How To Bake Without Baking Powder: Modern and Historical Alternatives for Light and Tasty Baked Goods

Rated 5.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Covers the science and history of baking powder, enabling you to create your own leavening power through basic kitchen chemistry. Includes how to make sour milk, buttermilk, and sourdough starter, plus the author's hardwood ash baking experiments. Contains 54 modern and historical recipes utilizing 20 different baking powder alternatives. Also available in a paperback prepper edition. More

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About Leigh Tate

Leigh Tate has always loved living close to the land. From the back-to-the-land movement to the modern homesteading movement, the agrarian lifestyle is the one she says feels like home. She and her husband currently homestead five acres in the foothills of the Southern Appalachians. Their vision is to become as self-sustaining as possible by stewarding their land, animals, and resources. Leigh's homesteading activities include gardening, food preservation, foraging, raising goats, chickens, and guinea fowl, herbs, cheese making, permaculture landscaping, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, quilting, natural dying, soapmaking, wood cookstove cookery, and renovating their old 1920s farmhouse.

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About the Series: The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos from 5 Acres & A Dream
From the author: When I published 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead, I described it as neither a how-to nor a why-to book. Although it contains quite a bit of practical advice about many homesteading skills, it is mostly the story of our journey toward simpler, sustainable, more self-reliant living. The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos is a complement to that book. It is a work in progress which will eventually include all of the skills mentioned in 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, plus other how-tos as well. I hope they will encourage you, my readers, toward your own self-reliant lifestyles.

Also in Series: The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos from 5 Acres & A Dream

Also by This Author


Jake reviewed on March 19, 2016

The latest volume in The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos is a comprehensive guide to understanding what baking powder is and how it works, and how to substitute for both the baking soda and acid components.

As you may know, your kitchen likely contains a lot of options for substituting the acid component, including vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sour cream, yogurt, whey, molasses, and honey.

Your options for substituting the carbonate component with homemade ingredients are more limited, but Leigh still tells you how to make and use them.

Of the 54 recipes the book includes, 33 use baking soda, one uses sodium carbonate, 10 use pearlash, saleratus (potassium bicarbonate), ash water, or wood ash, and three use hartshorn (ammonium carbonate). The other seven get their leavening from eggs or 'emptings,' the yeasty residue that settles at the bottom of brewing vessels, but that, unlike most yeast-based leaveners can apparently be used in quick breads like a chemical leavener. So, in some cases, it's also possible to get by without a carbonate at all. It's worth noting that with a little trial and error, you can also substitute some of the wood-ash based leaveners for baking soda, as Leigh did in a series of posts on her blog, 5 Acres and a Dream.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the table of recommended ratios for the various household acids and baking soda. i.e., how much lemon juice do you mix with a teaspoon of baking soda? How much molasses do you mix with a teaspoon of baking soda to get the same leavening effect? That's a pretty handy resource and makes substituting ingredients much easier.

The only thing I would have liked to see more of is photographs of the baked goods! There's a delicious picture of biscuits on the cover, but inside the book, there are only links for a few of the recipes that appeared on Leigh's blog, 5 Acres and a Dream. On the other hand, fewer pictures to drool over means a lower probability of a shorted-out keyboard, so maybe it was a good strategy after all.

I should mention that I received a free copy of the book, not with any expectations of a review, but, well, for simply being interested enough in the chemistry to contribute some thoughts on Leigh's blog. That said, I would have gladly ponied up the $2.99 price tag of this book. It's clear that Leigh put in many, many hours of research on this book, and three bucks is more than fair for that effort.

Highly recommended!

[Parts of this review also appeared on my blog, The Homestead Laboratory, which I copied here rather than writing a separate review.]
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
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