Time to Test Your Baking Powder and Baking Soda!

File this one under: live and learn. It was Thanksgiving afternoon and time to bust out a batch of biscuits. All went well as I cut the fat into the flour and rolled out the dough (taking care to do the trifold that ensures high-rise biscuits).

But when I pulled them out of the oven, I couldn't help noticing they hadn't risen as high as they have in the past. The culprit, I suspected, was past-its-prime baking powder. So I did what I should have done before the holiday and tested its effectiveness. The verdict: dead leavener.

Baking powder and baking soda are leaveners that help give baked goods height. And they tend to hang out for a long time in your pantry, but they don't last forever, even if you store them correctly–in a cool, dry place. According to the website Joy of Baking (a great reference to bookmark), baking powder only lasts 6-12 months. (Mine had been around, oh, going on two years and, when I checked, was two months past its “best by” date. Oops.) Baking soda lasts longer, but it, too, can lose its leavening power.

Here's how to test 'em:

Baking powder: Combine 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it starts bubbling immediately, you're good to go. If not, time to replace it. And be sure to double-check the “best by” date on the new can.

Baking soda: Mix 1/4 teaspoon soda with 2 teaspoons vinegar. It, too, should start foaming right away. Mine did.

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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