Can I Make Cream of Tartar?

How do you make cream of tartar?

By Sharon from Sacramento, CA


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October 23, 20100 found this helpful

It is a chemical that can be found in the spice section in the grocery store. I think you can usually substitute baking powder for it though.

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October 26, 20100 found this helpful

Substitute for cream of tartar
lemon juice (3 x quantity) or vinegar (3 x quantity)

1 oz. = 3 tbsp.

Cream of Tartar
Other names: potassium acid tartrate, potassium bitartrate, cream of tarter (common misspelling)

Cream of tartar is a by-product of the wine industry. A crystalline acid forms on the inside of wine barrels. The barrels are scraped and the sediment is purified and ground to form cream of tartar.


I obtained this info from the website:

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October 27, 20100 found this helpful
Cream of tartar is the common name for potassium hydrogen tartrate, an acid salt that has a number of uses in cooking. Now, before you get all jittery about the thought of cooking with an acid, it's worth noting that lettuce, brown sugar, steak, plums, and just about every other food we eat is acidic. In fact, egg whites, baking soda, and milk are the only non-acidic (alkaline) foods we have.

Cream of tartar is obtained when tartaric acid is half neutralized with potassium hydroxide, transforming it into a salt. Grapes are the only significant natural source of tartaric acid, and cream of tartar is obtained from sediment produced in the process of making wine. (The journal Nature reported some years ago that traces of calcium tartrate found in a pottery jar in the ruins of a village in northern Iran are evidence that wine was being made more than 7,000 years ago.)


Cream of tartar is best known in our kitchens for helping stabilize and give more volume to beaten egg whites. It is the acidic ingredient in some brands of baking powder. It is also used to produce a creamier texture in sugary desserts such as candy and frosting, because it inhibits the formation of crystals. It is used commercially in some soft drinks, candies, bakery products, gelatin desserts, and photography products. Cream of tartar can also be used to clean brass and copper cookware.

If you are beating eggs whites and don't have cream of tartar, you can substitute white vinegar (in the same ratio as cream of tartar, generally 1/8 teaspoon per egg white). It is a little more problematic to find a substitute for cream of tartar in baking projects. White vinegar or lemon juice, in the ratio of 3 times the amount of cream of tartar called for, will provide the right amount of acid for most recipes. But that amount of liquid may cause other problems in the recipe, and bakers have found that cakes made with vinegar or lemon juice have a coarser grain and are more prone to shrinking than those made with cream of tartar.


For general baking, you can try the sub suggestions. If you are using expensive ingredients, stick to the tarter.
It is not that costly, find a food coop where you can buy a tablespoon or so. It does not take a lot for a recipe, 1/2 teaspoon sometimes. My roll out perfect sugar cookie is a must to use it. It is what makes the snap crunch in the cookie, not the sogginess type that bends and folds when you bite.

There is a lot more interesting info on that site to read, household applications, etc

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