White Stuff

August 2, 2012


Homemade Baking Powder
I can hear your little voices penetrating the ethernet, “Homemade baking powder, you have got to be kidding!”. That’s what I thought when I first discovered it a few days ago while researching Tea Breads for an upcoming class. Although I have no interest in the ancient origins and histories of food, quirky things intrigue me and I had to know more.

The advantages to making your own include freshness, no chemical taste in the finished baked goods, avoidance of GMO’s by purchasing organic cornstarch and aluminum free baking.

My off the shelf baking powder contains calcium acid pyrophosphate, cornstarch, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, and monocalcium phosphate. Some baking powders contain aluminum compounds which create a metallic taste in food. We’ll take them one at a time.

Calcium acid pyrophosphate is a chemical compound formed by the reaction of pyrophosphoric acid and calcium phosphate. It is often used as an abrasive in toothpaste.
Cornstarch is how it sounds.
Sodium bicarbonate is baking soda.
Potassium bicarbonate is often added to bottled water to affect the taste.
Monocalcium phosphate is phosphate rock treated with calcium carbonate and is used as a fertilizer.

If you make your own, these are the three ingredients you will need: baking soda, cornstarch and cream of tartar, which is potassium bitartrate, a crystalline residue that forms in wine casks during fermentation.

Homemade Baking Powder
Makes 1 teaspoon. Increase proportionately as needed.
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Sift together all of the ingredients and use immediately.

One last thing I didn’t know is that these ingredients have a shelf life and should be used up within 6 months or discarded. Store in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Actually, there is so much more to non-yeast leavening agents which form carbon dioxide bubbles that cause your baked goods to rise. And there’s acid reaction if you are using things like buttermilk or yogurt in your batter or dough. It’s all too much for me to take in at once, much less remember. So we’ll save it for another post that will include making a savory quick bread. I promise.

Other White Stuff
The two plants in my new white garden that are flourishing and being ignored by deer are the Cosmos and Victoria White Salvia, both annuals but I’ve read that the cleome reseeds itself. However, when you see how many seeds it produces, you will most likely not allow too many of the seed pods to burst.


White Cleome Cleome hassleriana alba

Victoria White Salvia Salvia farinacea alba

The white roses are a favorite of the deer living in the woods just across the street. I’m trying to sprinkle homemade deer repellent regularly (you’d think I’m a product of Mother Earth News, but I haven’t had a subscription since I moved to the country!). I take some empty orange juice bottles and fill them with water, then add 1 crushed clove of garlic, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a squirt of dish washing liquid, and 1 egg. Shake it up, place in the sun for a few days. Lewis drilled holes in one of the tops for me and it acts as a sprinkler. No need to strain and put in a sprayer. I don’t even clean them out because the horrendous smell just gets the next batch going. The hard part is sticking to the program and reapplying after every rain and as new growth appears.

Two words of caution learned from experience:
1.Add the dish liquid AFTER the water and
2.Shake the container with an UNDRILLED top on.
Yes, haha.

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6 Responses to “White Stuff”

  1. mary Says:

    Nice explanation, thanks.
    Mary from New Hope

  2. Barb Says:

    Great info. Thanks I’ll try the Baking Powder!

  3. mary Says:

    Any verjus yet?


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