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Old 07-07-2005, 09:38 AM   #1
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Help please with Double Action Baking Powder

Can I use Double Action Baking Powder in a recipe calling for Baking Powder (in which the type is not specified)? Should I halve the amount to be used (since it's double acting)???

I'm trying to figure out why my baked item came out dry and too fluffy (unlike how it was many times before). Now it just hit me that I'm using Double Acting BP for the first time. (The other possible culprit could be my electric oven. I was using gas before.)

Please help!


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Old 07-07-2005, 09:43 AM   #2
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I am not 100% sure, but I do not think you can substitute double acting for regular baking powder.

I am moving this to the baking forum so more people will see it.
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Old 07-07-2005, 09:52 AM   #3
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Also, re your oven; an electric oven cooks differently; the heat is more even, so yes, the oven could be the culprit also.
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Old 07-07-2005, 10:17 AM   #4
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Thanks GB and Marmalday for your inputs! Well, I found some answers just now on the web. You can tell this question was really bothering me. I thought the answers were interesting enough to share ...

Question: What is the Difference between Regular Baking Powder and
Double Acting Baking Powder?

Question: Just a quick question for those of you who know more about baking food chemistry than I. What is the difference between regular baking powder and "double acting" baking powder? If a recipe calls for the "double acting" variety, can you substitute by simply doubling the amount of regular baking powder?

Steve Kinsley, RD
Nu Connexions: "Connecting people....with people....with nutrition information."
Tel:(905) 478-8915 Fax:(905) 478-8916

Answer: This is quick and is what I remember from foods 101. You do not "double" a single acting baking powder. A Single acting baking powder releases carbon dioxide as soon as it becomes wet, so to use it you need to bake the product as soon as it is mixed; adding baking soda to a recipe containing a fruit, etc. is an example of a "single" acting baking powder.

A double acting baking powder contains a chemical which releases additional carbon dioxide as it heats. With a single acting baking powder you might loose all the carbon dioxide (which provides the leavening power) before the product is baked if you let it set on the counter long enough. A double acting baking powder contains materials which do not release all the carbon dioxide until the product is heated. So if you lose the first carbon dioxide release because you take too long to bake the product, all is not lost. More carbon dioxide leaving is released as the product heats. Using an excess of baking powder will sometimes leave a bitter taste in the product, so I would not double the amount. I don't know what is on the market today, so you may hear something different from more up-to-date scientists.

Phyllis J. Stumbo, PhD, RD, LD, phyllis-stumbo@uiowa.edu, Clinical
Research Center, University of Iowa 157 MRF, Iowa City, IA 52242.
Phone 319-384-9746, FAX 319-384-8325.

Answer #2: Baking powders can produce carbon dioxide immediately upon mixing, while
the dough sits and also while in the oven. "Single" action baking powder are those that produce gas predominately immediately after mixing. "Double" action ones refers to producing more gas while in the oven. Usually these types are referred to as "slow" and "fast" baking powders depending on when the carbon dioxide is predominately released. The term "Double action" was coined in an old commercial for a slow baking powder. Speed of the reaction is dependent on which acid sources are used with the sodium bicarbonate (soda) in the baking powder.

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Old 07-07-2005, 10:18 AM   #5
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Regular baking powder from the supermarket is usually double acting even if not obviously labeled as such.

It reacts once when mixed with liquid and another time when heated.

Baking 911 (a great site) says you should always use double acting bp in a recipe calling for "baking powder."


Shirley Corriher says that overleavening does not cause fluffiness.
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