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Baking powder is normally available in two forms:

  • instant
  • slow acting

Most domestic / retail brands are slow acting in that the dough, batter, etc may require being rested to allow a fermentation process to take place before baking, frying, etc.

A good commercial instant baking powder that is also stable is Hercules.

Baking powder is a combination of:

  • one part baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to two parts cream of tartare (tartaric acid)

As the baking soda is a alkaline, when combined with the tartaric acid and a liquid it begins to ferment, forms CO2 which allows products to aerate.

But the very thing that makes baking powder work also makes it unstable and gives it a short shelf life, as eventually the two chemicals cancel each other out. When this happens the baking powder is dead and anything made when using it will not rise.

Purchasing the two chemicals separately and making your own baking powder will greatly increase the shelf life and always ensure you have a good, workable baking powder. Alternatively, purchase baking powder in small amounts and use frequently.

Baking soda can also be used as a raising agent, for example Irish soda bread. In this case buttermilk is normally used (or milk with a small amount of vinegar added). This acidity activates the alkaline of the baking soda to produce CO2.


  • No specific recipe

Food and Cooking Tips
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Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

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