Baking Powder

(Thanks to readers KayeC, Pickles, Melinda, Susan K., Shirley, and Heather for their help in tracking down information for this post)

Baking powder: an ingredient that is so helpful to gluten-free baking and yet one that is often misunderstood.  I thought I would do a post to help answer the questions I’ve been getting about it.

There are two main issues with baking powder that need clarification.  One is the difference between single acting and double acting baking powder and the other is the fact that some baking powders include wheat starch as ingredient.

Baking powder, as you probably know, is what is called a “leavener” in baking.  Further, it is a chemical leavener, to distinguish it from yeast or steam as leaveners.  A leavener, as you might guess, is something that leavens—or raises—baked goods.  Without leaveners, baked goods would be flat and hard—because they would have no air holes.  Leaveners create the gas or steam that works on air pockets in baked goods during the baking (and rising ) process to lighten them.

Many gluten-free baked goods need a little (or a lot) of extra leavener because the gluten-replacer isn’t as elastic as gluten.  And double-acting baking powder is an important leavener when baking cakes, muffins, and even breads because it has a lot of strength.

Baking powder is not the same as baking soda—but it contains baking soda.  Baking soda, also known as bicarbonate of soda, is an “alkaline” leavening agent.  If you remember your high school chemistry, you might remember that alkaline is the opposite of acid.   Baking soda needs acid to create the chemical reaction that causes it to bubble.   Remember school experiments where you mixed baking soda with vinegar (an acid) to create a bubbling mess that could be used as “lava” on a model of a volcano?  The combination of the baking soda and the acid in the vinegar releases carbon dioxide that causes the bubbling.  And it is this bubbling that causes baked goods to rise.

Therefore, baking soda is used in baked goods that have some sort of acidic ingredient, such as: buttermilk, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, citrus, or chocolate (not Dutch process).  It needs the acid in these ingredients to start the bubbling, gas-releasing process that raises the baked item.  Please note that Dutch process cocoa has had the acidity neutralized.

But, there are many baked items that do not contain an acidic ingredient and in which baking soda won’t work.  That’s where baking powder comes in.  Originally, baking powder was a combination of baking soda plus an acid.  In fact, most recipes for homemade baking powder contain baking soda mixed with cream of tartar for the acid.  This solves the problem of a recipe not containing an acid for the baking soda to work on—baking powder includes both items in one neat package.  This type of baking powder is called “single acting”—it contains one acid for the baking soda to work on.

In commercial forms of baking powder, a starch is also included to protect against premature reactions caused by humid storage conditions.  The added starch is something that can cause problems for gluten-free bakers.  Years ago, the most commonly added starch was wheat starch—making baking powder not gluten-free.  Nowadays, in the United States, the most common starch added is cornstarch (and sometimes potato starch).  This means that most baking powders in the U.S. are gluten-free (contrary to a lot of misinformation out there that is based on old research).  However, in the UK, there are still several baking powders that contain wheat starch.  Bleh.  This is why you always need to read labels and ask questions.

Single acting baking powder was a good beginning because it created a leavener that works on any type of baked good, regardless of whether or not it contains an acid.  But, once it is mixed with the wet ingredients and the baking soda and the acid mixes together, the chemical reaction starts.  Therefore, the item to be baked has to go into the oven right away, before the bubbling action stops.  This led to another baking powder innovation—“double-acting” baking powder.  Double-acting baking powders contain a second “high heat” acid that works more slowly and that is heat-activated.   This gives the baked item two leavening actions—one that creates a rise during the mixing process and one that creates a rise during the baking process.

This extra leavening power is what makes double-acting baking powder so important and helpful for gluten-free cakes, muffins, and breads (it’s not needed for cookies, which are usually fairly flat).   Therefore, I always advise folks to add a truly double-acting baking powder to their gluten-free baked items if they are finding that things are baking up flatter instead of fluffy.  The amount needed is a matter of trial and error for each type of recipe.

Note (added 11/12/12): single acting baking powder is often just fine for most baking.  It depends on the thing you are baking.  Don’t give up on baking just because you can’t find or can’t use commercial double-acting baking powder.  I always say try it and see what happens.  My husband often accidentally gets me a single-acting baking powder when he goes shopping and it is often just fine.

