As you might know from reading my 101 uses for Baking Soda and my 25 uses for Apple Cider Vinegar I love finding multiple uses for common household items. It saves money and space, and who doesn’t love both of those things right? In this article, let’s talk about different uses for baking powder.
How long has your baking powder been in your cupboard? Chances are, a pretty long time unless you bake regularly. According to Healthline, baking powder is used to help your baked goods rise. A cake without baking powder is a flat cake. It hasn’t always been around, and before the invention of baking powder, making a cake was very difficult.
Be careful not to confuse baking powder with baking soda. Baking soda is just sodium bicarbonate, according to Livestrong, while baking powder is sodium bicarbonate with two more acids (monocalcium phosphate and sodium acid pyrophosphate or sodium aluminum sulfate). The extra acids allow the dough or batter to not rise until it heats in the oven. Baking soda, on the other hand, causes an immediate reaction. So, what if your baking powder has expired or you’ve had it for so long, you aren’t sure if it has? Will your baked goods fall flat?
Test your baking powder
It’s easy to tell if you’ve used too much baking powder in a recipe because whatever you’ve made might rise too quickly and you’re left with a crumbly mess. The rise means it is a good baking powder; however, the quick rise that goes too far means there is an overabundance of it. But how do you know if you’ve used baking powder that’s no longer any good? If your baking soda is expired, your yummy treat won’t rise and will likely be too dense. Things like cakes, cookies, and cupcakes need the chemical reaction that takes place with the baking powder so they can fluff up. Your food is edible, but it won’t look good or have the right texture.
The best thing to do if you’re unsure is to test it out before adding the powder to the recipe. David Lebovitz explains that to test your baking powder before using it, put ½ teaspoon of it in a bowl and then pour ¼ cup boiling water on top of it. If your baking powder is still active, it will bubble like crazy. If it doesn’t, dump it out and buy new baking powder. On average, the shelf life of baking powder is only six months. It should be kept in a cool, dry place; if it isn’t, it might need to be replaced sooner.
How To Tell If Your Baking Soda Has Expired or is Still Fresh
Determining if your baking soda is fresh enough to bake with is easy and something you may need to do if you are getting ready to do some baking. You don’t want to end up with a cake or brownie that doesn’t rise.
How to Test If Your Baking Soda Is Still Fresh
To find out whether your baking soda has gone bad, you will need some acid, such as vinegar. Baking soda reacts with the acidic ingredients in your recipes to produce carbon dioxide gas. Those bubbles of gas are what act to make the dough rise. Yeast and baking powder also produce carbon dioxide gas to make the dough rise.
- Toss a spoonful of the baking soda into a bowl.
- Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice or other acidic liquid.
- If the mixture fizzes heavily, the baking soda is still good.
- If you don’t get much of a fizz, your baking soda has gone bad.
- Use the rest of the box for cleaning or set in the fridge open to remove odors; but buy another box for your baking.
Does Baking Soda Go Bad?
Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time. You can use a rule of thumb—two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package. While old baking soda may not produce as much leavening action, it is still safe to eat. Your recipes may not turn out as well, but you can still eat the results.
Unlike baking powder, baking soda needs an acid to activate it. Simply absorbing moisture from the air won’t trigger its bubbling reaction. It is why baking soda is sold in cardboard containers that open with a loose flap, rather than a sealed container as with baking powder. Baking soda commonly does not have an expiration date on the package.
Your baking soda might go bad if it has been exposed to acidic moisture. Maybe you left it on the counter, and it got wet with water that contained vinegar, lemon juice or another acid. Maybe your water is a little acidic, or it picked up acidic residues from your counter. You would probably notice that the box has gotten wet, and you may see the results of the bubbling action.
Baking powder is different; it has the acid component included in the powder. Over time, the ingredients will break each other down, especially if the container has been opened and exposed to air, from which it can pick up moisture. You would need to pay attention to its expiration date. It is also smart to label baking powder with the date you have opened it.
How To Store Baking Soda For the Best Shelf Life
Keep your baking soda dry for the best shelf life. If your cupboard is close to your stove or above your dishwasher or sink, items in it may be getting exposed to steam when you cook or operate the dishwasher. You may want to put your box or bag of baking soda in a plastic ziplock bag or in a storage container to keep out moisture.
Baking essentials like baking powder can be found in any chef’s pantry — from novices to professionals alike. A common leavening agent in baking, it makes otherwise thick batters soft and flat doughs rise (via Healthline). But with many baking recipes calling for only tiny teaspoons of the stuff, it’s common for people to hold onto half-full boxes of it for years. It’s only when it’s finally time to break out the powder again that you discover its expiration date has long passed. The ink is half-faded, you can barely make out the number 14 behind the slash mark.
You may accumulate expired baking supplies because you don’t want to waste them, and baking powder can be a common victim of this sad tale. So maybe you only make your special Irish soda bread recipe, it’s not your fault most of the ingredients are now older than a middle-schooler. When it comes time to bake you may find that you technically have all the ingredients ready at home, their freshness is just questionable. Should you risk using the aged baking powder or just make a trip to the store?
