Cream of tartar is a recipe staple, particularly in baking. However, most people are unaware that mixing cream of tartar and baking soda creates baking powder. Cream of tartar is a must-add to many baking recipes, like meringue or a souffle, because it stops sugar crystals from binding together. In addition, it can last an indefinite time when stored in air-tight jars away from heat and light. For culinary purposes, use a minimal amount of cream of tartar in baking goods and preparing desserts. There are more uses for cream of tartar than being a baking ingredient. It is a highly beneficial natural remedy for several ailments. For example, mixing half a teaspoon of organic cream of tartar with a glass of lukewarm water is the best way to lower blood pressure and tackle potassium deficiency.
Is cream of tartar really a cream?
First and foremost, it isn’t creamy. It’s a dry, powdery, acidic residue of grape fermentation. Potassium bitartrate, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate or tartaric acid, is its scientific name (hence the commercial name). However, it’s labelled as plain ol’ cream of tartar in the spice section.
Cream of Tartar: Nutrition Facts
According to USDA, every 100g of cream of tartar contains the following nutrients.
- Calories: 258 kCal
- Carbohydrate: 61.5 g
- Fibre: 0.2 g
- Calcium: 8 mg
- Iron: 3.72 mg
- Phosphorus: 5 mg
- Sodium: 52 mg
- Zinc: 0.42 mg
- Protein: 0 mg
Chemically, the cream of tartar is potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate. It is a derivative of tartaric acid. Hence, the name cream of tartar. The above nutritional facts reveal that cream of tartar isn’t specifically rich in any essential nutrient element. However, the excess presence of sodium proves the chemical reaction that occurs when the cream of tartar comes in contact with any liquid. This way, carbon dioxide gas is produced.
Cream of tartar is a byproduct of wine brewing as it crystallises out of the skin of grapes and wine. The cream of tartar is a powder form of tartaric acid. Therefore, it shows an acidic profile similar to lemon or vinegar. For example, the pH value of cream of tartar is about 3.557.
Health Benefits of Cream of Tartar
Potassium bitartrate or cream of tartar has some unique health benefits other than being a baking ingredient. Here’s a list of a few astonishing things cream of tartar can do for your health.
Migraine and cream of tartar
Migraine headaches are unbearable and annoying. However, you can get some help from the cream of tartar to reduce these headaches. You can drink half a teaspoon of cream of tartar in one glass of water and feel the difference. Cream of tartar is rich in potassium, and this element can reduce migraine. In addition, it acts as a buffer that controls acid-alkaline levels and boosts antioxidants in the body. It reduces the triggers of migraine.
Cream of tartar and digestive processes
Almost every other individual on this planet has experienced the pain of acidity and nausea. Cream of tartar consumption significantly lowers the hyper acidic pH of the stomach. This way, it helps properly digest food and prevents regurgitation.
Cream of tartar and regulation of kidney functioning
No one would have thought that a remnant product of the winemaking process beholds such essential benefits. Cream of tartar is rich in potassium levels. Potassium is a crucial element that works in sync with the kidneys. Kidneys work more effectively when potassium levels are well-maintained in the body. Thus, if you are always getting infected with Urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney disorders, then the cream of tartar might help you! Drinking one glass of warm water with a pinch of cream of tartar in it reduces the burning sensation and irritation caused due to malfunctioning kidneys or UTI bacteria.
A preventive measure for arthritis
Arthritis can be an extremely gruelling experience for many adults and senior citizens. The inflammation in the joints feels extremely painful when you consistently use your joints. Although there isn’t a permanent cure for arthritis, there are two home remedies you can try!
Cream of Tartar Bath Bombs for Arthritis
To make cream of tartar bath bombs, you will need the following ingredients:
- Cream of tartar: 50 g
- Baking soda: 50 g
- Epsom salt: 50 g
- Essential oils of your choice
- Food colour of your choice
- Circular moulds to make bath bombs
In a bowl, add 50 g baking soda and 50 g cream of tartar. With a small hand whisk, mix it nicely. Add 50 g Epsom salt and mix thoroughly. Once mixing all the dry ingredients is accomplished, you can create portions of this mix. This way, you can make bath bombs of different flavours and colours. Add essential oils according to your preferences in all the mixtures. Once the dry ingredients and essential oils are combined, they should hold a shape when pressed between the palms. At this stage, add food colourings of your likeability to these bath bomb mixtures. You can add dried flower petals, leaves, fruit skins, etc., to make them aesthetically pleasing. Create bath bombs using circular bath bomb moulds and store them in an air-tight jar. Using these bath bombs will help you reduce the swelling around your joints.
Cream of Tartar Drink
This recipe got discovered in the 1990s. It claims consuming this drink will help you lessen the pain of arthritis. Here’s how you can prepare this drink:
- Wash three oranges, lemons, and grapefruits each. Blend them nicely (with their skin and seeds).
- Keep them aside overnight.