Unfortunately, some baking powders aren’t really double-acting, even though they claim to be.  These baking powders still only have one acid—and therefore they do not really work by being activated by heat.    As far as I can tell, there aren’t any laws guiding the labeling of baking powders in the US.  This causes bakers to wonder what the heck happened to the fluffy factor of their cakes and muffins.   To be truly double-acting in the way we need them to be double-acting, a baking powder needs to contain 2 acids.  And, before you ask: I don’t know of any way to make double-acting baking powder at home.  Some recipes claim to be double-acting, but they just seem to add extra cream of tartar.

Therefore, it is important to read the labels.  You need to see that the baking powder you’re using has two acids, as well as the leavening agent, and a starch.  This means that a truly double-acting baking powder has four ingredients instead of the three that single-acting baking powders have.

Unfortunately, there is a further issue with many kinds of double-acting baking powder.   The second acid that is often added to double-acting baking powders is sodium aluminum sulfate (SAS).  The problem with SAS (in addition to it being aluminum) is that it has a distinctive and bitter metallic taste that is unpleasant to many people.  You may notice it in your favorite baking powder biscuits or scones.  And this taste is especially noticeable in gluten-free baking where more baking powder is often needed.

Therefore, if you want to avoid this unpleasant taste, you should get a double-acting baking powder that is labeled “Aluminum-free” (or that does not have SAS on the label).  As far as I know, as of this writing there are only two double-acting baking powders in the U.S. that are labeled gluten-free, are truly double-acting,  and are aluminum-free: Bob’s Red Mill and Argo.

Two others, Watkins and Barry Farm baking powders are double-acting and are aluminum free, but don’t seem to be labeled gluten-free.  For what it’s worth,  I don’t see any gluten-containing ingredients on their labels (which means there might be cross-contamination issues).

Added 11/12/12: Another issue with baking powder is the potential presence of GMO ingredients.  Since most commercial baking powders contain cornstarch as the starch, there is a good chance that the corn used is GMO corn (most non-organic corn in the U.S. is GMO corn.  That’s scary).  If this is of concern to you (as it is to me), I recommend that you look for baking powders that list “organic” cornstarch or “non-GMO” cornstarch.  This will ensure that you are not getting GMO cornstarch. Apparently Rumford is now doing a GMO-free baking powder–look for the GMO-free label on the jars.

Please make a note of the expiration date on your baking powder container.  Your baking powder will stay good indefinitely in an unopened container.  But, it will start to degrade once the container is opened.  This is because every time you open the container, the moisture from the air in your kitchen gets in and causes a little reaction.  Eventually, this causes the ingredients to lose their power.  So, you need to be sure that you’re using your baking powder before its expiration date.

Below is the status of baking powders available in the United States, the UK and Europe (as of 11/9/12).  This list is to be used as a guide, not as a definitive word.  Please read labels before you use anything, as ingredients can change.   And note that if it is not expressly labeled “gluten-free,” you can’t be assured that the product is not cross contaminated with gluten.  D/S refers to Double/Single-Acting.

*

Baking Powders Labeled Gluten-Free (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Bob’s Red Mill D corn yes
* Argo D corn yes
* Bakewell S corn yes
* Clabber Girl (Davis in UK) D corn no
* Rumford (owned by Clabber Girl) S corn yes
* Hain S potato yes
* Ener-G S none(?) yes
* Barkat (UK) S rice yes
* Dove’s Farm (UK) S corn yes
* Allergycare (UK) S potato yes
* Nutrifare (UK) S potato yes

*

Baking Powders Not Labeled Gluten-Free but w/GF ingredients (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Watkins D corn yes
* Barry Farm D corn yes
* Calumet D corn no
* Frontier S corn yes
* Dr. Oetker S corn yes
* Weinstein (UK+Europe) S corn yes
* Steenburg’s (UK) S corn yes
* Magic (Canada) S corn yes
* Tesco (UK) ? rice ?

*

Baking Powders Not Gluten-Free (11/12/12)
Brand D/S Starch Alumin Free
* Borwick’s (UK) s wheat yes
* Noel’s (UK) ? wheat ?
* Herbs Gardens+Health (UK) ? wheat ?

Let me know if you find out information that differs from the info I have here! Thanks!

