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Cream of tartar as baking powder or raising agent

Light baked goods are made by using baking powder or raising agents. In cream of tartar baking powder, cream of tartar acts as a natural acid instead of phospha
The nutritional information for this ingredient corresponds toour nutrition table and is taken into account there. More specific details were not available.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 99.16%
Macronutrient proteins 0.42%
Macronutrient fats 0.42%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Cream of tartar baking powder is the phosphate-free alternative to conventional (inorganic or chemical) raising agents . The acid contained in cream of tartar baking powder comes from natural cream of tartar and is used to loosen the dough.

Use in the kitchen:

What is cream of tartar baking powder? Cakes, muffins and breads can be baked well with cream of tartar baking powder (baking powder substitute). Cream of tartar baking powder is used for the same dishes and in the same amount as regular baking powder ( raising agent ).

The reason for the dough rising is the formation of gas, which occurs when moisture is added to the baking powder - also known as fore-rising. The main rise takes place under the influence of heat and releases carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). This process loosens the dough and increases its volume. When baking, baking powder is therefore always mixed with the dry ingredients such as flour first and the liquid ingredients are only added at the end, immediately before baking. If the moist dough is left to stand for a long time, the baking powder can lose its effect and the dough will no longer rise when baked.

One sachet of cream of tartar baking powder is suitable for around 500 g of flour. Depending on the method used - whether you beat the mixture well with a hand mixer, add mineral water (with carbon dioxide) or mix in a beaten egg substitute - you can also reduce the amount specified. This is because raising agents have a major influence on the taste and texture of baked goods. If you use the correct amount, you get light baked goods; however, if you use too much, the dishes will have a soapy taste.

Manufacturers of cream of tartar baking powder who describe their product emphasize that it softens the taste of baked goods, but we could not detect this in a blind test. Others speak of a less furry or dull taste of the product with cream of tartar baking powder.

When using baking powder, unlike yeast dough, you must not use warm or even hot water. Otherwise the baking powder will start to react too soon and foam.

Dry yeast and baking yeast ( brewer's yeast ) are biological, non-chemical baking agents (raising agents). There is also sourdough and alcohol as raising agents. Alcohol boils at just under 79 °C and evaporates during baking.

Recipe for vegan wholemeal spelt pancakes:

Ingredients: 400 g wholemeal spelt flour , 1 packet of cream of tartar baking powder (less may be possible), 1 tbsp raw sugar (or agave syrup ), 1 pinch of salt , 2 tbsp chickpea flour, 4 tbsp water , 400 ml plant milk (e.g. oat drink ), oil (e.g. rapeseed oil).

Preparation: Mix the chickpea flour and water well. Mix the dry wholemeal flour with the baking powder. Add all ingredients to the flour, mix well and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a coated pan and add about 1 ladle (soup ladle or ladle) of the pancake mixture to the hot pan and spread it by swirling. Cook the pancake for 1-2 minutes on both sides. Tips: Reduce the temperature a little after the first pancake. The finished pancakes can be stacked on a plate and covered with a lid so that they keep each other warm.

Vegan recipes with cream of tartar baking powder can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes.

Shopping - where to buy?

Most supermarket chains such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer etc. also offer cream of tartar baking powder. Organic products are available in health food stores, organic shops and organic supermarkets ( Denn's Biomarkt ). The cream of tartar baking powder is usually packaged in small portion packs (bags) of 3-4 pieces, each containing 15 - 22 g.

Alnatura offers it as pure cream of tartar baking powder, Morga as baking powder without phosphate, Biovegan calls it Meister Baking Powder with Tapioca (contains pure cream of tartar) and Dm Bio Baking Powder with pure cream of tartar. Dr. Oetker also has (conventional) cream of tartar baking powder in its range.

Almost all packaging states that it is phosphate-free (without phosphate additives) and gluten-free. Most organic baking powders do not contain phosphates, but not all of them contain cream of tartar. Naturaplan from Coop , for example, contains citric acid (E 330) as an acidifier. Cream of tartar is not necessarily vegan either. It is worth reading the ingredients and paying attention to quality seals (organic symbol and vegan flower from the Vegan Society). We recommend that you use products that are as natural as possible and of organic origin.


You can also make your own cream of tartar baking powder. The following mixing ratio is suitable: 1 part (e.g. teaspoon) baking soda or sodium hydrogen carbonate to 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part corn starch (as a separating agent). You can also use baking soda with six times the amount of lemon juice or vinegar . Baking soda without added acid tastes slightly soapy. Without a separating agent, the homemade cream of tartar baking powder does not last long and you have to bake quickly.


