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Using Gluten-Free Baking Powder When Baking Homemade Cookies

When it comes to baking without gluten, gluten-free baking powder is not a given.

It’s a common question; “Baking powder does not contain wheat, so it’s gluten-free. Right?”

Most of the time. But not always.

What's In Your Baking Powder?

Baking powder is made of three ingredients:

  1. Sodium bicarbonate: commonly known as baking soda.
  2. Acid salts: these combine with the sodium bicarbonate and water to produce carbon dioxide, releasing bubbles in the cookie dough and allowing it to expand.
  3. Starches (moisture-absorbing agent): these keep the baking powder mixture dry and add bulk so you can measure the powder accurately.

The first two ingredients – sodium bicarbonate and acid salts – are gluten-free.

As for the starch element, most baking powders contain cornstarch (gluten-free) or potato starch (gluten-free), making those products gluten-free.

But a few brands use wheat starch as their moisture-absorption agent. That throws a wrench into the gluten-free universe.

But never fear. Baking powders without gluten are clearly labeled as “gluten-free.” Avoid using a baking powder with a label that says, “May contain wheat solids.”

Baking Powder Brands that are Gluten-Free

According to manufacturer information, the following baking powder brands are gluten-free. Most of these products are available at large and small grocery stores throughout North America.

  • Bakewell Cream Baking Powder with Cornstarch
  • Calumet Baking Powder
  • Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • Davis Baking Powder
  • Featherweight Baking Powder by Hain Pure Foods
  • Hearth Club Baking Powder
  • Magic Baking Powder by Kraft
  • Rumford Baking Powder

Recipe: How to Make Your Own Gluten-Free Baking Powder

If you are unable to find baking powder that is gluten-free or you find that the can you have is old (passed expiration date, making it less potent as a leavening agent), you can make your own. 

How to make your own gluten-free baking powder with The Cookie Elf

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Directions

Place ingredients together in a small dish. Combine thoroughly with a spoon. Use immediately.

Yield: 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder

Keep in mind that this baking powder is single acting, meaning its leavening action begins as soon as the baking powder comes into contact with moisture. Double-acting baking powder rises more when it is exposed to heat in the oven.


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