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Comments

    • says

      Kyaw: I’m not sure how to answer your question. There are many sites online that explain how to make your own single-acting baking powder. I prefer to use double-acting baking powder, which you cannot make at home currently.

  1. Rebecca says

    Just found your post. Thank you. I’m new to GF and have tried a couple of bread type recipes which are fine but seem to be pretty dense. Just a guide line, and somewhere to start, would you suggest adding 1 tablespoon of baking powder to a recipe that requires 2 cups of SR Flour? I think I have sourced the Bobs Red Mill baking powder.

      • Judy says

        I have just found this site. I want to commend all you great ladies out there take the time share your experiences and researches to the world. It is just incredible! The information sharing is awesome! I was looking for information relating double acting baking powder GF, corn free, aluminum free. Any all the players out there have made it incredibly easy for me. Thank You! Thank You! and many more Thanks!!!

        Have a great day all.

        Judy B.

  2. says

    I have never read anything that has so much info about baking powder and baking soda. It explains a lot about baking with them. Thanks so much for all about them. I am 92 and have the most complicated list of reactions to so many different thing. I have searched and searched to find recipes I can use. I get reactions to dairy, wheat, soy, yeast, .sugar and a lot of flours. besides a lot of produce. I went to Job Lot and bought the flours in your gluetin free flour mix., but couldn’t find sweet rice flour. I am going to try Amazon. Do you know of another place where I could find it. Thanks again for your post and all the information. Frances Haynes

    • says

      Frances: Amazon is a great place to order from! That’s where I order my flours! Also, I sometimes find the Sweet Rice Flour in my regular grocery store in the “Ethnic” section in a white box with the name “Mochiko.” You might want to check your local grocery store to see if they have it.

  3. nat power says

    We have one available in supermarkets in Australia that is McKenzies gluten free “double acting” made with Rice Flour, bicarbonate soda and sodium acid pyrophosphate. I read this article and all the comments because I was hating the metallic taste in my baking. Love your tip about checking if the other starches I am using are ‘off’. How would I do that when I am usually buying from a bulk store provider? No expiry dates on packaging.

    Funnily enough it is the flavour in the raw mixture I cannot handle, probs shouldn’t be eating that anyway. The baked goods are mostly ok unless I am having a fussy tongue day. Other people can taste the metallic aftertaste however. I have tried using less. Nigella once wrote that if you don’t have GF baking powder to use then whip like crazy in the mixing ingredients stage to aerate well, this would be ok if eggs are separated for recipe or the recipe has eggs. I haven’t tried it yet.

    Thanks for this post, it made me go check. I wrote the comment so that people looking for GF brand without corn have a new option to explore.

    • says

      Nat: Thank you so much for the recommendation! I will add it to the list! And yes, I also recommend that folks beat their fat and sugar and then eggs very well–definitely helps with the rise of baked things.

  4. Jenn says

    Hi there from cooooolllld Canada,

    First of all, BIG Thank-you for this wonderful article, it finally makes sense why I repeatedly was ill from many reputable (clean) gluten-free recipes, as I’m allergic to corn – even worse than wheat for me.
    Secondly, there is a wonderful baking powder by a local Canadian company that is very allergy aware & has a dedicted facility. The company is called Purest, & their line is both gluten & corn free. Their website is http://www.purest.ca, with our (Can) dollar where it is, 4.50 for a big bag may beworth shipping costs. (their chocolate chip cookies are soooo yummy).

    Thanks for taking the time to both publush these wonderful teaching articles, but also dilligently & compassionately respond to your commenters.

    • says

      Jenn: Oh shoot–I’m so sad that you were reacting–that’s no fun! Also, I will check out the baking powder you recommend and add it to my list. And thank you so much for the comment and the kind words!

  5. Denise says

    I just wanted to add that Fleischmann’s Baking Powder is double-acting, gluten and aluminum free. It’s sold in bulk at Costco in Canada. It’s not labeled as aluminum free, but their website http://achfood.ca/ach-brands/fleischmanns/ states that it is aluminum free. I bake with it and have found absolutely no metallic taste.

  6. Alice says

    Jeanne, this list has been super-helpful to me (as evidenced by the fact that I still reference it 1.5 years later).

