In case you haven’t noticed, we know a whole lot about baking powder. And we know quite a bit about baking powder substitute. If you are looking for substitutes for baking powder, you’ve definitely come to the right place. When we are not baking moist and fluffy pastries, we are keeping stock of our vast supply of baking powders for our South Florida customers and beyond.
Those of us who love cake, cookies, and all things sweet, substitute baking powder can be a life saver. Sometimes, baking powder is not available so we have to use the next best thing.
You may be asking what can I substitute for baking powder? We have a few great suggestions that’ll make you think twice about how to make your baked goods. The homemade substitute for the baking powder that you use really depends on what taste and texture you are looking for. Maybe the recipe calls for a sugary flavor or you may be looking for a liquid replacement.
Not having baking powder available may just be an opportunity to do something different this time around. But, before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about the basics of baking powder first.
What is baking powder?
Technically, baking powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar, and a drying agent used to replace yeast in baking. It is a leavening factor used in baking — when combined with water, a reaction takes place between the acid and the sodium bicarbonate that releases carbon dioxide gas. When this happens, bubbles form, giving wonderful volume to your favorite bread and pastries.
Not to further complicate things, but baking powder comes in single-acting or double-acting baking powder. The difference between the two is quite simple.
- Single-acting baking powder produces carbon dioxide as soon as the recipe is mixed.
- Double-acting baking powder creates more bubbles as the recipe heats up in the oven, and typically contains calcium acid phosphate, which releases small amounts of carbon dioxide. No matter what, you can still use the same amount of either one in a recipe.
To be clear, baking powder and baking soda are two very different and unique ingredients. They are used for different reasons in baking but are often confused since they both are leavening agents.
Baking soda is a salt, also known as pure sodium bicarbonate. It’s for this reason that additional acids are used with baking soda. Yes, it’s all about chemistry. Depending on what the recipe calls for, baking soda or baking powder will be used as a leavening agent.
Sometimes, a recipe calls for both if you are looking for a tangy flavor or a little more browning. It’s ok if you missed this in chemistry class. All that matters now is the flakiness of the crust and the rise of the bread! So, you’re probably thinking, what can I substitute for baking powder already? We have the scoop!
What is a substitute for baking powder?
There are many great substitutes for baking powder. The ideas we’ve included can be homemade or store-bought, but all are effective for a flawless end result. Whether you’re making tortillas or your grandma’s secret cake recipe, these baking powder substitute hacks will put a little excitement into your baking routine.
1. Cream of tartar
Let’s start with the obvious first. Cream of tartar, which is part of baking powder, serves as a great substitute due to its acidity. It is a byproduct of winemaking and is typically used in stabilizing egg whites and for prevention of sugar crystals.
You can find it in the spice aisle at most grocery stores and is a good ingredient to always have on hand. Whether you’re making delicious snickerdoodle cookies or sweet syrup, cream of tartar is sure to add thickness and volume to your recipe.
Oh, the joys and uses for buttermilk bring smiles to our faces. As a precaution, if you are currently dieting, adding buttermilk to other sweeteners to your mix is a recipe for calories and increased fat. However, if you’re lactose intolerant and are looking for a heart-healthy substitute to use, buttermilk is easy on the stomach and great for the bones.
While old fashioned buttermilk is a churned byproduct of sweet cream, commercial buttermilk is developed through adding bacterial cultures to milk inducing fermentation. One of the great things about buttermilk is that it adds acidity when mixed with baking soda to produce the same leavening reaction you’d get from the baking powder.
If you’re looking to maintain the same texture and consistency throughout the baking process, decrease the amount of other liquids in the recipe.
3. Plain yogurt
This may not seem like the obvious choice, but it is a great substitute. Like buttermilk, it is produced through the milk fermentation process. Its high acidity makes it a perfect substitute that can be used to make delicious cakes. Remember, much like buttermilk, the addition of other liquids changes the acidity in the recipe.
A bit old fashioned but never outdated, molasses is a wonderfully sweet baking powder substitute that adds richness and flavor to any pastry recipe. It’s best to reduce the amount of additional liquids and sweeteners when adding this ingredient to the recipe.
Although strong and distinguishing in flavor, vinegar has the perfect pH to make a great baking powder substitute. Produced through alcohol fermentation, vinegar has a leavening effect when mixed with baking soda. For a colorless and tasteless addition, white vinegar is best.
6. Lemon juice
It’s no surprise that lemon juice has the desired acidity for maximum leavening effect. Due to its strong flavor, you may want to reserve this substitute for specific recipes or add very little to reduce the chances of an overpowering flavor. You won’t need much baking soda to reach your desired recipe effect.
7. Self-rising flour
When you are in a pinch and out of both baking powder and baking soda, self-rising flour comes to the rescue. It’s made by combining regular flour, salt, and baking powder, so it has everything needed to create the rising effect you are looking for. By replacing regular flour with self-rising flour, it’ll be like you never missed it. Viola!
To bake or not to bake, that is the question. With all these options, that is the only question you’ll need to ask yourself after deciding on what substitute you prefer to use and make minor changes to your recipes. All the alternatives presented are healthy, inexpensive, and easy to find. Whether you’re making a homemade substitute for baking powder or store-bought, you can’t go wrong with these choices.
Like we mentioned before, we know a thing or two about baking powder substitutes. If you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share with us, using any of these alternatives, we’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page.
In the meantime, if you have questions or just need some baking powder, we are always here to turn your recipes into edible works of art. Until next time, happy baking!