- Next day, add 50 g Epsom salt and 50 g cream of tartar to 1.5 L of boiling water.
- Mix the two solutions and store them in a container. Place the container in the freezer and freeze the solution.
- Drink two tbsp of this drink with one glass of water every day for benefits.
Deals with heartburn
Every time you feel a burning sensation in your upper thorax, it is majorly a sign of heartburn. Heartburn is due to improper functioning of the digestive system that may lead to regurgitation of acid from the stomach towards the chest. It is a painful experience, and everyone wishes to get rid of it quickly. So here’s what you can do! Mixing ½ tsp cream of tartar with ½ tsp baking soda in a glass of water and drinking it will fade the heartburn. The cream of tartar contains antioxidants that can fight against oxidative stress and acid reflux responsible for heartburn. And there is considerable research on how antioxidants work as a defence mechanism against oxidative stress.
Home remedy for acne
Severe acne for prolonged periods is painful and disheartening. To cure persistent acne, you might have tried dozens of home remedies. However, this remedy of cream of tartar will bring you results faster than any other remedy. If you add 1 tsp of cream of tartar to a cup of water/juice/tea/coffee and drink it, you will soon get rid of acne. It is because cream of tartar aids in good digestion. A healthy gut is a key to healthy skin.
The cream of tartar detox properties keeps the skin acne-free. In addition, the anti-bacterial property of the organic cream of tartar fights against acne-causing bacteria occurring due to pollution, oil, and dirt. Further, a study shows that taking dietary antioxidants through the cream of tartar, grapes, and mulberries can prevent acne vulgaris.
Myths of Cream of Tartar
Although cream of tartar has surplus health benefits, it can be toxic at the same time if consumed excessively. Moreover, there are certain myths associated with eating cream of tartar. These myths include:
Cream of tartar helps to quit smoking.
There’s a myth bustling around that cream of tartar helps to quit smoking. It says that drinking orange juice with a pinch of cream of tartar in it helps flush out nicotine from your body. But unfortunately, no scientific data or research proves that a cream of tartar flushes out nicotine from your body. Moreover, eating excessive cream of tartar can prove to be toxic.
Regular consumption of cream of tartar won’t harm you.
Studies claim that regular eating of cream of tartar severely affects your gut pH. It makes the gut pH hyper alkaline and stimulates more acid production. Hyperkalemia is a severe condition that may prove fatal as well. Higher potassium content in blood will also lead to the weakening of leg muscles and cause tremors. In addition, excess alkaline pH in the stomach can make you feel nauseous and uneasy.
Cream of tartar doesn’t alter kidney functioning.
Cream of tartar may reduce the chances of UT infections. But, excess potassium levels in the blood put kidneys under pressure. It is because potassium is a potent diuretic. Therefore, an increase in potassium levels leads to a rise in the diuretic action of the kidneys, which is harmful.
Uses of Cream of Tartar
Keep your kitchen drains clean and running smoothly by pouring down a 4:1 ratio of baking soda to the cream of tartar. The bubbling action of this mixture removes rust stains and keeps your kitchen clean. Other uses of cream of tartar are:
- Add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar per egg white for making smooth meringue. It prevents the proteins in the egg whites from sticking together, allowing for a smoother meringue consistency.
- Adding a little bit of cream of tartar to water lowers the pH of the water. Also, it helps the vegetables you’re steaming retain their colour.
- The formation of crunchy sugar crystals makes candy making hard. Adding cream of tartar helps keep the crystals small.
Alternatives to Cream of Tartar
The industrial manufacturing process of winemaking leads to the formation of cream of tartar. Therefore, it is impossible to generate the same at your home. However, there are substitutes for the same. Below are some alternatives for the cream of tartar in baking.
- Try using baking powder instead of cream of tartar. Baking powder has cream of tartar in it. Therefore, you can use it as an ideal substitute for baking.
- Lemon juice is a good alternative for the cream of tartar in beating egg whites. Cream of tartar helps to obtain stiff peaks while beating egg whites. This action is done with lemon juice as well.
- Vinegar and lemon juice mixture proves to be a perfect substitute as well. Drop-in half a tsp of vinegar into two tbsp of lemon juice and work the lather. It is an ideal ingredient for baking.
Recipes You Can Relish With Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is exquisitely a magical ingredient if you talk about the food industry. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try with cream of tartar:
Chocolate Crepe Cake
Cooking time: 2 hour
- Butter: ¾ cup
- Whipping cream (heavy): ½ cup
- Eggs: 6
- Egg whites: 8
- Dark chocolate, chopped: 1
- Milk: 3 cups
- All-purpose flour: 2 cups
- Sugar: ½ cup
- White chocolate, chopped: 1
- Corn syrup: 2½ tsp
- Salt: ¼tsp
- Cream of tartar: 1 tsp
- Vanilla essence: 2 tsp
Method of preparation:
- Melt your dark chocolate and butter and give them a nice whisk. Allow it to cool.
