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I use double-action baking powder to make waffles. If I bake the waffles immediately, they rise nicely. However, if I bake the waffles more than 3 hours after making the batter, they don't rise as well.

How far in advance can I make the batter and still have the waffles rise? Or what can I do to maintain the potency of the baking powder?

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Joy Of Baking has an excellent article on how baking powder and baking soda work. It indicates (emphasis added):

Most baking powder used today is double-acting which means it reacts to liquid and heat and happens in two stages. The first reaction takes place when you add the baking powder to the batter and it is moistened. One of the acid salts reacts with the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide gas. The second reaction takes place when the batter is placed in the oven. The gas cells expand causing the batter to rise. Because of the two stages, baking of the batter can be delayed for about 15-20 minutes without it losing its leavening power.

There are a very few applications using chemical leaveners that can be held longer (such as refrigerator muffins), but the batters tend to be much, much thicker, so that the generated carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped within the dough until baked.

The best way to have convenient access to something like waffle batter right when you want it is to prepare a dry mix of all of the dry ingredients (including the chemical leaveners), and then add the wet ingredients at time of preperation. Here is an example for waffles; or there is Alton Brown's pancake mix recipe.

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Also note that not all baking powders perform equivalently:

Baking Powders differ in their reaction to moisture and heat depending on their formulation. Rumford Baking Powder's reaction is approximately 70% with moisture (or in the bowl) and the rest when heat is applied. Clabber Girl's reaction is approximately 40% with moisture and the rest when heat is applied. Some people prefer the Rumford brand because it does not contain the acid ingredient sodium aluminum sulfate. https://www.clabbergirl.com/Home-Bakers/FAQs

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