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What is Cream of Tartar?

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What is Cream of Tartar?
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Every so often you'll come across a recipe calling for cream of tartar. What is it exactly? How vital is it in the recipe? Can cream of tartar be substituted?

Fine Dining Lovers fills you on the nitty gritty behind this baking essential.

What is cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar is a white powdery substance derived from tartaric acid. Its scientific name is potassium bitartrate. One cool fact? Cream of tartar is derived from the process of winemaking.

What does cream of tartar do?

Cream of tartar acts as a stabilizer in recipes calling for whipped eggs. For instance, it is an essential ingredient in meringue and angel food cake (which is made primarily of whipped egg whites).

Can cream of tartar be substituted?

For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of either lemon juice or white vinegar.

Is cream of tartar the same as baking soda?

No. Although they are similar in appearance, cream of tartar and baking soda are completely different ingredients.

Baking soda, which also goes by the name sodium bicarbonate, is a leavening agent that reacts with acids in a recipe.

However, you can mix two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda to obtain homemade baking powder.

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