Think of muffins, cake, bread, and other baked goods; every fluffy pastry that we enjoy, we owe it all to baking powder. Because cakes and breads are carbs, those who are on a strict diet might ask the question, is baking powder gluten free? Well, naturally, baking powder is gluten free. It does not contain rye, barley, and wheat.
However, some brands sometimes add starch to baking powder especially during long storage time. And we all know that some starches are glutenous so there is that to consider. To know more about baking powder being gluten free, read on.
What is baking powder?
Baking powder is a popular leavening agent so it is used in making bread and pastries rise as they bake. This is because it contains acid and sodium bicarbonate. Scientifically, baked goods that require baking powder means that it needs the leavening function of the baking powder one, when it is at room temperature and second, when it is heated or while it is baking.
As such, there are two types of baking powder: single acting agent and double acting agent. The first one means that there is just one acid in the mixture which is either too fast acting that you need to mix it right away to the cake batter or you lose its rising power or too slow that it would only pop when heated.
The second type of baking powder has two acids and shall only react when it is in the oven. This is the one used mostly for baking goods.
What is baking powder made of?
Baking powder has three main ingredients: a base, an acid, and a filler. The base used for baking powder is usually baking soda, the acid is mostly cream of tartar (sometimes it is also made of monocalcium phosphate or sodium acid pyrophosphate) and the filler used for it is usually starch. This is the reason why its gluten free claim is contested because the starch used for baking powder might be cornstarch.
The good thing is, you can make your own baking powder which means that you can leave out the cornstarch to make it really gluten free.
What is baking powder used for?
Baking powder is usually used in baking specifically in breads and pastries that have loose batter. Because of the acid content of baking powder, it makes pastries fluffier and bouncier. But there is more to baking powder than just its culinary functions. Here are some of household uses of baking powder that you should know of:
- Deodorizer: it can be used in car seats and carpets while vacuuming. Rest assured that all bad scents are sucked up too. It is also used for your shoes to keep them fresh and deodorized.
- Helps detergent efficacy: It does not only take away the bad odor but also helps in making the clothes whiter.
- Degreaser: Baking powder is a potent degreaser, taking away stains in clothes and greasy spots in the home. It is also used in degreasing pots and pans as well as in wiping off crayon marks in the walks, floors, and wallpapers.
- Keeps off insects: for insect infestations, especially ants and mites, a mix of baking powder and salt or baking powder and water and sprinkle or spray the solution in window sills and doors to permanently keep them away.
- Drain opener: with the mix of vinegar, baking powder is used for opening clogged drains. Leave it there for 10mins and pour it with hot water. Surely it works wonders.
Is baking powder gluten-free?
As we have covered, baking powder is naturally gluten free. However, there are times when it is not, especially when it needs to be stored for a long time. In cases like this, they need starch so that the acid would not activate while stored. But there are gluten free versions of baking powder. This is covered in the next sections so read on.
Is baking powder healthy?
Baking powder is labeled non-toxic. This is the reason why it is a culinary ingredient. However, the FDA has listed baking powder to have allergic reactions to some people and might activate health complications for those with existing diseases. This is called baking powder overdose.
Nonetheless, these are only for information and there are no existing scientific claims for the existence of baking powder overdose nor treatments for this.
Is the starch used in baking powder gluten free?
Usually yes. The starches used in baking powder are potato starch and cornstarch which are both gluten free. However, due to cross contamination as well as the use of wheat starch or rye starch, baking powder can be glutenous.
Substitutes for baking powder
You would be surprised to know that there are more substitutes to baking powder than what you know. Here is a list of baking powder substitutes that you should know of:
This one is comparable to plain yogurt. It is fermented dairy so it might not be the best substitute for those with dairy allergies. When combined with baking soda, you would have a great substitute for baking powder.
We are talking about plain yogurt here. It has a high acid level which when added to baking soda makes a good substitute for baking powder.
This one is a by-product of sugar production. It can be used as a substitute for refined sugar but when mixed with baking soda, it could be used as a substitute for baking powder too.
Cream of tartar
When using this as a replacement for baking powder, follow the ratio of two teaspoons of cream of tartar to one teaspoon of baking soda.
Milk that has gotten bad and sour could still be functional due to acidification. Just add one teaspoon of baking soda to your sourmilk and you have a baking powder substitute.
Due to fermentation, it contains a lot of acetic acid which when added with baking soda can become a potent baking powder substitute.
