The Real Reason You Should Make Your Own Baking Powder

When you need to craft the perfect cake or sheet of cookies, you can't afford to skimp on baking powder. According to Sally's Baking Addiction, this ingredient consists of a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and occasionally cornstarch. These components make the baking powder act as a leavening agent, helping your foods rise on the stove or in the oven. While you could pick up some of this powder on your next grocery run, you also have the option of concocting the ingredient at home.

To make baking powder in your own kitchen, you just have to mix together baking soda and cream of tartar (via Food & Wine). By combining simple proportions of both components, you can end up crafting a tailored ingredient that can fit any recipe. This process may sound tedious, but astute home chefs with a refined palette might notice that this combination easily tastes better than store-bought baking powder thanks to the omission of one ingredient.

Why homemade baking powder tastes better

According to Food & Wine, commercial baking powders contain sodium aluminum sulfate and other chemicals. These additions give the store brand powders a metallic aftertaste and make them less-than-ideal for use in biscuits and cakes. Simple baking powders, like the one you can make at home, create a single reaction when mixed with wet ingredients. This reaction results in the desired rise, but also brings out the rich taste of butter or the sour bite of buttermilk in your cooking. The addition of the chemicals in the store-bought baking powder helps create a second leavening reaction, ensuring your bread and cakes have that extra rise but imbue an unpleasant taste to the final product.

The downside to the homemade powder lies in the fact that it lacks a second reaction. This means that once the powder hits the wet ingredients, you need to quickly move your batter or dough straight into the oven or pan, or else you might lose some leavening potential. With a bit of practice, you can master working with the homemade version of baking powder and easily impress friends and family with the flavors this DIY add-in brings out. Just make sure to make enough bread or cake so everyone can get seconds — you know this secret ingredient will make your cooking irresistible.