Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What is Cream of Tartar & Its Substitute

Cream of tartar is one of those mystery ingredients you might have seen in your grandma’s pantry without knowing what it’s used for. After all, its name doesn’t give you a clue not like baking powder or baking soda. Yet just a touch of it makes a big difference in your baking and cooking.

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Cream of tartar is the powdered form of tartaric acid, a substance that forms at the bottom of barrels when making wine. It is added to recipes for three reasons

To stabilize egg whites, when whipping them for meringue
It's the ingredient that helps meringue maintain its high peaks, even after a trip through the oven

To act as a leavening agent
To act as a leavening agent in cookies, pancakes and other yeast-free baked goods. Combine cream of tartar with baking soda, and you get a chemical reaction that makes your treats fluffier.

To prevent the sugar in frostings, icings and syrups from crystallizing
 In the case of frostings and icings, this results in a creamier texture

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Cream of Tartar Substitutes

If you don't have any cream of tartar in your pantry, you can use one of these substitutes in its place

For beating egg whites - Use an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice, or omit the cream of tartar from the recipe entirely

As a leavening agent - Replace the baking soda and the cream of tartar called for in the recipe with baking powder. Use one teaspoon of baking powder to replace 1/3 tsp of baking soda and 2/3 tsp of cream of tartar. Since baking powder is really just a mix of cream of tartar and baking soda, this substitution won't change your recipe at all.

For frostings and syrups - Leave the cream of tartar out. No substitution is necessary. If you're making a simple syrup that you plan to store for an extended time, it may crystallize eventually, but that can be easily remedied by reheating it in the microwave or on the stove

What is cream of tartar’s shelf-life?
As long as you keep your cream of tartar in an air-tight container, away from heat sources, it should keep indefinitely. When in doubt, you can test it by looking at it and smelling it. It should look white and powdery, and it should smell mildly acidic



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