The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Powder

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Baking Powder

Yes, that's right... baking powder. I'll bet you've never given it much thought before. I know I hadn't. I mean, I know there are basically two kinds---aluminum-based (I call that "regular") and aluminum-free, right? I assumed all aluminum-based baking powders were pretty much the same, and all non-aluminum powders the same. But it turns out that I was wrong on both counts. My recent foray into biscuit-making and quest for cloud-like loftiness, inspired me to do a little informal research into the science of chemical leavening.

It all started with the Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits I baked one night to go with a big pot of homemade vegetable beef stew. I was still on the hunt for a biscuit recipe that I could be happy with, so I turned to the mini library of Cooks Illustrated hard-bound annuals housed in my living room bookcase. CI has several biscuit recipes to choose from, but since I had never laminated them before, I thought the flaky type might be worth a shot.

The only real decision to make was which baking powder to use. Being an avid baker, I keep a selection in my pantry---aluminum-based for when a strong rise really counts, and aluminum-free for when the taste would otherwise overpower. I decided on Clabber Girl, because I can't really remember what's in the glass jar. I think it is Bakewell Cream Baking Powder, which would have been a good choice, except that has a relatively short shelf life and its age is questionable. Rumford is my favorite for cakes, but not much else. So, Clabber Girl it was.

I was both thrilled and impressed with the recipe, for its high rise and many layers. But I was disappointed in the flavor, which closely resembled "biscuits-in-a-can." In other words, a very strong baking powder taste, owing of course, to the full tablespoon of baking powder called for in the recipe. I thought, no problem, I'll just use half Clabber Girl and half Rumford next time. I do that for some things, to get the best of both. But the rise was only mediocre by comparison. Rumford is aluminum-free and gives me great results in butter cakes, but it seems to fizzle too soon in some of my quickbreads, and wears itself out in the mixing bowl---especially when buttermilk is in the mix.

Left: Clabber Girl
Right: Rumford-Clabber Girl combo

At this point, I started wondering about (Original) Bakewell Cream, which is billed in The Baker's Catalog as the "secret ingredient" for biscuits. I checked around a bit on the Internet, and it does indeed receive very high marks by the New England biscuit makers in its limited distribution area. If this is really THE biscuit leavener, then really... don't I need to try it? So, I bit the bullet and placed an order.

While waiting for the Bakewell Cream to arrive, I turned my attention to Calumet. This is the one I grew up with. Once widely available, it is getting harder and harder to find around here. I searched four stores before finally scoring myself some. It gave my biscuits better flavor than the Clabber Girl, but the rise was not much better than the half-and-half Clabber Girl-Rumford combination. Perhaps that's a clue as to its formulation.

But the exciting thing was, that while on my mission to find Calumet, I stumbled upon a new baking powder. Well, it's new around here anyway, and I had never seen or heard of it before (plus, it says "New!" right on the label). I'm talking about Argo Baking Powder; have you seen it? Yep, it's the same people who make the cornstarch. What's so exciting about this baking powder, is that it has the same active ingredient as the Bakewell Cream, and unlike Rumford, it is a true double-acting, aluminum-free baking powder.

What does that mean? What makes all these baking powders different, you're wondering? Well, the basic equation is the same for all: baking soda + acid = lift. In the presence of moisture, baking soda reacts chemically with the acid, and CO2 bubbles released in the process make a batter or dough rise. Baking soda is the constant, but there are an array of acids to choose from, which can be sorted into two distinct categories---fast-acting, and slow-acting.

Fast-acting are acids that work at room temperature. They react in the mixing bowl when dry and liquid ingredients are combined, to give "bench rise." A good example is cream of tartar, which was used in the first commercial baking powders, and is still used in homemade preparations. The fast-acting acid ingredient preferred in commercial baking powders today is monocalcium phosphate (MCP).

Slow-acting acids don't react right away. They require heat to get going, and don't start reacting until the batter or dough reaches at least 120 degrees F. This is called "oven rise." Slow-acting acids include: sodium aluminum sulfate (SAS), sodium aluminum phosphate (SALP) and sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP).