- In another bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add the earlier chocolate butter mix to this bowl. Finally, mix all the wet ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients to this mixture. The dry ingredients include sugar, all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. After mixing the dry and wet ingredients, keep them aside overnight.
- Prepare buttercream by melting white chocolate with whipping cream. Then mix sugar and cream of tartar. Using a double boiler method, whisk egg whites firmly.
- Once stiff peaks are visible, transfer egg whites to another bowl and beat with a beater for 10 minutes (first 5 minutes high speed and last 5 minutes low).
- Mix vanilla and butter with a hand whisk till the batter is smooth. Then add a tiny amount of white chocolate mixture and beat again. Add a tablespoon of the meringue into this mixture and beat nicely. Keep on adding meringue till everything gets perfectly combined with stiff peaks. Refrigerate this mixture.
- Start preparing crepes in any non-stick pan at medium heat. Do not overcook the crepes.
- After the crepes are cooled, start assembling the cake. Add crepe and buttercream layers and stack them firmly. After every 10-12 layers, freeze them for a few minutes. Lastly, drip some chocolate ganache over the cake and allow it to set.
Servings: 12 biscuits
Cooking time: 30 min
- Flour: 3 cup
- Butter: ½ cup
- Cheddar Cheese: 1 cup
- Garlic Clove: 1
- Chilli Flakes: ½tsp
- Milk: 1¼ cup
- Baking Powder: 3 tsp
- Sugar: 1 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Cream of Tartar: ¾tsp
Method of Preparation
- In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar.
- To this mix, add butter and whisk.
- After 2 minutes of mixing, the batter will look crumbly. At this stage, add cheese, garlic, chilli flakes, and milk. All the ingredients should get combined well into a soft mass.
- Pipe out your biscuits on a cooking tray and bake for 20 min.
Things to keep in mind while purchasing the cream
It’s critical to ensure that the Cream of Tartar you purchase and use is non-GMO and non-irradiated.
Cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate is one of the secret ingredients in baking to level up the baking game. However, you can effortlessly mask the absence of cream of tartar by using ingredients like lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking powder. Cream of tartar doesn’t spoil, and it shouldn’t expire either when kept dry in a sealed container. Besides playing a significant role in baking, cream of tartar offers certain health benefits. You can use the cream of tartar as an effective home remedy to treat minor cases like acne and headaches. However, eat or use the cream of tartar in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is cream of tartar the same as baking soda?
A. Cream of tartar isn’t the same thing as baking soda. Baking soda is alkaline, whereas, on the contrary, cream of tartar is acidic. Both are combined and used in the formulation of baking powder. While the cream of tartar is potassium bitartrate, baking soda is potassium bicarbonate.
Q. Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda and cream of tartar?
A. Yes, you can use baking powder as a substitute because it has baking soda and cream of tartar. Thus, baking powder can replace the use of these two ingredients individually.
Q. How do you make cream of tartar at home?
A. It is not possible to prepare the same cream of tartar that you get at the market at home. It is because initially, cream of tartar comes from the remnants of the winemaking process. However, there are specific alternatives to it. One way is to mix lemon juice with vinegar. You can get a similar formulation by mixing buttermilk or curd with vinegar.
Q. Can you substitute cornstarch for the cream of tartar?
A. No, cornstarch and cream of tartar serve completely different functions. Cornstarch helps add crispness to your food and suits best for savoury items. However, cream of tartar is a baking ingredient. Thus, you cannot substitute cornstarch for cream of tartar.
Q. What happens when you mix baking soda and cream of tartar?
A. A chemical reaction occurs, which leads to the formation of carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms as tiny bubbles in your liquid preparation. These bubbles help your batter to fluff evenly while baking.
Q. Is there an alternative to cream of tartar?
A. Although you won’t get the exact consistency, there are certain substitutes for the cream of tartar. Lemon juice with vinegar, curd with vinegar, and baking powder with curd are some easy substitutes for the cream of tartar.
Q. Is baking powder the same as baking soda?
A. No, they are not the same thing as baking soda consists of sodium carbonate only. Therefore, it needs to get activated in the presence of a liquid and acidic source to be helpful. On the other hand, baking powder is sodium carbonate along with acid. Thus, baking powder can be activated quickly by coming in contact with a liquid.
Q. What is the purpose of cream of tartar?
A. Cream of tartar serves multiple purposes. You can add it to egg whites to make them fluffier. You can also use cream of tartar as a leavening agent in baking. Cream of tartar is good for baking spongy and soft cakes or bread.
Q. Can you substitute cream of tartar in macarons?
A. Yes, you can substitute cream of tartar in macarons. Instead, you can opt for lemon juice and vinegar mix and get similar results.
Q. How do you use cream of tartar in a cake?
A. Cream of tartar can be used while baking sponge cakes. They help produce perfect soft meringue as they stabilise the egg whites quickly.