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Does Baking Powder Go Bad?

Does Baking Powder Go Bad?

The weekend is approaching and you have decided to surprise your loved ones with some tasty treats. On your kitchen shelf, you find baking powder that is almost used up and you decide to use the rest of it in the preparation of your dessert.

Right out of the oven you see that something is wrong with the final product. As you look at your failed recipe, a thought runs through your head – does baking powder go bad?

Baking powder is a baking essential used in pastry & dessert production. It can be used as a substitute for yeast and other substances. Baking powder contains a mix of baking soda, acid, and cornstarch, but the real question is – how long can it last?

To make sure whether your baking powder is usable, we’ve examined this topic in detail to provide you with all the answers you need. In this article, we will introduce you to a simple procedure on how to check if your baking powder has expired as well as a couple of useful tips that you should know about this product. 

Put away your baking gloves and read on!

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Does Baking Powder Go Bad?

The direct answer to your question is NO – baking powder can last a long time if stored properly, so the baking powder you have right now is surely good as it is.

But, to understand the reasoning behind this fact, you need to understand the difference between baking powder and baking soda. 

Most people replace this cooking ingredient with baking soda. You must have wondered, what is the difference between these two products and how long do they last?

Baking soda is the base of baking powder, and it is often added to dishes that have acidic ingredients such as lemon, vinegar, or yogurt. When in contact with soda, the acid from these foods triggers a chemical process that results in the formation of bubbles as the dough or mixture grows. 

Baking powder and baking soda usually have a shelf life of about a year or two, but, in fact, they can be used after the specified dates on the package if they are stored properly. 

Also, there is a belief that baking soda can last forever. Yes, you read this right – FOREVER.

Your baking soda has been sitting in your pantry for too long and you’re not sure if you can use it now. As long as it is kept in a dry place without the possibility of moisture collection, your baking soda is as good as new. Although an open can of baking soda can last up to 2 years, an unopened one can last forever.

What Is Baking Powder?

Baking powder is known as one of the most common kitchen supplies. This ingredient is a part of almost every kitchen and its purpose is to give all baked products their light and soft texture. Baking powder is actually a mix of acid salt, starch, and alkaline powder.

Baking powder is an unavoidable ingredient in making sweets such as pancakes and cakes, but it is also used in making bread and other loose dough baked products. Whether baking powder will be used in the recipe usually depends on the relative acidity of the other ingredients in the dough.

Let’s take a look at the overall composition of baking powder. 

Composition Of Baking Powder
63% baking soda (5/8)
25% potassium tartrate (1/4)
12% organic starch (1/8)

Single-acting & Double-acting Baking Powder, What Is The Difference?

No matter the recipe, when cooking you should know the difference between single-acting and double-acting baking powder. Although both baking powders cause the goods to rise, their difference is reflected in the chemical composition.

  • Single-acting powder reacts when it is mixed with a water-based ingredient. This kind of baking powder produces carbon dioxide bubbles that make the goods rise after they are mixed.

Be careful! If you wait too long to bake your food or over-mix your ingredients the bubbles will escape and your food will fall flat.

  • Double-acting powder, on the other hand, produces carbon dioxide bubbles when the ingredients are mixed and most of the rising of the baked good occurs once it is properly heated.

You will most probably come across single-acting baking powder in TV commercials while double-acting powder is more suitable for home cooking and is easily found in any store. 

How To Tell If Baking Powder Is Spoiled?

As long as your baking powder is kept in proper conditions, it will remain usable. However, there is always a possibility that the expiration date on the package might have passed. While preparing goods, you might ask yourself – is my baking powder still good? No one wants to use expired ingredients in their meals so here are a few helpful tips on how to check if your baking powder is spoiled or not. 

How to test if the baking powder is still fresh?

There is a super-easy way to check your baking powder. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Shake the baking powder in the can for about 10 seconds. 
  2. Pour hot water into a small bowl.
  3. Take 1 teaspoon of baking powder and add to the hot water.

If the baking powder is good, the mixture should bubble instantly and you are allowed to use this in your recipe.

If the baking powder is spoiled, there will be minimal bubbling and fizzing. The powder will end up floating on top of the water.

Here is a video to help you check your baking powder.

Even though your baking powder has expired, it can still serve some purposes. So, what can expired baking powder do? Here are just some of the useful examples:

  1. Clean stains in sinks and on countertops.
  2. Smother small grease fires near the stove.
  3. Raise the alkalinity in a spa or a hot tub.

How To Store Baking Powder?

It is very important to know how to store some of the basic baking supplies. The case with baking powder is that it is most commonly stored in the pantry because it comes in a metal tin with a tight sealing lid.

The baking powder, as well as baking soda, should be kept in a dry cupboard at room temperature, away from heat and moisture. When measuring it, you should only do so with a clean and dry spoon. You should also close the lid promptly after each use. 

Storing baking powder in your freezer or refrigerator is not recommended mainly because of the condensation that can make the powder react and make it useless. 

A study conducted at Brigham Young University showed that a particular baking powder stored in proper conditions for 29 years produced biscuits that had little difference regarding height or appearance from the ones that were made with fresh baking powder.

In conclusion, the best way to store this kind of baking supply is a dark and cool place away from low temperatures and moisture.

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Does Baking Powder Go Bad – Conclusion

So far, we have walked you through some of the most important points regarding baking powder. After reading this article, you will be familiarized with what baking powder actually is, how to store it and how to tell if it is spoiled. The baking powder, as well as baking soda, share the same shelf life of about a year or two, but they can last longer if kept in proper conditions.

There is a slight difference between single-acting and double-acting baking powder but there is no difference in their storage. 

You can use an extremely easy test to examine your baking powder – shake the can, fill the bowl with hot water, sip the baking powder and mix!

Even if you end up being disappointed by the results, don’t worry because an expired baking powder can still be used for cleaning stains and smothering small grease fires!

Now that you know everything that you need to know, bake away!