This one is full of citric acid so all you have to do is add baking soda to it to create a baking powder substitute.
This one already contains baking soda in it because of its high bicarbonate content. As such, this one is used for pastries that require added volume.
Whipped egg whites
For a lighter and more airy texture to your pastries, you can switch to whipped egg whites. It can be used for meringues, souffles, cakes (like angel food cake), and pancakes.
This one is a good substitute for both baking powder and baking soda. It is made from the combination of baking powder, salt, and all-purpose flour. As such, this one is used for quick breads, light cakes, and biscuits.
Gluten-free baking powder brands
As we have mentioned, there are certified gluten free baking powder brands out there. If you are here to know which is which, here is a list of gluten free baking powder brands that you should check out. They all use cornstarch and gluten free acids. They are also certified as gluten free.
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Clabber Girl
- Goldbaums (uses potato starch)
- Hain Pure Foods Featherweight (uses potato starch and certified gluten free; also sodium free)
- I’m Free (labelled gluten free and does not use starches)
- Rumford (certified gluten free)
There are also baking powder brands that are not labelled as gluten free but are known to use ingredients that are completely gluten free. These are the baking powder brands that are said to be more vulnerable to cross contamination of glutenous ingredients.
- Kraft Calumet
- Good and Gather
- Medley Hill Farms
- Red Star
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods
Of course, there is more to know about baking powder being gluten free so for some handy information for later, here are some FAQs that you should be on the loop of.
Is Aldi baking powder gluten free?
The Pantry is Aldi’s trade name for their baking powder product. As far as their labelling is concerned, their baking powder is gluten free because it uses rice flour and two gluten free acids including diphosphate and sodium carbonates.
Is Arm & Hammer baking soda gluten-free?
This one is listed in Celiac Disease Org as gluten free. It is also considered as hypoallergenic and preservative free. It is also skin safe and as such is recommended to use in alleviating sunburn, skin irritation, and sores.
Is Waitrose baking powder gluten-free?
Yes. Like Aldi’s, it uses rice flour and gluten free acids called sodium hydrogen carbonate and sodium dihydrogen diphosphate. It is also certified as gluten free and allergen free by Celiac Disease Org.
Is Sainsbury’s baking powder gluten-free?
This one is quite contentious because Sainsbury has shared facilities for their numerous baking products. However, it has been listed as gluten free as it is made of baking powder, rice flour, diphosphate, and sodium hydrogen carbonate. It is also certified as dairy free and vegan friendly.
Is Calumet baking powder gluten free?
This one is made of baking powder, cornstarch and two gluten free acids (sodium aluminum sulfate and calcium phosphate). It is not just certified gluten free but also Kosher certified, dairy free, peanut free, and egg free.
Is Trader Joe’s baking powder gluten free?
This one is not just listed as gluten free but also aluminum free. As a matter of fact, most of the baking products and baking packets of Trader’s Joe are listed as gluten free even though they have shared facilities.
Can you use baking soda as a baking powder substitute?
No because it is not acidic enough to be a potent leavening agent. This is the reason why most baked recipes usually require both baking soda and baking powder. However, baking soda is the only ingredient that you need to create a baking powder substitute.
- 2 cups gluten free flour
- 2 tsps gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup cold butter
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup of milk
- The first thing to do is to preheat the oven at 375F. After this, line up a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Next, get a large bowl and whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
- Now, get the butter and cut it into pebble sized bits. Incorporate it in the dry mixture.
- Stir in the milk and eggs and then drop at least 2tbsps of dough in the baking sheet spaced at 2-inches apart.
- Bake the dough for 15mins or when the top starts browning or if the toothpick is clean through and through.
- When it is done, let it cool in a rack for 10mins before serving.
If you have dairy allergies or if you are lactose intolerant, switch to dairy free butter and dairy free alternative to milk.
Nutrition InformationServing Size 12
Amount Per ServingCalories 90Total Fat 1.5gCholesterol 30mgSodium 210mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 4g
Baking powder works many wonders in the kitchen but also comes with many household functions. Baking powder should not be mistaken with baking soda though, because they are two different things. However, you should know that baking soda is a component of baking powder and it is the only ingredient you need when you are making homemade baking powder substitutes.
With all the things that we have covered here, you now know all the ins and outs of using baking powder. It is naturally gluten free but because of shared facilities, it could be contaminated with glutenous ingredients. But there are gluten free versions and are certified gluten free and allergen free for that matter. You just have to know which ones to choose.