German baking powder is usually single-acting, which means it has a mixture of a heat-activated (slow-acting) acid and baking soda. It is not strictly interchangeable with American, double-acting baking powder. The double-acting baking powder has a fast-acting acid (reacts at room temperature to moisture) and a slow-acting acid (reacts when heated). The dual acids give the cook an initial rise plus more time to move the batter to the oven before the rising action is spent.
Dr. Oetker Baking Powder
Dr. Oetker is king of the German baking powder scene, with a proprietary blend of sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and cornstarch. First created in 1891, he patented his technique in 1903.
How to use Dr. Oetker Baking Powder “Backin,” from the Dr. Oetker website: "One pouch of Dr. Oetker Baking Powder contains 5 teaspoons (20 ml), sufficient for 4 cups (500 grams) of flour. This practical home baking size ensures freshness, guarantees results, and convenience."
German Baking Powder in America
We can’t duplicate his mixture in the US home, but we can often substitute double-acting baking powder for his single-acting, slow-rising baking powder in German recipes. If you would like to approximate German baking powder you can mix readily-available cream of tartar with baking soda in a 2:1 ratio. For a more specific equivalency from “Joy of Cooking” refer to the table below.
It is not good to substitute German baking powder in American recipes such as chocolate chip cookies. Import double-acting baking powder to Germany if you want to bake cornbread and such.
If using the ingredients below to make baking powder, mix the batter quickly and make sure the oven is pre-heated so that the gas does not escape (cream of tartar is a fast-acting acid).
In general, most baking powders are formulated to be used in a ratio of one teaspoon (5 milliliters) of baking powder per cup (200 to 250 milliliters) of flour.
Baking Powder Equivalents
|Rising equivalent for single-acting baking powder||Cream of Tartar (Weinstein)||Baking Soda (Natron)||Table Salt (Salz)|
|Per 1 cup flour||2 tsp.||1 tsp.||1/2 – 1 tsp.|
|Per tsp. purchased baking powder||5/8 tsp.||1/4 tsp.||0|