So, you are in the middle of the baking project and you realize you don’t have the main ingredient; baking powder. Don’t panic because here are some of the best alternatives you can use instead of baking powder and have the same results. Luckily, most of these substitutes are right before you in the kitchen.
Baking powder is a must-have ingredient for both amateur and professional bakers. It does not only make your baking process easier but also adds flavor to your baked cookies, making them delicious. Besides, baking powder is also used in many life hacks apart from baking. This means you should always have it ready on your kitchen cabinet before settling for your DIY tricks.
That sounds good, right? But the truth is that baking powder also knows how to play tricks on you. You will not always find it when you need it most. Therefore, at times, you will realize that there is no baking powder the moment you are ready to prepare your family’s morning cookie doughs. However, you should not panic anymore because here are the best baking powder alternatives you can use.
Understanding Baking Powder
Of course, before thinking about substituting your baking powder, you first have to understand what it is and how it works. Most people confuse baking powder and baking soda. Yes, both are leavening agents but have different characteristics that make them work differently.
Baking powder contains a mixture of tartar (an acid) and baking soda (base). When the mixture comes in contact with water, it forms a chemical reaction (carbon dioxide) that also forms dough- and batter-inflating bubbles. This is why baked goods such as cakes, bread, and cookies become light and fluffy.
Baking powder may also be used to make chicken extra crispy. This is because it surges the pH of the chicken’s skin in case it is utilized in place of flour in dredging. It also breaks the proteins to form carbon dioxide throughout the chicken. When left in the fridge overnight, the roasted chicken changes to brown and crackly.
Another vital thing to remember is that baking powder can last up to 12 months in the fridge when stored in a conducive environment. However, when poorly stored, it will go bad before that time elapses. This means you should always check it before use to ensure it has not expired. You can also test if it is still good to use by mixing a half teaspoon of baking powder with a half cup of water and the mixture should bubble right away to show it has not expired.
The Best Alternatives to Use
Now that you understand how baking powder works but still you cannot get it or it is expired, what can you use to salvage the situation? Several substitutes around your pantry can be used for baking. All you need is to follow the recommended steps to finish your baking project without creating explosive reactions in the kitchen. Here are a few options to consider:
Vinegar tops the list of the best alternatives because it is known to be used in many home hacks. Besides simplifying the cleaning process at home, vinegar can also be used for baking. When mixed with baking soda, the mixture releases carbon dioxide that makes baked goods rise.
To use vinegar in baking, mix a half teaspoon of vinegar with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. This ratio substitutes one teaspoon of baking powder and does not affect the final taste. You should also add a pinch of sugar to the mixture to neutralize the vinegar taste.
Lemon juice is also used in many ways, including enhancing weight loss. This is because citrus or lemon juice contains citric acid that works in the same way as vinegar. To use lemon juice for baking, mix a half teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.
If you are out of both baking soda and powder, you can still take a wider shortcut by using club soda. Club soda is a carbonate substitute that is added directly to baked goods in the form of unflavored seltzer to create bubbles. However, you should only use this alternative if you are making a flavored batter that matches the club soda in taste.
Also, club soda does not contain much sodium bicarbonate; hence, it is best if you are making goods that do not need much volume like pancakes. You can also replace the liquid in the baking process with the club soda if you are not much interested in a lot of flavors.
That pack of yogurt you have in your fridge can also save the last minute of baking if you don’t have enough baking powder. This is because yogurt has an acidic pH that can be used instead of baking powder when mixed with baking soda.
To finish your breakfast preparation, mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with a half cup of plain yogurt to create a carbon dioxide reaction. You can also add vanilla or berry yogurt to have an extra taste of sweetness.
Buttermilk is mostly tasted in pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods because it has an acidic content that makes baked goods rise. It is also mixed with baking soda to give the same chemical reaction as that is created by baking powder. To use this alternative, mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with a half teaspoon of buttermilk. You should also reduce the baking liquids by half a cup to have the best results.
A cream of tartar is a powdered acid that is produced during winemaking. It is mostly sold in baking or spice stores and is used to activate the baking soda and make baked goods rise. To create the same amount that equals one teaspoon of baking powder, mix a half teaspoon of cream of tartar with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and proceed with your baking process.
Self-rising flour is the best option if you want to avoid baking powder completely. As the name suggests, this type of flour rises on itself because it is already mixed with baking powder (raising agent) and salt. You can still add some salt if you want to balance the tastes.
The Bottom Line
The above-discussed could be the best substitutes to use if baking powder is not available. However, before choosing any of them, you should first consider the ratio and taste of your final baked goods. You should also make a few adjustments to your recipe like baking liquids to get the best results. You can remove or add some more ingredients based on the alternative you pick.