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- Baking powder should be stored away from heat and moisture
- Baking powder is made from baking soda, an acid, and a buffer like cornstarch.
- It is best to test the effectiveness of baking powder prior to use by adding it to water.
- Unopened baking powder will last beyond the expiration date if properly stored.
- Storing baking powder in Mylar bags or mason jars will help keep it fresh.
Baking powder is a common pantry staple for any baker. But how should you store it to ensure you always have fresh powder on hand?
Baking powder must be kept away from moisture and heat, so it is best to store unopened baking powder in its original packaging. If opened, transfer the baking powder to a mason jar or vacuum bag and seal it. You can also store the baking powder in a Mylar bag to protect it from moisture and light.
As a home cook and baking enthusiast, I know baking powder is required for any well-stocked pantry. Below I will cover the best ways to store baking powder, what to avoid when storing baking powder, how to test baking powder for effectiveness, and more. By the end of this article, you will know how to keep baking powder, so you never need to worry about your supply again.
What is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, acid, and cornstarch. These three components create a dry chemical leavening agent. It is primarily used to lighten the texture of baked goods like cakes. It is used in place of yeast for baked goods as the taste can be off-putting and impact the flavor.
How Does it Work?
A fast-acting baking powder reacts when exposed to a wet mixture at room temperature. In contrast, a slow-acting baking powder must be heated before the reaction occurs.
The sodium bicarbonate and acid produce a carbon dioxide gas to increase the volume and lighten the texture of the baked good. Cornstarch is used as a buffer to prevent premature chemical reactions.
How to Store Baking Powder
Even though the baking powder is a “powder,” it is anything but stable. The powder needs to be stored, so the chemical reaction does not occur before it is added to your pastry or cake. Keeping baking powder away from moisture is vital, as this can trigger the reaction.
Storing Unopened Baking Powder
One of the best ways to ensure your baking powder lasts long term is to buy a new container before storing it away. A new container will be vacuum sealed and free from moisture.
According to Clabber Girl, a top baking powder manufacturer, the expiration date printed on the container is two years from when it was manufactured. This is as long as they guarantee an unopened box’s freshness.
Storing the baking powder container in a cool and dry pantry will allow you to keep the baking powder for several months beyond the expiration date.
For even more protection, put your container in a vacuum-sealing bag. This will provide an extra layer of security from moisture.
Storing Opened Baking Powder
If you have already cracked open your can of baking powder and want it to last as long as possible, you can do a few things to extend the baking powder’s life.
Clabber Girl recommends using opened baking powder within six months of opening, so let’s see how we can extend that time.
Storing Baking Powder in Mylar Bags
Mylar is also known by its chemical name BoPET. It is a film made from stretched PET. It has become popular due to its strength, transparency, and ability to control chemicals and provide protection from gases.
The bags are reusable and can be sealed with a hair straightener. They are also convenient for buying bulk pantry staples like flour and baking powder, as you can portion them out into bags for prolonged freshness.
To store your baking powder in a Mylar bag, follow these steps:
- Mark the date of packaging on the Mylar bag. It is important to know when it was sealed for rotation and freshness purposes.
- Remove the baking powder from the original packaging.
- Add the desired amount of baking powder into the bag, ensuring you don’t expose the powder to too much air.
- Then, squeeze as much air as possible from the bag.
- Next, seal the top two inches of the Mylar bag with a hair straightener or a clothes iron. If you choose, you can also buy Mylar bags with a zipper making sealing a breeze.
- If you plan to store the baking powder for emergency storage, you will want to consider a large sealing bucket to hold the powder bags.
Storing Baking Powder in Mason Jars
If you want to store the baking powder in mason jars, you are in luck. It is simple to do and will use items you may already have on hand, like a food vacuum and coffee filters.
- Wash mason jars thoroughly and ensure they are 100% dry before beginning.
- Use a funnel or small spoon to put the baking powder into the mason jar.
- Do not fill the jar; leave around an inch of space.
- Add a coffee filter over the baking powder to act as a buffer and prevent baking powder from getting sucked up in the vacuum.
- To begin sealing the jars, soak the lid in boiling water.
- Wipe to jar clean, then grab your favorite food vacuum and the canning attachment.
- Use the vacuum to extract the air from the jar.
- Place the ring around the lid.
- Label with the date of storage.
If you do not have a vacuum sealer or don’t want to go through the trouble, you can stop after you seal the lids in the water and put on the ring. This will seal the baking powder and prevent it from attracting moisture; however, you may only get around a year before it is inactive.
What to Avoid When Storing Baking Powder
Now that you know how to store baking powder for long-term use, it is important to discuss what you should avoid when keeping baking powder. Here are a few tips to help your baking powder last as long as possible:
- Never store the baking powder in the refrigerator or freezer. While this may seem like a good way to prolong its life, it will likely cause moisture exposure due to condensation and ruin the powder.
- Avoid storing baking powder in cans. Canning baking powder can cause a metallic taste to develop. Also, if moisture enters the can, the baking powder may activate and render it useless.
- Do not use oxygen absorbers when packaging baking powder for storage. They will not impact the life of the powder and can possibly interact negatively with the chemicals.
- Do not store baking powder around high humidity levels. If possible, wait for a day with low humidity levels or use a room with a dehumidifier to work on storing.
- Do not assume silica packets can remove all moisture. While silica gel is amazing in ensuring items are moisture-free, they do not remove it all. If you choose to add a silica packet, make sure the package is already low in humidity and use it to draw out the rest of the moisture.
Does Baking Powder Expire?
As I mentioned before, the expiration date printed on the package of baking powder is two years from the date of manufacture. But the baking powder does not actually “expire”. If the container is left unopened, it can last for months or years beyond this date. Just ensure it is stored properly and away from moisture to extend its life.
If it is opened, it is best to use the baking powder within six months. After this time, moisture may have rendered the baking powder inactive.
Of course, you can also test the baking powder to see if it will still work in your baked goods.
How Do I Know if Baking Powder is Good?
If you are unsure of how old your baking powder is or are worried it may be inactive, it is best to give it a test. This is vital as inert baking powder will leave baked goods dense and can impact the texture. To test baking powder:
- Heat about half a cup of water.
- Add half a teaspoon of baking powder to the water.
- Mix it around.
- If the powder forms bubbles, it is still active and can be used.
- If no bubbles form or they are very small, it is best to grab a new container on your next shopping trip.
Is it Safe to Use Expired Baking Powder?
As long as the baking powder has been stored properly, it can be used beyond the expiration date. Of course, if it is a few years past, you might be better off starting fresh. If not, give it the test and see if you should use it.
There are no adverse side effects to using bad baking powder. It will not make you sick or grow mold. The main reason not to use expired baking powder is simply that it will not work. Don’t spoil all your hard work by using inactive baking powder unless you want your cake to have the texture of a foam pillow.