Can I Use Baking Powder to Thicken Sauce?
When you think of thickening agents, baking powder probably won’t be the first ingredient that comes to mind. Typically, cooks and bakers will mix in cornstarch or flour to thicken up a sauce. Baking powder is usually used to puff up baked goods like cakes and soda breads. Baking powder is also a common cleaning substance, with people using it to clean stoves and countertops. It can even be turned into a toothpaste for brushing teeth. But the question is, can baking powder be used as a thickening agent for sauces?
What is Baking Powder?
It is a leavening agent for baked goods. When you make a cake from scratch, the recipe almost always calls for baking powder or baking soda. The chemicals in these ingredients can help the batter rise, making for a more fluffy and enjoyable result. It is similar to the way yeast works in rising bread. Without baking soda or baking powder, a baked good will turn out heavier and denser, making it more difficult to eat.
Novice bakers sometimes get baking powder and baking soda mixed up. It is understandable – both substances are white powders with similar names to them. The main difference between the two is that baking powder is a mixture of baking soda, acid and cornstarch. Baking soda by itself usually leaves a finished baked good tasting overly bitter. In contrast, the other ingredients in baking powder help counterbalance the taste.
How Does it Work?
Because baking powder usually contains cornstarch, this makes it viable option to thicken sauces. You wouldn’t be able to use baking soda as a thickener because it lacks the cornstarch. Cornstarch is what binds the wet ingredients together for a smoother and thicker substance. While baking powder isn’t always the best substitute for thickening, it can still have an impact on your sauce if you use it carefully.
How to Thicken the Sauce?
It is important not to add too much baking powder to your recipe, as it can leave the sauce tasting bitter or salty. It is also a good idea to slowly simmer the sauce on a low heat. This gives the sauce more time to bind together and thicken.
Start off by mixing the powder with a liquid that would be suitable to add to your sauce. This can be water, milk, broth, or juice. Stir the paste so that it doesn’t have any lumps. Slowly mix this paste into your sauce. Don’t dump baking powder right into a hot liquid, or it could create clumps in your mixture. You want to add it slowly so that the sauce will come out smoothly.
Ever wonder what is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder? Here you go: