I’m trying to make chicken & dumplings. In a weird twist of fate, I am out of baking powder and baking soda, but I have cream tartar. Will that leaven the dumplings enough?
If you mix the right amount of it with baking soda, yes. Cream of tartar plus baking soda equals one type of baking powder.
By itself, not as far as I know.
Reading Wikipedia on “baking powder” reveals that you can get by with “baking soda plus…” lots of different things, but without baking soda, none of the other things (vinegar, cream of tartar, etc) can really work on their own.
Have you got any self-raising flour? Use that instead.
To the OP the answer is “no”.
Baking soda is a base. Cream of tartar is an acid.
Baking powder mixes the two (or something else in place of cream of tartar that does the same thing).
Which of course tells us that baking powder and baking soda are not the same thing.
Confusing them can lead to poor results.
But the OP has neither powder nor soda it seems. Cream of tartar alone will not do what you want. You need the base and the acid to react to leaven the dough.
ETA: Probably way, way too late to the party, but in case it helps in the future or helps another poster:
If you use cream of tartar by itself, you will get some dense, sour-tasting dumplings. As stated above, the cream of tartar needs a base to react with to form the bubbles that leaven the dough (remember the vinegar & baking soda experiments of elementary school science class? Same idea, with cream of tartar, aka tartaric acid, as the vinegar. Feel free to dip a finger into the cream of tartar and taste what it’s like when it’s not neutralized. Sometimes, there are baking dishes where the cream of tartar is purposely not completely reacted with baking soda, like in snickerdoodles. Just leaving a bit of the tartar unreacted gives them their characteristic tang [which most commercial versions lack. A snickerdoodle is not just a cinnamon sugar cookie!]).
Anyhow, where was I? Better to leave it out and make a smaller dumpling that does not require leavening. It will obviously be a different, chewier type of dumpling, but you can make something like spaetzle or potato dumplings and it will go well with the dish. Or make egg noodles. I know, it’s not chicken-and-dumplings at this point, but it gives you some options.
ETA2: Also sparkling water, if you make the dumplings quickly and you don’t over handle the dough, can lighten up a dumpling. I’ve done it in crepe and spaetzle recipes for a puffier, lighter product, but I’ve never tried it on something as large as a dumpling for chicken and dumplings. But another idea to keep in mind for next time if somebody wants to experiment.
Too late for your emergency, but for future reference…
As others have said, you need both a base and an acid to work. There are a wide variety of acids you might well have in your kitchen that you could use, including fruit juice or puree (especially citrus), vinegar, cream of tartar, buttermilk, sourdough, or crystallized citric acid (which is used in some canning recipes). Even cocoa powder is acidic.
However, the only base that’s really common in kitchens is baking soda. Baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate) is a base that is called for in some old-fashioned cracker and cookie recipes. It’s safe to use but most people don’t keep it on hand.
Your laundry room is full of bases (washing soda, lye, liquid ammonia solution, borax, etc.). I can’t recommend using any of them in cooking, though some may be safe and effective if you use exactly the right amount. I wouldn’t risk it.
Your best bet may be the medicine cabinet. A Rolaids tablet contains 750 mg of calcium carbonate, a base. Pure calcium carbonate is sometimes sold as a baking soda substitute for those on a low-sodium diet. The tablets I have are only 40% calcium carbonate by weight, and calcium carbonate is less effective at producing carbon dioxide, so you’d have to use quite a lot. I would try about 3 Rolaids tablets (pulverized in a coffee or spice grinder) for every ¼ teaspoon of baking soda called for. Or 3 Rolaids tablets pulverized plus ½ teaspoon cream of tartar for every teaspoon of baking powder called for.
Just to clarify, you don’t just need a base to react with the acid, you specifically need a carbonate compound that will produce carbon dioxide gas bubbles in the reaction. It’s the gas bubbles that leaven the mixture. Lye wouldn’t work, even if it were food grade.
I’ve made nice dumplings without leavening, just separate an egg, whip the whites, and fold into the batter.
It also tastes quite bad, because it gives off ammonia. When you make thin hard dry items (crackers, thin ultra-crispy cookies), the ammonia blows away and everything turns out fine, but dumplings made with ammonium carbonate would have a very noticeable ammonia taste.
[QUOTE=bibliophage;21239704Your best bet may be the medicine cabinet. A Rolaids tablet contains 750 mg of calcium carbonate, a base. Pure calcium carbonate is sometimes sold as a baking soda substitute for those on a low-sodium diet. The tablets I have are only 40% calcium carbonate by weight, and calcium carbonate is less effective at producing carbon dioxide, so you’d have to use quite a lot. I would try about 3 Rolaids tablets (pulverized in a coffee or spice grinder) for every ¼ teaspoon of baking soda called for. Or 3 Rolaids tablets pulverized plus ½ teaspoon cream of tartar for every teaspoon of baking powder called for.[/QUOTE]
Mmm… minty fresh dumplings…