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Using not enough baking powder results in catastrophe both in appearance and taste. However, too much of anything is harmful.

I have searched for some universal rule for what is too much baking powder, but I could only find the effects of the excessive use of baking powder.

Can you please provide me with your experience on what starts to be too much baking powder (in some relative sense e. g. 1 g of baking powder per 100 g of flour and 100 g sugar)?

I want to ask you to omit the usage of units like spoons or cups as these are not valid units.

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  • what do you mean by "too much"? This sounds very much opinion-based. Also, how much is too much depends very much on what you are trying to make/what results you want to achieve.
    – Esther
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:44
  • @Esther I'd usually be fully with you, for any ingredient that's used for taste. Baking powder is used pretty much with the single purpose of leavening, so I'd say that one has used "too much" is when the result is badly leavened due to excess baking powder.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 19, 2023 at 18:20
  • @rumtscho fair enough
    – Esther
    Jun 19, 2023 at 18:24
  • I am aware that the interval (minimum of baking powder, maximum of baking powder) cannot be readily determined. However, the negative effects will gradually appear as the amount of baking powder increases. What I need is some rule of thumb (as I mentioned in my question). Jun 20, 2023 at 7:00

2 Answers 2

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There isn't a single turning point where it becomes too much, the results worsen gradually. So it isn't possible to give you a number, just a wide range.

Baking powder is fairly forgiving. I'd say that you can go up to 120% to 130% of normal without any ill effects, and then it starts slowly getting worse. At 2x normal, I'm quite certain that you'll have noticeable effects. Between that, I'd say it depends on the eater's expectations, the baker's skill/consistency, and probably some recipe-specific variables such as the mixing method.

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  • That seems about right. 150% (by volume) is probably still acceptable unless you're very fussy and make the recipe regularly under identical conditions. I fairly often scale 3-egg recipes by 2/3 and don't always remember to scale the baking powder (or my junior baker doesn't). It's more sensitive to under-dosing.
    – Chris H
    Jun 19, 2023 at 19:22
  • @ChrisH Agreed. I think that even 2x is still acceptable, even though not as good as normal. I can't remember the last time I have made such a large mistake though, so I'm not entirely sure where the "totally unacceptable" area starts - it might even be that many people would throw it away for the metallic taste while the leavening result is still in the "flattish, but edible" range.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 19, 2023 at 19:32
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    @HumphreyAppleby That's strange. I frequently try out recipes from different sources and I've never had a case where the baking powder was not sufficient. What you can do is 1) try to get your recipes from trustworthy sources. Either well-received books or known sites with editorial content are good there, while random blogs, sites with user-contributed recipes, and low-budget magazines aren't. 2) look at whether the ratios are in the right ballpark. A very rough rule of thumb would be 3 g of b.p. per 100 g flour. If you have a recipe with no other mechanisms of leavening, and ...
    – rumtscho
    Jun 20, 2023 at 8:50
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    ... see a recipe with less than 2 g per 100 g flour, don't make the recipe. This will sort out a few recipes that are actually good, but should give you more confidence in trying out recipes and getting decent results.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 20, 2023 at 8:52
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    @HumphreyAppleby this is the opposite of my experience. I've never tried a recipe which turned out to have too little baking powder. Such an error would be easy to catch, easy to correct, and would seriously damage the author if uncaught. Try baking not from any books, but books written by people with a reputation to lose - TV cooks, people who have a popular magazine column, known Internet bloggers, big restaurant owners, or go with a classic like Julia Childs. These are all sources whose recipes don't end up in "utter disaster".
    – rumtscho
    Jun 22, 2023 at 7:34
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Many scone recipes (similar to American "biscuits"; e.g. of scones is these ones) have 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of plain/all purpose flour - That recipe is from New Zealand. A NZ cup of flour is 125 g (standard metric cup of 250 ml capacity), which means 1 tsp per 62.5 flour. I find that these recipes are delicious to eat, but you can certainly notice the effect of the baking powder afterwards in your mouth.

One teaspoon is about 4-5 grams (4 g/0.141 oz according to King Arthur Baking, other sources differ; up to 4.79 g/0.169 oz) This would make it about 1 g/0.035 oz per 13 g/0.46 oz flour - surprisingly high to my mind. I don't think I would want to go much higher, but perhaps you could get away with 1.5-2x the amount as @rumtscho suggested in his answer,

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  • Do I understand correctly that the most crucial relationship between the dough and the amount of baking powder is through flour? I mean that if I am correctly interpreting it, the rest of the ingredients do not affect the baking powder amount? Jun 20, 2023 at 7:08
  • @HumphreyAppleby - probably not, but those are the units you asked for. I would guess it is in relationship to all the ingredients or total volume/mass somehow, but what that relationship is, would require a bit of working out empirically.
    – bob1
    Jun 20, 2023 at 8:20
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    It also depends heavily on what the other flavors in the recipe are. Sugar, acid, and other strong flavors will mask the "soapy" taste of baking powder and allow you to use more than you could in a very plain recipe.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 24, 2023 at 6:19
  • @FuzzyChef Chemistry tells me that with more acid and/or fat there will be chemical reactions undergoing, so you will be able to use more in those situations and get away with it; might even improve the recipe with acitd if you are looking for volume, depending on stoichiometry.
    – bob1
    Jun 24, 2023 at 8:43

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