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Your Baking Powder Makes a Difference

Fine Cooking Issue 68
Photo: Scott Phillips
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We recently had a puzzling experience in the test kitchen: A scone recipe worked fine one day, but when we made the exact same recipe again, it had a strange aftertaste. The only difference was that the second batch involved a fresh can of a different brand of baking powder. Intrigued, we decided to do a side-by-side taste test of a few brands of baking powders.

We made scones with Rumford, Calumet, and Davis baking powders, and our results clearly pushed us toward Rumford. The Calumet scones had a notable chemical or metallic aftertaste. The Davis scones had a similar off flavor, though less pronounced. The Rumford scones tasted clean and free of an aftertaste. It’s interesting to note that of the three brands, Rumford is the only one that doesn’t contain an aluminum compound (sodium aluminum sulfate), which some bakers say gives baked goods a bitter aftertaste. Whether it’s the aluminum compound that caused the flavor defects or something else, we’ve become loyal to Rumford.


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