A baking powder is said to be single-acting if it contains only one acid. If the acid is fast-acting, then the baker will need to get the batter mixed and into the oven very quickly---before it loses its bubbles or it won't bake as high. A double-acting baking powder includes both fast- and slow-acting acids. These are designed to create carbon dioxide gas more slowly, and over a longer period of time. Some bench rise during mixing is advantageous in creating bubble structure, for things like butter cakes, pancakes and waffles. However, a strong oven rise appears to be more important for things like biscuits and cornbread.

Here is a breakdown of the baking powders I tested, and a couple others that aren't available to me locally:

If you've stuck with me this far, you probably want to know how the Bakewell Cream measured up against Argo and the rest of the powders. I have to say that Bakewell Cream's lift rivaled that of Clabber Girl, but the flavor was a whole lot better. You have to combine Bakewell Cream---which is just an acid---with your own baking soda, to create the baking powder effect. Some may find the extra measuring a nuisance, but the advantage is that, unmixed, it keeps indefinitely. Baking powders, on the other hand, have a limited shelf life of about a year.

The Argo biscuits baked up just as light as the Bakewell Cream, so I almost had to declare this one a tie. But Argo eked out the win based on flavor (and the fact that I don't have to mail-order it---not that I wouldn't for something that is truly better). The flavor thing was such a close call, though. I really thought they would taste the same, and had I not had the opportunity to have them side-by-side, I wouldn't have noticed the very slight difference. That's how close it was. So for the lightest, best-tasting biscuits, I would say, opt for something with sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) in the ingredient list. If there is a secret ingredient, that would be it.   -Debra Wink

Left: Argo biscuits, baking
Right: Bakewell Cream biscuits, cooling

Comments

crunchy's picture
crunchy

Thank you for this post, Debra. I learned something new tonight.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, Debbie, for posting this great reference for TFL.

--Pamela

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

It's good to know.  Unfortauntely we don't have Argo or Bakewell where we live.  We have Clabber Girl and Calumet.  Next time when I use baking powder I will pay closer attention to how the volume and taste turn out.  Great blog!

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Since it's a new product, it may just not have made it into your area yet :-) Check the bigger, national chain stores. Or, look for Bob's Red Mill at your nearest health food store (or wherever BRM products are sold). BRM lists the same ingredients as Argo.

Of the two you have available, the Clabber Girl gave me the strongest rise, but Calumet had a better flavor. And the rise was decent, just not quite as high. This has been an interesting exercise :-)

The Yakima Kid's picture
The Yakima Kid

Food shopping is an adventure for our household since my husband is allergic to maize. No cornstarch, high fructose corn syrup, or modified food starch allowed.

The non-GMO movement has been a godsend for us as we can now find regular catsup and sauces without corn starch or syrup after an absence of several years. For many years I did most of my shopping for condiments and baking/breading mixes at Pesach even though we aren't Jewish.

I've found a very few baking powders that don't contain cornstarch; and all are single acting.

Gefen and Lieber Kosher for Passover, Bakewell Cream starch free baking powder (regular Bakewell Cream is also available starch free for combining with soda or other alkaline ingredients), and Hain Featherlight are the only ones I've found without corn starch.

I order the Bakewell Cream products from New England Cupboard online. I can find Kosher for Passover Gefen at a couple of Bay Area groceries that supply kosher foods, and I can order Lieber's from Aviglatt.com or AllFreshKosher.com. Hain can be found at some, but not all, health food stores.

The Science Company sells 1/2 pound of food grade ammonium carbonate for $9.95, which is a lot cheaper than Amazon, King Arthur, or Kitchen Krafts.

Baker's ammonia - once called hartshorn- has a couple of drawbacks. It can react with simple sugars during baking,  and then these compounds can react with asparagine (found in whole grains and nuts) to form a carcinogen. It also smells when in use. The original name came from the original process to obtain it which involved red deer antlers, and later the hooves of domestic ruminants.

Another early baking powder is a native plant found in parts of North America, known as "Quail Bush." I have used it experimentally, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're curious (or have been married to an ethnobotanist.)

Hardwood ashes soaked for bicarbonate were once combined with soured milk as a leaven as well.

