Do you know how to test baking powder to find out if it is fresh enough to make your dough rise? Maybe you didn’t know baking powder goes bad. If you have ever baked something that should have risen but didn’t, this is the post for you. And if it hasn’t happened to you (yet), this may be a cautionary tale.
Last month my Abby Dodge chocolate shortcakes were delicious. However, they definitely did not rise as they should have. I followed the recipe and even made a second batch. Same, sorry result. The recipe called for both baking powder and baking soda. I checked their expiration dates and found that both were well within their expiration dates.
Don’t believe everything you read.
Last week, cruising around David Lebovitz’s blog, I found his easy test for baking powder: add ¼ cup of boiling water to ½ teaspoon of the baking powder – if it is still good, it will bubble vigorously. If the water doesn’t bubble, the baking powder is no longer “working” and won’t help your baked goods to rise.
I tried the test on the baking powder used on the chocolate shortcakes almost 18 months before the baking powder’s December 2013 expiration date. Here are the results:
Then I tried the same test on a can of baking powder I bought recently. Paradoxically, the expiration date for the newer can is more than 6 months earlier than the one that I’ve had for a while. (May 2013 vs. December 2013) I’m not sure what to make of that, but figure that it is a mystery that doesn’t need to be solved.
Here are the results with the newer baking powder.
Many thanks David – for teaching me a simple trick to test baking powder for freshness. I think I’ll test my baking powder periodically from now on to insure that it is still working – before using it in shortcakes or other baked goods. In fact, maybe I’ll try the chocolate shortcakes again!