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What is cream of tartar and what is it for?

21 mayo, 2021

The cream of tartar It is an acidic salt synthesized from a sediment from plants and fruits. Its presentation consists of a white powder with a slightly acidic taste and no odor. Although its trade name is cream of tartar (tartaric or tartaric acid), its chemical name is potassium bitartrate, and on many food labels it is found as an additive E-334.

This compound has various uses in different areas such as gastronomy (particularly in baking and winemaking), the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Likewise, it can be taken advantage of as an ecological cleaning product inside the home. You can also use it in some home beauty treatments.

If you do not know anything about this ingredient and its functions in the kitchen, in Free Recipes we explain what is cream of tartar and what is it for, an article full of tips that will surely be useful to you on more than one occasion.

What is cream of tartar

The potassium bitartrate, potassium acid or cream of tartar is considered a by-product of wine production, obtained after the winemaking process.

In winemaking, when grape juice is deposited in tanks and barrels, this juice or must undergoes a fermentation process. During that process, non-alcoholic sediments that adhere to the inner walls of the barrels (tartars) until they form a crust. This crust is extracted, cleaned and purified to be converted into what we know as cream of tartar.

Although crystals mostly form in some stored wine bottles, they can also be found on the inside of corks.

What is cream of tartar and what is it for - What is cream of tartar

What is cream of tartar used for: uses

Cream of tartar is a compound recognized above all by people linked to the world of pastry and gastronomy. The best known property of this product is its stabilizing power in egg whites, however, cream of tartar is useful for much more. Here are some of the uses of cream of tartar in the kitchen and the food industry.

  • Stabilizer for egg whites. It is used to beat whites at various points, managing not only to stabilize the preparation, but also to accelerate the creation of bubbles, increase its volume, give it firmness for longer, provide better heat tolerance, give it a whiter and brighter color, etc. For this reason, it is used in the preparation of soufflés, meringues and others.
  • Provides greater flexibility to the icing to decorate cakes, cookies and cupcakes. In this way, it prevents it from cracking or falling apart after applying it.
  • Avoid crystallization of sugar. For this reason, sweets and toppings acquire creamier, flexible and smoother textures. It is used in the manufacture of fondant for creative pastry, syrups, jams, etc.
  • Corrects the acidity of the wine. In addition, it reduces to less than half the hours of cold below zero that the wine needs to stabilize, since it stabilizes it before bottling.
  • Replace the egg in vegetarian and vegan meals. In certain preparations, it is used together with baking soda to achieve properties similar to those of egg and bacterial yeast.
  • It is used in the preparation of industrial soft drinks to achieve a carbonated effect.
  • In the food industry it is used as acidity corrector and preservative. For this reason, you can find it on the labels of products such as candies, chewing gum (gum), gummies (gummies), confetti, syrups, sauces, dehydrated soups, and sweets in general.
  • Provides softer to ice cream. At an industrial level it is used as an emulsifier and stabilizer.
  • Reduces discoloration in vegetables while boiling. Helps preserve much of the vibrant color of these foods.
  • Reduces the sweet taste of sweeteners. Since its natural acidity balances the sweetness.
What is cream of tartar and what is it for - What is cream of tartar: uses

How to use cream of tartar in the kitchen

Have you ever come across recipes that ask for cream of tartar, but you don’t know how to use it? The most common is to find it in meringue recipes, as well as in sponge cakes or other pastry recipes. In those cases, here’s how you can use cream of tartar in your preparations:

  • Baked meringues are better. When you add cream of tartar to the whites, the final product is firmer, lighter and with firmer peaks. When beating the whites until stiff, add 1/8 teaspoon for each white used.
  • Homemade substitute for baking powder. Many industrial baking powders typically include cream of tartar and baking soda among their main ingredients, since baking soda is a chemical booster and cream of tartar is an acid that activates it. You can prepare homemade baking powder, combining: ½ tsp cream of tartar, ¼ tsp baking soda and ¼ tsp cornstarch (Cornstarch).
  • Produces an emulsifying effect. If you want to make mayonnaise and you don’t have vinegar or lemon, you can use 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Here we leave you some recipes with cream of tartar for you to experiment with its applications:

What is cream of tartar and what is it for - How to use cream of tartar in the kitchen

Other facts about cream of tartar

If you have any questions about this product, you may find the answer below, otherwise do not hesitate to ask us, leaving us your questions in the comments:

  • Where they sell cream of tartar: You can buy it in supermarkets and confectioneries, as it is a very commercial product that comes in a wide variety of presentations.
  • How to buy cream of tartar: it is better to buy it in small presentations, and keep it in a cool place. Recipes that call for this product typically call for minimal servings; That is why it is recommended to buy it in presentations that contain around 100 grams, otherwise it is lost. Cream of tartar expires in 1 year.
  • How to substitute cream of tartar: If you don’t have one, you can replace the cream of tartar using lemon juice or vinegar, doubling or tripling the dose. That is, if they ask for 1 tbsp of cream of tartar, replace it with 2-3 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar. If you use this dose in a cake, rest assured that it will affect its flavor, although not necessarily negatively, but its taste will be more acidic. If you don’t like it, you can balance the effect by adding more sugar.

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