The Yakima Kid's picture
The Yakima Kid

1 part baking soda to 2 parts Cream of Tartar.

Alum used to be used to make homemade baking powder, but it contains aluminum. It was also used to whiten baked goods.

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Wow thanks for this. I never knew I knew so little about baking powder! 

Just one thing regarding the buttermilk biscuits you were making. Would the acid in the buttermilk not affect the baking powder? I've found this to be an issue when making biscuits in the past with the only solution being one of working quickly and lightly to get the biscuits into the oven ASAP. When using buttermilk in something like banana bread, I understand you can add a touch of baking soda to get some extra lift but I guess that would also compromise flavour?

Thanks again for the post!

FP

 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

"Would the acid in the buttermilk not affect the baking powder?"

Yes, absolutely :-)  Even though they are separate from the baking powder, acidic ingredients in a recipe do react with the soda portion. In the recipe that I used (posted here), an extra 1/2 tsp of baking soda is added to counteract the buttermilk, so that there is enough bicarbonate left to react in the oven. Buttermilk is definitely a fast-acting acid. Other acidic ingredients include natural cocoa powder and melted chocolate, honey, molasses, brown sugar, fruit juices, and other fermented dairy, such as yogurt and sour cream.

Best,
-dw

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Debbie, thank you for the wonderful and imformative write-up.  I recently ordered some of KA Bakewell ... I have been using the aluminum free baking powder and a baking soda from the health food store..I like the aluminum free for health reasons.  It's nice to know all the extra information you have included about flavor.

Sylvia

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Sylvia, I started using Rumford after reading about it in The Cake Bible. I found the improvement in flavor to be huge, but while searching CI for info on baking powder, I was surprised to read that some of the tasters couldn't detect much difference between the powders tested (however, Bakewell Cream was never tested). I've seen it suggested somewhere, that maybe this is a genetic trait, but I don't think I buy that. Contrary to what some sources say about aluminum-based powders tasting "metallic," I don't find the flavor metallic at all, but it has a flavor that I think of as "baking powder taste." Maybe it's what others would call "chemical." Rumford and BC don't have that.

What really disappointed me in this was that CI dismissed Bakewell Cream from testing with some off-hand remark about how unappetizing sodium acid pyrophosphate sounds---as if sodium aluminum sulfate sounds any more tasty? They really dropped the ball on that one.

charbono's picture
charbono

Hain baking powder is both aluminum and sodium-free.  It seems to give a good rise.  However, in recipes that call for a lot of baking powder, it gives a bitter taste.  Would like to hear others' experience.

 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I had to look it up to find the sodium-free substitute they are using for the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Hain Featherweight Baking Powder relies on potassium bicarbonate for the bicarb portion, and monocalcium phosphate for the acid (just like Rumford). So, the only difference, really, is potassium in place of sodium.

I think salt substitutes are generally potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride, are they not? I know they taste a little bitter to me, so I think it might be safe to say the potassium is your culprit.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Charbono, here's a sodium-free baking powder, that uses calcium- and magnesium carbonate, instead of potassium or sodium. It might have a better taste. Don't know.

Click here: Ener-G Food Baking powder

I got the link from Kit Chen's blog:

Click here: Baking powder | Bowl of Plenty

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Thanks to you too, Pamela and Crunchy!

Marni's picture
Marni

More great info here on TFL.  I'm definitely going to look for the Argo BP now.  I also notice the taste difference, but haven't had all this info to help me correct it.  Thanks so much.

Marni

ques2008's picture
ques2008

appreciate the enlightening info!

charbono's picture
charbono
Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Good to know:

"Calcium and aluminum-containing leavening acids allow good gluten development for volume and texture, while sulfates and phosphates interfere with gluten development and reduce gas retention."

Not sure exactly when gluten develpment in chemically leavened things will be an issue, but knowing this should help me look for and consider it. The problem is, where do you put aluminum phosphate and aluminum sulfate?