Baking powder or baking soda?
If you sometimes use baking soda in your recipes, you might be wondering if baking powder is the same thing. Well, it’s actually not, according to Healthline. Baking soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate, a chemical compound that creates carbon dioxide gas when mixed with an acid. This reaction brings height and fluff to baked goods. On the other hand, baking powder is a mixture of both sodium bicarbonate and powdered acid.
Although the products are very similar, both creating the carbon dioxide gas that makes doughs rise, they’re used in different recipes. Baking powder is for recipes that contain little or no acidic ingredients (via Arm & Hammer). Since baking powder is double-acting, it has two types of acids in it. These acids will react at different times, once when you mix your batter and again when it is heated. This process adds volume to acid-less baked goods, usually cookies or cakes. On the other hand, you should use baking soda in recipes that already have acidic elements in their ingredient lists. In this case, only one chemical compound is needed to help the batter rise. If you’ve seen some recipes that include both baking soda and baking powder, this is because baking soda alone cannot create the desired lift.
So clearly baking powder is an extremely useful tool for the kitchen. If you do happen to let it sit in your pantry, here’s what you need to know about its expiration date.
What that expiration date really means
If you do happen to let your baking powder lie, here’s what you need to know about its expiration date. For the most part, the date listed on the box is mostly a suggested use-by date. Like most stuff used in the kitchen, the year listed on your baking powder is how long the product will hold before its quality starts to diminish. In other words, you can still use baking soda after its expiration date, it just might not be as effective. MasterClass says that for most unopened boxes of baking powder, this is around 18 months. Once you open the box, it will usually stay fresh for three to six months if kept in a cool, dry place.
According to MasterClass, baking powder is a grocery with a surprisingly long shelf life and will always be safe to use. If you want to use that long-expired powder, feel free. But you might want to make sure it still works before incorporating it into your batter. You can test your baking powder’s efficiency by stirring it into hot water. If bubbles or fizz appear, it is still effective and ready to use. If not, you may want to pick up a new box from the grocery store.
Here are My Top 10 Uses for Baking Powder
So, you forgot about that baking powder you bought last year and now it’s expired. Don’t throw it away just yet! There are actually a few surprising uses for expired baking powder that might come in handy. And for me, the best way is to use expired baking powder to clean!
Baking powder can be used as a natural cleaner for various household items. It can be mixed with water to make a paste and used to scrub away stains on sinks, countertops, and stovetops.
Use it to soak for pots and pans – Stuck on foods making pots and pans hard to clean? Soak them in a mix of hot water and baking powder and you won’t have to scrub so hard!
As a Crayon Mark remover -Did little one decided to use the wall to make a master piece? Use a mix of hot water and baking powder and gently scrub the marks off with a toothbrush.
As a Cleaner for your Microwave – Put 2 tbsp of baking powder and 2 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. This will loosen any stuck on food and make it where you can easily wipe it clean!
Baking powder can be used to absorb unpleasant odors in refrigerators, closets, and shoes. Simply place an open container of baking powder in the area and let it absorb the odor.
You can sprinkle some baking powder on your carpets and then vacuum it up to suck up some of those set in odors. The same can also be done for car seats (fabric, not leather)!
As a freshener for your shoes: Fill a pair of socks with baking powder and tie off the ends. Stick them in shoes you want to keep fresh!
Baking powder can be mixed with water to create a natural deodorant. Apply it under the arms to absorb moisture and neutralize odors.
Put a tsp of baking powder in with your clothes and it will help remove odors in the wash.
Got a grease stain on your shirt? Sprinkle some baking powder on the spot and leave it to soak up the grease, wash as usual and the grease spot will be gone!
Check out this Homemade Best Degreaser Recipe
Ants invading your house? Mix an equal amount of baking powder and salt and sprinkle around the outside of doors and windows to deter them.
As a Gas Blocker
A tsp of baking powder in water while cooking dried beans will lesson gas and bloating that comes from eating the beans!
As a Drain Opener
Baking powder can be used as an ingredient in homemade playdough recipes. It helps the playdough to rise and become soft and pliable.
Fruits and Vegetables Wash
Baking powder can be used to help remove pesticides and other chemicals from fruits and vegetables. Soak them in water with a teaspoon of baking powder for 10-15 minutes before rinsing them off.
So there you have it, 10 uses for baking powder that you may not have thought of before! What is your favorite use for baking powder? Let us know in the comments below!
Like my 10 Uses for Baking Powder? Read more tips
Baking Powder Substitute
10 Clever Other Uses for Baking Powder That You Never Knew
I’m sure most of you have a container of baking powder in your house, and I don’t know about you, but I use about a tbsp of it about 3 times a month, so I always have a ton left over!
Also check out my 101 Uses for Baking Soda
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