Cream of Tartar
Cream of Tartar is an odorless acidic powder that is white or off-white; some say it has a metallic taste while others say it is essentially tasteless. It has an endless stream of kitchen uses but is most famous for adding the lift to meringues and angel food cakes, and smooth creaminess to icings.
Chemical reactions are the basis for Cream of Tartar’s effectiveness, so pull out your high school chemistry texts and take notes. Cream of Tartar is a byproduct of wine production; hard crystal salts adhere to the sides and bottom of wine casks during fermentation. When these salts are strained out, powdered, and refined of impurities, potassium hydrogen tartrate remains. When it is used in an eggy recipe like angel food or meringue to create lift, Cream of Tartar changes the pH balance in the albumen—the egg whites—so the protein strands align but do not coagulate, which results in tall angel food and extra-fluffy meringue. In icings, Cream of Tartar once again causes molecules to fall into line. It prevents sugar from clumping together in irregular clusters by breaking sucrose, which would bond to itself, into glucose and fructose. Once separated, these components are less likely to draw together into a tight chemical bond, resulting in icing that is smooth and creamy. Hard candies, like peppermints or candy canes, also benefit from Cream of Tartar. By inhibiting the formation of clumpy crystallized sugar, candies end up glossy with a flawlessly hard texture, rather than turning out crumbly and uneven.
Tips From Our Kitchen
Add a pinch of Cream of Tartar to cooking or steaming water to prevent vegetables from losing their color during cooking. Add to whipping cream for high whipped peaks that will last, rather than deflate in your refrigerator before you’re ready to serve dessert. Cream of Tartar is a non-yeast leavening agent so when you're baking, add to cookies that you want to have rise, like snickerdoodles. When you need a break from all this cooking, get some flour, salt, and Cream of Tartar and make homemade play-dough. Then mix Cream of Tartar with some water until it’s a paste and clean up after yourself.
This product is certified kosher.
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*