Does anyone know of a SALP baking powder available to home bakers? I may add Magic and Hain to my chart. Any others that I should add?

charbono's picture
charbono

 

After reviewing Debra's analysis of baking powder, I bought some Bob's Red Mill powder, and our biscuits have now attained perfection.  I also appreciate Debra's voice of reason on aluminum and Alzheimer's disease.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I came across Bob's a couple days ago while looking for dried coconut in the health food section of HyVee. (This was where I found the Argo too, but on the baking isle.) I was so tempted to buy it just to see if it performs the same, but made myself hold off since I already have the Argo and Bakewell Cream. I'm so glad that you tried it out. May I ask which powder you used for biscuits before?

Thanks so much for the field report :-)
-dw

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

Thank you so much for all your contributions to this forum.  I'm new here, and I've found your posts to be exceptionally informative.  I had posted a question about Rumsford on the Cook's Illustrated forum since CI had an article about the different kinds of baking powder, and the Rumsford label ("double acting") seemed inconsistent with the CI article.  No one on the CI forum seemed to see it, but your article recognizes it.

A CI recipe for blueberry scones says that the dough can be refrigerated overnight.  The recipe doesn't specify, but I'm assuming that this will only work with the true double-acting baking powders -- the aluminum-based that are heat-activated.  Based on your experience and knowledge, will the Argo also hold up to a night in the fridge and still activate the next day?

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I hope Xaipete is still around, because she might have a definitive answer for you. She was testing a diferent laminated biscuit recipe back then, that was supposed to be chilled between cutting and baking. She was using Rumford, and getting some sad biscuits that looked about like my Clabber Girl/Rumford combo. I wonder if she ever tried a different baking powder. Pamela, are you out there?

My guess is that CI develops their recipes with Davis, because they seem to picture that one most often. It isn't available in my part of the country, but is made by Clabber Girl. Maybe they're the same formulation.

I'd certainly give the Argo a try, and would expect it to hold up as well as Clabber Girl or Davis to a night in the fridge, but I don't have any "data" to back that up. If you do try it, please let us know how it turns out.

Thanks again,
-dw

Click here: Following are the most common brands of baking powder found in your local grocery stores: 
 

Calumet Baking PowderCalumet Baking Powder is sodium aluminum sulfate - a phosphate powder in which the acid ingredients are sodium aluminum sulfate and calcium phosphate.

Available in the United States. Owned by Kraft Foods.

Calumet Baking Powder is gluten-free and certified Kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.


Clabber Girl Baking Powder

Ingredients: Corn Starch, Bicarbonate of Soda, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Acid Phosphate of Calcium.
 
Available in the United States. Owned by Clabber Girl Corporation.

Clabber Girl Baking Powder is gluten-free and certified Kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.


Rumford Baking Powder

 Ingredients: Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Food-Grade Cornstarch.

It is an all-phosphate baking powder (containing calcium acid phosphate - no aluminum).

Available in New England and the northeastern United States. Owned by Clabber Girl Corporation.

Rumford Baking Powder is gluten-free and certified Kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

 


Davis Baking Powder

 Available in New England and the northeastern United States. Owned by Clabber Girl Corporation.

Davis Baking Powder is gluten-free and certified Kosher by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.


Magic Baking Powder

It is an all-phosphate baking powder (containing calcium acid phosphate - no aluminum).

Magic Baking Powder is manufactured by Kraft foods Canada and sold only in Canada.

Magic Baking Powder is certified Kosher by the Kashruth Council of Canada.

 

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

.. but I'm trained in the Socratic method, which also involves testing and proof.  I haven't seen the Argo, but I will look for it.  Will report back on the refrigerator scone experiment.

Darth Lefty's picture
Darth Lefty

Nice topic!  Glad it was bumped.  Now...

A few months ago for my health I went on what I guess you could call a low-sodium binge.  The doctor has now told me not to worry about it so hard, so I stopped avoiding things with baking powder.  But while under the gun, so to speak, I did a little research and discovered there are ammonia-based baking powders, also known as hart's horn.  I got my reprieve before I actually went and bought any.

Does anyone here have an opinion on them?

