What are some healthy alternatives to baking powder? I have heard that it is not the best for your body. Thanks!

a Whole Foods Market Customer


ChefOno February 19, 2013

I get it, Diana, but even buying in bulk you'd end up paying 4 times the price of the can conveniently stocked next to the flour and sugar at your local grocery. Maybe only 2 or 3 times as much as Rumford which also solves the aluminum and GMO fears expressed on this page. No judgment intended, just pointing out a few facts.

Diana B. February 19, 2013
Just countering your grocery store prices, Chef! Even if you waste most of it, you're still ahead of those.
ChefOno February 19, 2013

That should raise -- what -- 500 biscuits or thereabouts?

Diana B. February 18, 2013
You can get 1.2 lbs. of cream of tartar on amazon.com for $8.99 and 1 lb. of arrowroot for $3.39.
ChefOno February 18, 2013

Baking powder runs about 20 cents per ounce at my local market. They want $4 per ounce for Cream of Tartar and Arrowroot. Just saying...

WileyP February 18, 2013
No additional starch needed - the arrowroot takes care of that. It substitutes 1:1 just fine.
Diana B. February 18, 2013
But as Chef Ono points out, if you're going to store it after making it, you'll need cornstarch or potato starch to keep the two ingredients from reacting.
WileyP February 18, 2013
If you have any qualms about using the baking powder that contains aluminum and cannot find a brand that doesn't (or if you just run short and don't have time to go to the store), just make your own:
2 Tablespoons baking soda
4 Tablespoons cream of tartar
4 Tablespoons arrowroot
-Mix it all together and store it in the empty baking powder can you just finished! Makes just over 1/2 cup.
I have used this for years and don't miss putting baking powder on my shopping list!
ChefOno February 18, 2013

If you're going to make your own -- why I don't know because it's readily available, aluminum-free and non-GMO if that sort of thing gets your panties in a bunch -- be aware the starch is there to prevent the acid and base from reacting during storage and to add bulk to aid in measuring. Without the starch, you won't be able to substitute 1:1 in a recipe written for commercial powders and you'll need to make it à la minute.

Diana B. February 17, 2013
Ophelia, the discussion Alx directed us to says 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda, which is the opposite of what you mentioned. How can we resolve, because I'd love to make my own baking powder?
Alx February 17, 2013
I realize this was a while ago but I just wanted to say that baking powder is made from baking soda. Perhaps you would be interested to see how baking soda is made! http://www.ehow.com/how_6752224_make-bicarbonate-soda.html. This is the reason I've been looking for the same answer. I think you may be interested in answers I found here http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/14928/alternative-leavening-agents-other-than-baking-powder-and-their-ratios-of-subst
Author Comment
Hain Featherweight Baking Powder contains potato starch instead of cornstarch. It is also gluten and sodium free if that is a concern.
SeaJambon May 17, 2012
Agreed -- it is the metallic taste that is most objectionable, although most commercial baking powder also includes a starch to minimize clumping. Usually that starch is corn starch. Unless it is organic (has anyone seen an organic baking powder? -- if so, please share the brand), chances are excellent the corn starch came from genetically engineered corn, and many people are concerned about GE foods. Ophelia's idea of making your own is a GREAT alternative. You probably only want to make what you'll immediately use (rather than a big batch to store) as it won't include the starch to prevent the clumping...
usuba D. February 18, 2013
Since all baking powders contain a synthetic in one form or another, it can not be certified organic, only approved for organic production via the National List of Prohibited and Approved Substances on the NOP website. Hence there is no certified organic salt in the US, only in Europe.
ChefOno May 17, 2012

Okay, now I'm confused. Why would you want to avoid aluminum?

Ophelia May 17, 2012
Because there was a worry about 10 years ago that aluminum might cause dementia. It's been since disproven.
However, some people can taste a metallic hint in biscuits that contain a baking powder containing aluminum.

My advice is to make your own baking powder. Use two parts baking soda to one part cream of tartar, the advantage is that stored apart the acid and alkaline don't interact with each other, thus are more shelf stable and will react better once moistened.
susan G. May 17, 2012
Sorry, I missed the aluminum question. That's easily avoided by buying a brand like Rumford that is a long-standing classic, reliable and widely available.
ChefOno May 16, 2012

The only rumor I've heard concerns the aluminum content of some baking powders. There's a hazy connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's but no evidence has ever been found to suggest aluminum causes dementia -- that all comes from people who don't understand the difference between connection and cause. Meanwhile, aluminum is the third most common element on Earth.
susan G. May 16, 2012
What have you heard is "not the best"? The only caution I'm aware of is for use of baking soda when cooking dried beans, that it may reduce the content of some of the B vitamins.
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