Quick summary: Yes, baking powder can go bad over time, affecting its ability to properly raise dough for baking. Signs of spoiled baking powder include moisture-related changes in appearance and a simple test involving mixing it with hot water – if it creates bubbles, it’s still effective.
Surely you have at least a few bags of baking powder in the cupboard that sits there for a long time, and you don’t know if you can use it for something and if it is suitable for baking? We reveal everything you need to know about the durability of this powder.
If you manage to buy just one bag of baking powder, one you need that day, congratulations. You are probably one of a million people who make it work. Usually, we all buy at least ten bags which then stand in the kitchen cupboard. Especially if you come across aluminum free baking powder in your store. Depending on how passionate a chef you are, it takes a month to spend it for some. For others, more than a year.
And it seems like those bags of powder are always either just before the expiry date or have long passed it when you need them for your favorite cake. You open the bag, everything looks ok, and now you wonder if such a product can spoil? In short, it can. We will now explain the details to you.
How Long Does Baking Powder Last?
When we said that a product could spoil, we might not have guessed the expression precisely enough. It will not go off in a way that it looks bad or causes you indigestion, but it will also not perform well the position for which it is intended – to raise the dough. This means that most baking powder will seem okay, but your dough will stay relatively flattened.
Another question that might trouble you is: are baking powder and baking soda the same? In short, no. Those are not the same product, even though the powder contains baking soda as a basis. In short, they have a different shelf life and quite a different potential for dough rising.
Here’s how long baking powder lasts.
Unopened baking powder
The best advice we can give you is to follow the instructions written on the cover. More or less, it is a date you need to stick to. The product may be acceptable for some 2 to 3 months after that deadline, but don’t rely on it for sure. Fresh baking powder will have the best results for your dough, so try to by new supplies when possible.
Opened baking powder
Once you open the package, the air will start to do its thing, and the powder’s stability will weaken. It won’t happen right away, but it won’t last forever either. The estimated duration of the open baking powder is between three and six months. Try to use the whole package as soon as possible so your baked goods don’t get dull.
Can Baking Powder Go Bad?
As we explained, yes and no. It can go bad and not perform its task as it should. And that is enough to ruin your day while trying to prepare your favorite cake. When you put effort into making a biscuit, and it doesn’t rise properly, the fact that the product is safe to eat does not make you too enthusiastic. So how tell if baking powder has expired?
Sign 1: Moisture got to it
This is roughly the only visible sign you will have that the product is spoiled when we talk about baking powder. Very simply, like any other powder, with this product too, water does nothing good to its stability. If the packaging was in a damp place and the powder soaked up the moisture, you will notice it on the look. And if this happens, you can be sure that the product is faulty. You don’t have to doubt at all whether to use it for baking or not. Just throw it away.
Sign 2: Test its potency
Since there are no visible signs of deterioration of old baking powder, you can use one trick. Put a teaspoon of powder in hot water, about a third of a glass. If the mix starts to rise or create bubbles, it means that you have a good ally for baking in front of you. If the mixture is dull and unresponsive, find fresher packaging.
Which is the Best Way to Store Baking Powder?
We also bring you a few tips to help you preserve the stability of your products by storing them properly. It still means sticking to the expiration date written on the package, but at least until that date, you will have stable baking merchandise. Reasonable food storage methods will be suitable.
You can use expired baking soda for cleaning and other kitchen tricks. Baking powder will not help you much in this, so try to buy smaller quantities.
Tip 1: Avoid damp places
This is actually the golden tip for storing baking powder. By no means allow moisture to come in contact with it. After that, there is no return. Therefore, always keep the bags in a cool and dry place away from possible humidifiers.
Tip 2: Keep it well sealed
Once you open the package, try to close it well with as little air as possible. Ideally in an airtight container, but you can squeeze out as much air as possible and leave it in the original package. This will help it stay fresh longer.
Tip 3: Buy reasonable quantities
Although this is not proper storage advice, it is certainly valuable guidance. Try not to buy too many packages at once. Even if they have a longer shelf life, keep in mind that the fresher, the better. So the leavening agent will work better closer to the date of production than the expiration date.
What happens if you use expired baking powder?
If you use expired baking powder, your baked goods may not rise properly, resulting in a denser texture and potentially a slightly bitter taste due to reduced leavening power.
How do you know if baking powder is bad?
You know if baking powder is bad by conducting a simple test: mix a small amount with water. If it doesn’t produce a vigorous fizz, it has likely lost its leavening power and should be replaced for optimal baking results.
Is expired baking powder harmful?
No, expired baking powder is not harmful. It will only be damaging to the success of the cake making. It will not be harmful in a way that causes food poisoning.
Should baking powder be refrigerated?
No, the baking powder should be refrigerated. Putting it in the refrigerator can actually create a counter-effect by allowing moisture from the cold to harm the product. So under no circumstances, keep the baking powder in the fridge.
How long is baking powder good after?
Baking powder is good for about 6 to 12 months after opening, provided it’s stored in a cool, dry place and retains its leavening ability. Use a fizz test to assess its effectiveness before incorporating it into recipes.
It is hard to imagine baking many sweet cakes, biscuits, or waffles without the use of leavening agents. Unfortunately, we all have a habit of buying ten or twenty bags at once, which then stand in our kitchen cupboard until they expire despite a long shelf life. So try to buy sensibly and always have new packages when you need them.
Baking powder, if unopened, can last up to a maximum of two years, although each manufacturer will put its expiry date within which it guarantees that the product is stable. Once you open the package, try to consume it within three months and a maximum of six months, although there is already a higher risk that the baking power will not be good enough.
See more: Baking powder replacement