Awhile back I purchased cream of tartar because I wanted to start making our own baking powder. Baking powder can get expensive if you use a lot of it and try to find a form with the least amount of additives, so I figured I could make a cleaner, cheaper version at home.

Well, I found the cream of tartar the other day and realized it had been probably a year-and-a-half since I stowed that bottle away. Not coincidentally, we just ran out of baking powder so I figured this was the day! And the process could not be simpler so I have no good reasons for procrastinating that long.

Baking powder is a leavening agent made with a combination of acid and alkaline ingredients which, when combined with moisture, produce the rise you want in pancakes, biscuits, etc. Baking soda is the alkaline ingredient and cream of tartar, an acidic byproduct of the fermentation of grapes, lends the acid. Together they produce carbon dioxide.

One interesting point of difference between this baking powder and the “double-acting” baking powder most commonly sold is that it does not contain calcium acid phosphate. This compound produces additional carbon dioxide when heated but I am more than fine omitting something like that from our food. And, after using this in pancakes, biscuits, and tamale pie, I am not convinced that this “single-acting” baking powder is at all inferior.

Homemade Baking Powder

Ingredients

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 2 parts cream of tartar

Directions

Whisk ingredients together until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and seal tightly.

Use 1:1 in any recipe calling for baking powder.

December has a funny way about it, here in Texas. A cold front has swept in, on the heels of several warm days, so we’ve shifted from opening all of the windows to carrying in firewood by the arm full. The children are always excited at the mere prospect of wintry weather and I can’t say this Minnesota girl could blame them.

Another funny thing about December is that the chickens don’t lay much. About a month ago they abruptly went from an abundance to a near-on strike but I suspect the shortness of the days has something to do with that.

Broth and dairy have been consistent fare along with the salads and greens we are still gratefully harvesting. We will have to cover the garden for a string of nights, though, so we will see how the more tender lettuces survive the brief onslaught of fall we are getting.

And then there is pie. I don’t know how it came to be – perhaps it is universal, do you think? – but pie has become the queen of all desserts in our home. This apple pie sat alongside pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving and I think we have a new favorite gluten-free pie crust. But Stewart suggested testing it a few more times, you know, just to be sure it is right. I think the consensus on that was unanimous.

With a cellar full of pumpkins and the daily milk and eggs, perhaps this cold streak is just the time to test just a few more pies…

are things frozen under in your neck of the woods?