    But I’m commenting because I think I’ve found an option for those of us who want a “true” double acting, corn-free baking powder! Bakewell offers an option to buy plain sodium acid pyrophosphate. Since Hain’s baking powder has a different acid (monocalcium phosphate), I’m planning on combining the SAPP with the Hain powder to make a double-acting semi-homemade version. Since this is the combination of acids Argo uses, I’m hopeful.

    The shipping from Bakewell is a fair bit for a little 8 oz package, so I don’t know if I’ll always find it worth it to keep it on hand, but I’m hoping it’ll have a long shelf life, since it’ll be packaged up on its own.

    • says

      Alice: I really commend your diligence in research. I’ve been looking into the individual acids, as well. As far as I can tell, sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) is used in tandem with monocalcium phosphate (MCP) in addition to baking soda to make a true double-acting baking powder. If I’m reading the research correctly, using SAPP without the accompanying MCP means that it doesn’t work like a double-acting baking powder. Bakewell itself has SAPP plus baking soda–which makes it work more like a single acting baking powder. Bob’s Red Mill Double Acting Baking Powder contains SAPP plus MCP plus baking soda, which means that it works like a true double-acting baking powder. That said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try! Also, I’m not a chemist, so I’m not completely sure on how all of this works. Please let me know how it goes for you!! (Also, nice to “see” you! :) ).

  7. says

    Does anyone know about Trader Joe’s baking powder? It is aluminum free and double acting. The ingredients listed are: Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cornstarch.

    It seems to be gluten free, but it is not included on the TJ gluten-free products list.

    • says

      Zoe: from what I can tell, Bakewell is one of those baking powders that claims to be double-acting but really isn’t. It only contains 1 acid rather than the 2 needed to be truly double-acting.

      • Zoe says

        But the ingredients on the starch-free Bakewell Cream Baking Powder list: Acid Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate. Aren’t both of those acids?

        • says

          Zoe: No, sodium bicarbonate is baking soda which needs an acid to get it going–which is the acid sodium pyrophosphate. To be truly double acting, it would need another acid on top of that one. It’s very confusing.

  8. KayeC says

    Borwicks UK: Wheat Flour, Raising Agents: Acid Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate.

    Herb Gardens Health is same as BestIn brand in the UK:
    Wheatflour, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (E450i) Sodium Bicarbonate (E500ii)

    For UK – From comparing ingredients:
    Dove’s Farm looks similar to Rumford
    Bob’s Red Mill looks similar to Argo

    I think Herbs Gardens Health looks like own-branded product, so

    Thanks for this level of detail – I was spending lots of time coming up with the same info when thankfully I found your site!

  9. kim says

    gluten sensitive people may cross- react to corn products that have gluten-like proteins , so corn starch could be a problem for some.

  10. Heather says

    I didn”t have time to read through all the replies, so someone else may already have mentioned it, but there”s a product now available in Canada, by US firm ACH, out of Memphis: Fleischmann”s gluten free double acting baking powder.

  11. sandra says

    This site is great has a lot of geat information. New to gluten free baking and also allergic to all king of additives and such. Have been using this baking powder with no problems hope it helps. Hain /featherweight/baking powder, soduim free, gluten free, ingredientes monocalcuim phosphate, potato starch, potassuim bicarbonate. Its alittle pricey about 7.00 where I live.

  12. Tara says

    Hi Jeanne, thank you for all of your hard work an I’m sorry if this info is on your site but I can’t find a clear solution. I’m searching for if there can be a substitution for yeast, I have an intolerance. And now with this great baking pwd info I see where else my breads are going so horribly wrong. Maybe you have a recipe that will work better without yeast than others? I’m at my wits end and just about to give up and I already placed an order with all the flours, gum, and baking pwd to make your flour mix which may be a waste of time and money.

    • Tara says

      Also I should let you know that I have been using cream of tartar and baking soda. I have a moderate corn intolerance so it looks like double acting Bp is out. But I also have many factors that I haven’t figured out yet, such as, is my bread machine on its way out, oven temp, mixing by hand, etc. again all info and tips from you so thank you again.

    • says

      Tara: There really isn’t a good substitute for yeast in terms of making actual bread that tastes like yeasted bread. Therefore, you need to stick with things like biscuits, muffins, and “quick” breads.

