Weinstein baking powder is the phosphate-free alternative to conventional baking powder and it can be substituted 1:1 for ordinary baking powder. Manufacturers of weinstein baking powder claim that it results in milder-tasting baked goods, but we were not able to confirm this in a blind test. Weinstein baking powder can be bought in health food stores and organic grocery stores.
General information and ingredients:
The difference between conventional and weinstein baking powder is in the acid it contains. Baking powder always contains a leavening agent, an acid, and a bulking agent (usually starch).
The leavening agent is usually sodium (sodium bicarbonate), but this ingredient alone cannot cause dough to become more porous and expand. For this, an acid is required and in conventional baking powders phosphate is used as the acid of choice. However, weinstein baking powder contains cream of tartar (common name for potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate), which is a natural alternative as it is a by-product in the wine-making process that is obtained from the crystalline deposits found inside wine barrels. Starches are usually used as the bulking agent and serve to prevent the air temperature/humidity from activating the baking powder.
How it works and best way to use:
The reason that dough rises is that carbon dioxide is formed when liquids are added to the baking powder. The carbon dioxide gives the dough a lighter texture and causes it to expand. Both types of baking powder are a mixture of a leavening agent, an acid, and a bulking agent (usually a starch). This is why you should first mix the dry ingredients together when you are baking and then add the liquid ingredients at the end. If a moist dough is left to sit for a longer period of time, the baking powder can lose its effectiveness and the dough will not rise.
There is a great way to check if your baking powder is still good (e.g., if the expiration date has passed or the package has been opened for quite a while). Simply mix ¼ teaspoon baking powder with a little bit of hot water. If it bubbles up, this means that the baking powder will still work effectively and can be used.
Information about cream of tartar:
From Wikipedia: “Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, with formula KC4H5O6, is a byproduct of winemaking. In cooking it is known as cream of tartar. It is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid (a carboxylic acid). It can be used in baking or as a cleaning solution (when mixed with an acidic solution such as lemon juice or white vinegar).”
“In food, potassium bitartrate is used for:
Additionally it is used as a component of:
A similar acid salt, sodium acid pyrophosphate, can be confused with cream of tartar because of their common function as a component of baking powder.”
“Cream of tartar has been used internally as a purgative. Use as a purgative is dangerous because an excess of potassium, or hyperkalemia, may occur.”
“Potassium bitartrate is the National Institute of Standards and Technology's primary reference standard for a pH buffer. Using an excess of the salt in water, a saturated solution is created with a pH of 3.557 at 25 °C (77 °F). Upon dissolution in acid, potassium bitartrate will dissociate into acid tartrate, tartrate, and potassium ions. Thus, a saturated solution creates a buffer with standard pH. Before use as a standard, it is recommended that the solution be filtered or decanted between 22 °C (72 °F) and 28 °C (82 °F). Potassium carbonate can be made by igniting cream of tartar producing "pearl ash". This process is now obsolete but produced a higher quality (reasonable purity) than "potash" extracted from wood or other plant ashes.”