients of a baking powder. If yes, continue reading.

Ingredients present in baking powder:
The important components of baking powder are sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and starch. Usually this product is available in market in 2 different forms like single acting baking powder and double acting baking powder. I hope from the names itself, you can understand the reactions of those products. Single acting baking powders produces CO2 as soon as we mix the recipe and so you should bake a recipe immediately after mixing with single acting baking powder. But in the case of a double acting baking powder, a minor quantity of CO2 is released at room temperature itself when you mix the dough while a major amount of CO2 is released when heated in the oven. While baking cakes, I always prefer double acting baking powders. Now lets check out the reactions of baking powder while you bake a cake.

Reactions of baking powder in cake making

I have already mentioned that baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate(NaHCO3) and cream of tartar(KHCH4O6). When we add a water based liquid ingredient to a cake recipe, sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar react together to release CO2 gas represented as
KHC4H4O6 + NaHCO3 -> H2O + CO2 + KNaC4H4O6

Before concluding this post, let me ask you an interesting question. How can you make sure your baking powder is in good condition before you add it to the recipe? Do you know a simple test to check the quality of your baking powder? If not here it is.

Simple experiment to test the quality of baking powder
  • Step 1
    Take a cup of hot water

  • Step 2
    Add a teaspoon of baking powder to the water

  • Step 3
    Observe what happens?

  • Step 4
    If there is heavy bubbles, baking powder is in good condition

Chemistry of reaction
I hope now you are familiar with the fact that baking powder contains 3 ingredients like acid(cream of tartar), base(NaHCO3) and filler(starch). When we add baking powder to water, the acid and base goes to the solution producing CO2 bubbles.

From next time onwards, if anyone asks you about baking powder, feel confident to tell all interesting facts regarding it.


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