A problem I've found with the sulfate baking powder is that, if you eat too many biscuits, you are liable to regret it later.  In an elevator, next to someone you're trying to impress, probably.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

As I understand it, baker's ammonia is only appropriate in things that are baked long enough to allow the ammonia (it tastes and smells unpleasant, even while baking) to completely dissipate, so its applications are very limited. It supposedly makes thin cookies and crackers a bit crispier. I tried it once in a crisp cookie recipe, and didn't think it any kind of improvement. Unless you have a specific recipe that calls for it, I wouldn't bother.

Click here: Baker's Ammonia (Ammonium Carbonate) - 2.7 oz.

Even in a tightly sealed jar, mine completely disappeared after a year or so in the pantry.   -dw

FlyinAggie's picture
FlyinAggie

Bakewell Cream can be ordered for half the price of King Arthur's from www.newenglandcupboard.com.  If I can't find Argo locally I'll order it.  I must say, this is a most enlightening article and as a brand new member I am duly impressed!  Thank you, Debra et al for such an amazing amount of good, useable information!  This was everything a good article should be - informative, interesting, and articulate, with good research to back up the hypothesis.  Applause, applause! 

 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

and welcome to The Fresh Loaf!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

As a Mainer (though from "away") I like Bakewell Cream, because it was invented here, and is very popular. I mix the amount for a few months and always had great results.

Right now I'm stuck with all kinds of leftover baking powders from my daughter, Rumford and what not. I never thought there were any differences in taste.

Thanks for your thorough information, Debra.

Karin

belle's picture
belle

You can buy Bakewell cream products here for about 1/2 the price of KA:

 

www.newenglandcupboard.com

enjoy..

Linda

tempe's picture
tempe

Wow, this is definitely a very interesting post.  I had no idea there were so many baking powders on the market, I live in Queensland, Australia and we have a choice of two small containers at any of the shops in my area.  White wings and Wards; the latter having two ingredients - rice flour and sodium bicarbonate no aluminium mentioned.  I have only ever had your style of biscuits once when I visited my brother in Calfornia about ten years ago and I really enjoyed them much to my brothers amusement, we have a similar type of thing called scones.  Now they can either come out like little rocks or come out nice and fluffy depending on how the dough is handled, if you press it out with the rolling pin generally you will have pushed out all of the air from the dough, it is best to just pat out the dough and use a glass to cut out the round shapes and they puff up beautifully every time.  Some people even use lemonade in their recipes as the liquid and raising part of the dough.  I don't like the taste that it leaves but many people swear by it.  I use milk or cream. If anyone would like the scone recipe to try for comparison sake or just to try let me know or you could go over to www.notquitenigella.com and search for QVB Scones as that is the recipe I use .  Anyway thanks again Debra for a very informative and enjoyable post. 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Since you mention lemonade as leavening agent in liquid batters - my family's German pancake recipe requires no baking powder, but, instead, the use of sparkling water. The eggs are divided and the egg whites beaten. That is a totally sufficient way to make the pancakes light without leaving an off-taste.

Karin

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

as Debra said the only application is with very crsip cookies. You can't make certain biscotti without it. They cook long enough to dissipate the ammonia taste. The resulting crispness is second to none. We have perfected the Biscotti di Regina using the ammonium and they are exactly like the ones that Angelo Brocato's bakery makes in New Orleans. We tried for years to duplicate and finally succeeded when we switched to our own rendered lard ( strutto) and the ammonium. I am on the lookout for some of the baking powders mentioned above. A wonderful discussion Debra !  c

Antilope's picture
Antilope

A 60-oz (3.75-Lb - 1.7-kg) container is $ 5.78.

The Yakima Kid's picture
The Yakima Kid

Food shopping is an adventure for our household since my husband is allergic to maize. No cornstarch, high fructose corn syrup, or modified food starch allowed.

The non-GMO movement has been a godsend for us as we can now find regular catsup and sauces without corn starch or syrup after an absence of several years. For many years I did most of my shopping for condiments and baking/breading mixes at Pesach even though we aren't Jewish.

I've found a very few baking powders that don't contain cornstarch; and all are single acting.

Gefen and Lieber Kosher for Passover, Bakewell Cream starch free baking powder (regular Bakewell Cream is also available starch free for combining with soda or other alkaline ingredients), and Hain Featherlight are the only ones I've found without corn starch.