    • Terri says

      I never use yeast in my bread and my husband loves it. I use baking powder and baking soda. I also use 1 tbsp of vinegar. I use 4 eggs and 2 egg whites. Makes a terrific loaf of bread. I use a mxture of flours including almond.

  13. Becky B says

    This is pretty much exactly what I was looking for! It’s like the cooks illustrated for gf :). I have a question I didn’t know if you could answer… I’m converting a cake recipe to gf.. it currently contains soda and buttermilk. Should I add powder or make it as is this time to see how it goes? Thanks a lot.. again, super informative and now I feel smarter!

  14. Christie Cho says

    Thank You For This Wonderful Information. Sorry It Took Me So Long To Find It. Can You Advise In Gf Baking A Ratio For Baking Soda And/Or Baking Powder To Flour?

  15. Jen says

    Awesome article. Will pass it on to my g/f friends.

    I have a question: Made a g/f corn muffin recipe that called for 2T baking powder, and 1 t baking soda for 12 muffins (1c g/f a/p flour, and 1c corn meal). I used Bob’s Red Mill double-acting Aluminum Free BP. The muffins fluffed up beautifully, but the metallic taste is strong! The sides of my tongue are buzzing. The after taste is STRONG.
    I can’t share these with anyone. So sad.
    Would you say to reduce the amounts of baking powder or go back to single action?
    Thanks!

    • says

      Jen: Yeah, that sounds like too much baking powder. I would reduce it to 1 TBL and see what happens. Also, be sure that the baking powder hasn’t expired–the starch in it might have gone off. Also, make sure that any other starch in the recipe hasn’t gone off (tapioca starch, corn starch). I also get the metallic taste when I eat starch that has gone “off.”

  16. bellaflor says

    To those looking for gf flours, I recently learned that coconut flour and almond flour are glutn free and great for weightloss as well. I tried a microwavable recipe from the Dr. Oz show and found that it tasted a bit bitter. It used both baking soda and baking powder. Could it be the combination of the two to give the cake that bitter flavor?

    • says

      Bellaflor: Well, it could be the flours. But the aluminum in baking powder has a distinctive bitter flavor that people don’t like.

  17. Tamra says

    This is hands down the MOST informative piece on baking soda and baking powder I’ve ever read. Thank you, thank you! I often find myself wondering why the heck I have to put either or both in my baking, and why sometimes I taste it and sometimes I don’t.

    Is Single-Acting or Double -Acting better for a bread machine?

  18. Aba says

    I got tired of reading too much info. Complicated…already too complicated to have a toddler with gluten intolerance, milk intolerance soy intolerance, etc etc to have to read all this page to find out if I can or not use baking powder is a waste of time! Good try, but I will check other pages… I was thinking if I should write this. But I am tired of people that says “your new haircut looks great on you” when is the opposite.

    • says

      Aba: I understand your frustration with having a toddler with so many food issues–my daughter is the same way. That said, this is information I provide to my readers free of charge and after a great deal of research. Also, I’m not sure what the haircut remark means.

    • Appreciative Reader says

      Aba… No one forced you to read this. Perhaps in the future you should keep your unhelpful and negative comments to yourself.

      I thought this was an invaluable piece about something that apparently a lot of us were curious about. Thanks Jeanne for wading through the research and doing the leg work for us! Keep up the good work!

    • Sandi says

      Thank you for doing the research and sharing this great information! I’ve avoided wheat since 1996, and I’ve recently had to avoid corn also. This list is invaluable to me!

      Aba – why complain? Why not just move on? My son was a toddler when we had to avoid 55 foods and one environmental toxin to restore his health. He’s now 20 and doing great, but I do know how hard it is to wade through the information. Be thankful you have the internet. I only had the library and books.

  19. Alison says

    This was truly helpful information. Do you have advice on what to substitute for the cornstarch in baking powder? I have yet to find baking powder where I live here in the US that does not contain cornstarch. I am going to attempt the use of cream of tarter and vinegar in order to get the necessary reaction – obviously combined with the baking soda. Have you tried this? Thanks for your insightful information!

    • says

      Alison: If you make homemade baking powder, you don’t really need to put in the starch. But if you do, you can use potato starch or arrowroot starch. Also, homemade baking powder is fine–but be aware that it’s not “double-acting”–meaning it isn’t as powerful as the commercially made double-acting baking powders.