A tip for checking the shelf life of baking powder, e.g. if the package has expired or been opened for a long time: simply mix ¼ teaspoon of baking powder with a little hot water. If it foams, the baking powder is still effective. If stored in a cool, dark and, above all, dry place, cream of tartar baking powder will last for many years.

Ingredients - nutritional value - calories:

Baking powder always consists of the following ingredients: the raising agent, an acid in dry form and a separating agent.

The difference between conventional baking powder and cream of tartar baking powder is the acidifier. The raising agent is usually sodium bicarbonate (E 500 as sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium carbonate and sodium sesquicarbonate), but this alone does not loosen the dough as desired. An acidifying agent is always required for this. In conventional baking powders this is phosphate or diphosphate. This can be, for example, disodium dihydrogen diphosphate (not disodium diphosphate) or sodium pyrophosphate. However, aluminum-containing acids are also used. All of these acids are hazardous to health and should therefore be avoided at all costs!

In cream of tartar baking powder, however, the acidifier is natural cream of tartar (the common name for salts of tartaric acid). The release agent used is mainly starch in the form of corn or potato starch, which prevents the baking powder from being activated by the humidity in the air. Rice starch and gluten-containing wheat starch are also used. By significantly increasing the total volume, the release agent makes dosing easier and increases the flowability.

In the nutrient tables below the text, we have given average nutritional values of various commercially available products. Because the values vary depending on the manufacturer, we have opted for a meaningful intersection.

Due to the carbohydrates it contains (43 g/100g, of which 0.17 g each are fiber and sugar), cream of tartar baking powder has a relatively high calorie content of 240 kcal/100g. The sodium content of 6658 mg/100g (corresponds to approx. 17 g of table salt per 100g) is even lower than in conventional baking powder (11,800 mg of sodium per 100g). However, you only consume very little of it. The fat and protein content is very low at less than 1%.

We recommend products that are as natural as possible, with a low proportion of saturated fats (average here: 0.03 g/100g) and of organic origin.

The complete ingredients of cream of tartar baking powder, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health aspects - effects:

Is cream of tartar baking powder healthy? Cream of tartar is said to have a detoxifying and acid-regulating effect on the stomach and intestinal flora. It is also used for bladder infections. The potassium contained in cream of tartar has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure. The magnesium contained in it relieves pain from arthritis and rheumatism, best in combination with Epsom salts dissolved in bath water. 1

Be careful with phosphates! Phosphates are suspected of having a harmful effect on the human body. People with kidney disease in particular should avoid too many foods containing phosphates. Phosphates also prevent calcium from dissolving in the bones, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Natural foods also contain phosphorus, such as pulses, grains, nuts, but also fruit and vegetables - but in usable and necessary quantities. The food industry uses artificially produced phosphates (E 338 - E 341 or E 450) 2 in ready meals, meat and sausage products, milk and dairy products, canned fish, lemonades, etc., which should be avoided. They are permitted not only in conventional products, but also in organic products as flavor enhancers, preservatives, stabilizers, antioxidants, acidity regulators, raising agents, thickeners and binding agents. There is also an interesting video about foods containing phosphates: Processed cheese: The underestimated phosphate danger .

Cream of tartar baking powder is therefore a good alternative to traditional baking powder containing phosphates. In addition, cream of tartar baking powder and baking powder are generally unproblematic for people with histamine intolerance, in contrast to yeast as a leavening agent.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects:

The tartar contained does not necessarily have to be vegan. Tartar is natural tartaric acid that is produced in the form of tartaric acid salts during the production of wine or sparkling wine. During the production of wine, animal products (e.g. gelatin, chicken egg white) are often used specifically to remove turbidity. These additives for clarification are also called "fining agents". The undesirable suspended particles flocculate and sink to the bottom more quickly. These technical aids do not have to be declared. Alternatives for the production of vegan wine are, for example, bentonite, vegetable tannins or simply time. After 3 to 6 months, the turbidity sinks to the bottom on its own and the clear wine can be bottled without any aids. 3

