Remember that time when you were about to start baking, had checked off all the ingredients—eggs, flour, sugar, milk, butter—and just as you got your hands dirty, realized you’ve run out of baking powder!? Calm down, we’ve all been there!
We know that baking powder—a raising agent—packs the power in a pinch, to make or break your cake!
But did you know that you can bake a moist airy cake and crispy cookies without baking powder? Here are some crackling ideas to substitute its superpower. Work of caution, these ingredients only mimic the process of leavening.
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Butter Milk and Baking Soda
“The acidity in buttermilk makes it a good substitute for baking powder,” says Nayindra Chetry, executive pastry chef at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel. For one teaspoon of baking powder, you can add half a cup of buttermilk. But wait, just buttermilk may not give you the desired rise, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda too needs to be added to the mixture. Buttermilk and baking soda together make for a good alternative for baking powder.
An important point to keep in mind: Since you’re adding this liquid, you may have to reconsider the amount of other liquids to be used in the recipe to maintain the ideal consistency.
If a recipe requires three teaspoons of baking powder, you can replace it with a single teaspoon of baking soda suggests chef Rakesh Talwar, head chef at Vice – Global Tapas Bar, Mumbai. “Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch, so baking soda is one of the most common and a good substitute. But to get the right effect, you will have to throw in an additional acidic element,” he explains. You can add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every half teaspoon of baking soda that you add.
“Something as common as whipped egg whites can do the trick too as they help infuse aeration in whatever we mix these in and help the final product rise,” shares chef Talwar. It can impart a fluffy and light texture to the baked goodies. All you need to ensure is that the egg whites are whipped to perfection. Basically, until it gets fluffy.
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An old-time baking secret, molasses is a syrupy natural sweetener used in cakes, cookies, and other baked goodies. Chef Chetry says molasses combined with a portion of baking soda can be used when you’re out of baking powder. “When mixed with baking soda, molasses forms an acid, which does the work of baking powder in the process,” he adds. You need a quarter cup for molasses with quarter teaspoon of baking soda to replace a teaspoon of baking powder. And since, it is liquid sugar, you will need to balance the amount of sugar and liquids in your recipe accordingly.
Cream of Tartar
Another great substitute for baking powder is cream of tartar, a white powdery substance, although it is more of a stabilising agent than leavening. “To simplify this, cream of tartar helps trap air molecules but it isn’t self-raising like baking powder. Understand how it works as cream of tartar can be easily misinterpreted,” explains Talwar. When using it in recipes, replace one teaspoon of baking powder with half teaspoon of cream of tartar and a quarter of baking soda.