  20. aubrie says

    I am searching for a Certified Organic Baking Powder that is Gluten FREE. Does this exist ???
    Any help would be appreciated.

    • says

      Aubrie: You need to do a search for this. I’m not sure how do-able it would be–I don’t know how they would determine the organic-ness of the chemicals. But the starch can be certified organic.

  21. Olaf says

    What an excellent source for good information! It was really helpful.
    But I also wanted to post here that if you live in London, the Bob’s Red Mill is available in Whole Foods Market close to Piccadilly Circus. I Found it there today and I’ve been searching for it for a few days now and finally found it there! :)

  22. says

    What a fascinating article on baking powder and so much info!!!! I will definately try the double acting in my flower scones : ) Thank you so much for taking the time to write Jeanne, you just became my hero : ) WArmly, Camille

  23. says

    Magic baking powder in Canada is gluten-free and sooo easily available. There’s also a gf and corn-free baking powder available here made by El Peto (in Cambridge, Ontario). I believe they ship to stores in the US so they may ship to a personal address. Hope this helps 😀

    • Nat says

      Thank you, pickles! New born to the world of gluten free I’ve been researching ingredients like crazy. I make most of our food from scratch as it is. I am very happy to find sites, conversations and lists like this one from people who have put their time into serious research. I was getting a little concerned about most products being talked about are from the US and UK in terms of their availability in Canadian grocery stores. Magic is my brand of baking powder so I am happy to read it is gluten free. Fleishmann’s corn starch also says it is gluten free on the package near the nutrion table. Please note however, it is a statement “corn starch is gluten free”. Not an actual claim. I don’t want to get fleishmanns in trouble.
      Nat
      London,ON

  24. Nicci says

    Hi Jeanne:

    Thanks for your post. I am baking a gluten-free and sugar-free carrot cake for my husband’s birthday. I got the recipe from epicurean.com (plan on replacing the all-purpose with GF flour). The recipe calls for both baking powder and soda, but I’ve heard that yeast (and proofing the yeast) can be used as a leavining substitute for powder. Is that accurate? Thanks!

    • says

      Nicci: No, yeast has very separate qualities that make it unsuitable as a substitute for baking powder/soda. I would just go ahead and use the baking soda and baking powder. Happy baking!

  25. Priscilla says

    I have a question:) I’ve just started my process of gluten free baking, so I’m new to this. I made gluten free cinnamon rolls and I added baking powder instead of yeast, they did rise but not like they should have. They were spread out and very dense, is that normal? They tasted great. But weren’t the prettiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made. Does anyone have any guidance?

    • says

      Priscilla: Yeast and baking powder react in fundamentally different ways. You can’t substitute baking powder for the yeast and get the same result. Yeast works by converting the starch in the flour to carbon dioxide, which raises the bread. Yeasted breads usually go through at least one rise before they go into the oven–where they get another rise. The yeast is a living thing, so it keeps working until the yeast runs out of food or until they are baked. Double acting baking powder goes through 2 distinct rises–one when it comes into contact with the liquid and then another when it comes into contact with the heat. The raising actions are not as sustained or long lasting as those of yeast. This is why bread uses yeast for its leavener versus baking powder or baking soda.

    • Lori says

      Hi Priscilla! I made some healthy g-f cranberry/pecan muffins the other day following a “banana bread” recipe I’ve been using for years. They were delicious, but not light and/or fluffy. I remembered, these are NOT cupcakes; however, I made them again today and added baking powder instead of baking soda, and they were much lighter. Baking banana bread is fine with baking soda, so you can slice it nice and thin…more dense. With baking powder, for muffins, fluffier and so much better!

      • says

        Lori: Who’s Priscilla? 😉 Also, baking with baking soda requires the presence of acid for the soda to work. And you’re right, baking with double acting baking powder makes most cakes and muffins lights–because it’s more powerful and works twice in the process instead of once.

          • says

            Jeanne, you’re welcome. :-) I was just going by what the product itself shows. If you click on the larger view, it shows “double-acting” right on the package. I certainly see your point though! It sounds like a good question for the company.