The baking agent sodium hydrogen carbonate (NaHCO 3 ) is actually a natural mineral (nahcolite) that occurs in oil shale and can be obtained as a by-product of oil production. 4 Chemical production is much more widespread, however. In Europe, for example, baking soda is produced from ordinary table salt (NaCl). In a chemical process, the chlorine is exchanged for carbonate (CO 3 ). The Solvay process or ammonia-soda process actually describes the production of soda (sodium carbonate Na 2 CO 3 ). However, baking soda is also produced in a preliminary stage. The disadvantages of this process are that it uses a lot of water and for 1 kg of soda, 1 kg of calcium chloride (CaCl 2 ) is produced as an unusable "by-product". This is usually disposed of via the sewage system, so it ends up in rivers and seas. Special settling basins (lime ponds) are intended to reduce water pollution. However, it should be noted that 1 million tons of soda are produced annually, which also produces about 1 million tons of calcium chloride! 5

Folk medicine - natural healing:

Paracelsus called diseases such as gout, rheumatism, arthrosis, gallstones, kidney stones or sclerosis "Tartaric diseases" (raw tartar = Tartarus crudus). He also attributed healing effects to tartar: many powers are found in tartar, more than in wine. Tartar was previously used for chronic skin diseases, as a drainage agent via the kidneys, liver and intestines and for kidney stones. Even today there are natural cosmetic products (Weleda) that make use of the effects of tartar. 6

General information:

Tartar is a mixture of poorly soluble salts of tartaric acid, eg potassium hydrogen tartrate and calcium tartrate. These salts form during the storage of wine, grape juice and during the production of sparkling wine. The tartar has a different color depending on the type of wine. Tartar crystallizes mainly on the walls and especially on the bottom of the vessels. 7 Decanting is used to separate tartar from the wine. Tartar is not a sign of quality, but it does indicate that the wine was not or only insufficiently chemically (with metatartaric acid) or physically (with cold) stabilized during aging.

As a food additive, cream of tartar has the E number E 354 as calcium tartrate and E 336 as potassium bitartrate, potassium tartrate, monopotassium tartrate or dipotassium tartrate. Cream of tartar is harmless to human health, but larger quantities can have a laxative effect. It feels like sand in the mouth, but dissolves relatively quickly. 8

As an alternative to baking powder, there is also ammonium bicarbonate, which is mainly used for flat, long-lasting baked goods. This ammonium hydrogen carbonate (ammonium bicarbonate, ABC leavening, E 503ii) is used for gingerbread, honey cakes, speculaas or other biscuits, usually in combination with potassium carbonate (potash, E 501). At temperatures above 60 °C, ammonium bicarbonate decomposes into ammonia, carbon dioxide and water. 9 However, baking with ammonium bicarbonate can lead to the development of acrylamide. 10

Mechanical processes such as beating, stirring or blowing are also used for industrial dough loosening.

Interesting facts:

Eben Norton Horsford , a student of Justus von Liebig , invented baking powder in the middle of the 19th century. It was sold at the time by the German pharmacist Ludwig Clamor Marquart . Horsford founded the Rumford Chemical Works with George Francis Wilson in 1854 and they produced baking powder in the USA under the name "yeast powder". Horsford continued to develop and improve it and had it patented as "baking powder". August Oetker began selling baking powder in small portions in Germany in 1891 and bottled it as baking powder in 1893. The process, patented in 1903, still has numerous applications.

Alternative names:

An old name for cream of tartar was "tartarus" 6 and in English, cream of tartar is called "cream of tartar". Cream of tartar baking powder is therefore known as tartar baking powder, but is sometimes found - like conventional baking powder - as baking powder.

Other uses:

In the pharmaceutical industry, cream of tartar is known as a laxative and Rochette salt (E 337, mostly used as an acidity regulator) made from cream of tartar is also known. However, the use of cream of tartar as a laxative is dangerous because an excess of potassium (or hyperkalemia) can occur. Cream of tartar is also used to stabilize egg whites and whipped cream. It also prevents the crystallization of sugar syrup and reduces the discoloration of cooked vegetables. In combination with potassium chloride, cream of tartar is used as a sodium-free table salt substitute. Outside of food use, cream of tartar can also be used as a cleaning agent for stubborn stains.

In addition to being used as a food additive (E 334, L-tartaric acid), tartaric acid is also used in technical areas, such as making silk more grippy and smoothing it. Potassium sodium tartrate is also used in the surface treatment of copper and brass articles or for cleaning soil contaminated with heavy metals. Tartaric acid binds heavy metals, but is itself biodegradable. 8

Literature - Sources:

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