I order the Bakewell Cream products from New England Cupboard online. I can find Kosher for Passover Gefen at a couple of Bay Area groceries that supply kosher foods, and I can order Lieber's from Aviglatt.com or AllFreshKosher.com. Hain can be found at some, but not all, health food stores.

The Science Company sells 1/2 pound of food grade ammonium carbonate for $9.95, which is a lot cheaper than Amazon, King Arthur, or Kitchen Krafts.

Baker's ammonia - once called hartshorn- has a couple of drawbacks. It can react with simple sugars during baking,  and then these compounds can react with asparagine (found in whole grains and nuts) to form a carcinogen. It also smells when in use. The original name came from the original process to obtain it which involved red deer antlers, and later the hooves of domestic ruminants.

Another early baking powder is a native plant found in parts of North America, known as "Quail Bush." I have used it experimentally, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're curious (or have been married to an ethnobotanist.)

Hardwood ashes soaked for bicarbonate were once combined with soured milk as a leaven as well.

 

Donkey_hot's picture
Donkey_hot

Debra, Thank you for posting your research, I've been  using Clabber Girl  and this very specific residual taste did bother me quite a bit, even though I used very little.  Just bought Argo and can't wait to taste the difference! :)

 

RaptorRich's picture
RaptorRich

I know it's an old thread, but today I learned. Thank you for the great explanation of baking powder. 

I found this as as I was searching for answers to dismal crowns on my muffins. I have some Bobs Red Mill that was hidden under other stuf. So I'll try that today, instead of Clabber Girl. Also ordered some Bakewell now that I know what it is!! The forever shelf life combined with good tasting breads may make that my regular. 

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

If you're not getting your muffins to crown with Clabber Girl, Bob's probably won't do it for you either, because they both have about the same leavening power. But do try Bob's for the taste. For better crowning, here are some things to try:

If the batter is thin enough to pour, the formula may have too much liquid for the flour you're using. You want it thick enough to spoon with a disher. Try reducing the liquid, or increase the flour a little.

If the consistency seems right, the oven temperature may be too low.Try raising the temp 25 degrees and see if they'll pop for you.

If the batter is thick enough, the temp seems right to you (good color on the outside when they're just done on the inside), and your baking powder is fresh and potent, it could be that it needs to be increased.

Best baking to you,
dw

RaptorRich's picture
RaptorRich

thanks. I'll have to do some testing. I may have to do something drastic like actually follow a recipe!!!

PlainPopcorn's picture
PlainPopcorn

contains Aluminium potassium sulfate/Potassium alum/E522 next to the bicarb. They call it double acting (that's why I bought it) but it's got only 1 acid. I bought it in a 454 gram canister for only a small amount of money (like 1 euro 40 or something) at the asian supermarket because here in the netherlands we usually only get one kind of baking powder (bicarb with Disodium diphosphate/SAPP).

This is what it looks like http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aT9kUCQbT1Y/Teap3_xihWI/AAAAAAAAABE/W1yLy5Iocyc/s1600/IMG_2783.JPG

I was curious if anyone has any experience with this stuff (or a bp with the same ingredients). I googled but the internet hasn't thrown me any information on how to use and how much.

Back of the canister says; the ratio of flour and baking powder is freely according to various conditions.

denim's picture
denim

This is a great thread!  I just joined due to this thread, and because of my question, below.  I found this thread pointed at by Casual Kitchen when I went to buy more Davis' to replace my 12 oz can, which I just finished this week.  I think I might try selling the tin on eBay. :-D

Anyway, having now read this whole thread, it occurred to me that, given I like baking pretzels and therefore have a container of NaOH (lye), I wonder what kind of acid I might combine with it to make a REALLY POWERFUL baking powder.  Any suggestions?  Should I give this idea up, given that I probably don't want exploding baked goods?

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

There's no carbon, or -carbonate in lye to produce carbon dioxide. No carbon dioxide, no lift. But you probably found that out by now. :)

Best,
dw

denim's picture
denim

I suppose that could be added by the acid.  No, haven't tried it yet.