            Shirley

          • says

            Shirley: Yeah, I think I need to contact the company. I’m wondering if this is the same thing as the old recipe Rumford, which says double acting but is actually single acting. Sigh.

          • says

            Jeanne–I had emailed the owner of the company on the website asking if the baking powder contained corn before I discovered the starch-free one further down on the page, so when he replied today, I went ahead and asked about the “double acting” description. His reply was: “The acid sodium pyrophosphate is double acting.” I don’t know if that makes sense (you are the expert on this topic!) or if you agree, but thought I’d pass it on.

            Shirley

          • says

            Shirley: Thanks for the research. I am intrigued. I don’t know enough about the science here to know if one acid can serve as both a fast acting and slow acting acid–which is what you get with other double acting baking powders. I think this is worth a try for folks who can’t do cornstarch. If people do try it, let me know how you think it works. Thanks!

  26. Christine B. says

    I’m allergic to corn, so your list is disappointing. No double acting, corn-free baking powders out there. *sigh* It’s not even hard to replace the cornstarch with potato either. I have yet to get homemade baking powder to really work for me and gave up bread for a while because of it (before my corn allergy diagnosis I was an avid gluten-free bread baker). I’ve now started dabbling in sourdough as a way to circumvent the need for baking powder in bread, but was really hoping to find a baking powder that would work for me in the long run. Plus I have a daughter who will soon need an allergy-friendly birthday cake and I have no idea how to get around needing baking powder to make that.

    • says

      Christine: I don’t think you need to give up on baking because you can’t find double acting that is good for you. Use one with potato starch or make your own and go. Many recipes will work just fine with single acting. The problem is that some recipes really–really–need double acting and if you don’t use double acting, they are flat. But, most recipes are OK with the single acting. For example, the Fast, Easy, Elegant Chocolate Cake on this site does not use baking powder at all–and it is one of the most delicious and requested cakes I make!

  27. Wendy says

    Jeanne, this is great, thank you! When I was working as a cook in Italy, it was impossible to find baking powder that wasn’t vanilla-flavored. I wonder if that’s changed in the last ten years.

  28. Amanda says

    What a fascinating article. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that making GF bread at home (I live in the UK) is always so disappointing. I’ll look forward to the day that double acting baking powder finds its way onto UK shelves.

    • says

      Amanda: It does seem like the UK has a serious gluten-free baking powder shortage. I think it would be worthwhile to write to the manufacturer of the baking powder you can find in your local store and ask them to consider to go gluten-free. Also, keep in mind that the main leavener in bread is yeast–so you should still be able to make good gluten-free bread!

  29. Heather says

    Rumford has a new GF (stated clearly on front of label) baking powder that is truly double acting! It is about half the size as the red tin and has a silver label. It is sold as “Rumford, Reduced Sodium, Premium Aluminum Free, Baking Powder.”

    The ingredients are: calcium acid pyrophosphate, cornstarch, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate (made from non-genetically modified cornstarch).

    Below the ingredients it states processed in a peanut free facility.

    I’m so happy to find this! I like Argo’s formula, but was unable to purchase it again, since the one store that had it stopped carrying it. This one is nearly identical, except for the potassium bicarbonate, but who cares? It’s only a little more expensive, so in my book, it’s totally worth it! Hope this helps!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Gluten-free: Replace the flour with a mix of 2 gluten-free flours. I like to use 1/3 potato flour and 2/3 garbanzo (aka chick peas) bean flour, but use what you like. If you can find it, use a double-acting, aluminum-free, gluten-free baking powder. Bob’s Red Mill, Argo, and Rumford are some brands that carry these. The Art of Baking Gluten Free has a great article about finding the right baking powder for gluten free baking. […]

  2. […] So clearly, this is a great cookbook! Note that it is a gluten-free cookbook and does not focus on recipes that are what I call “more free” (e.g., dairy free, sugar free). However, Jeanne does share a table for Butter and Dairy Substitutions before her recipes. Finally, not only does Jeanne give you her “tried and true” recipes, but she also explains gluten-free baking concepts such as how certain ingredients work with others to empower you to be able to create your own gluten-free recipes or other variations of her recipes. (Here’s an example of that type of instruction over at Jeanne’s blog when she discusses baking powders needed for gluten-free baking.) […]

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