The kitchen is the busiest place in the home and a haven for many accidents like fire. When such a mishap happens, there is also a selection of products available to douse the flame. That is if you pick the right stuff to put out the fire and not make it worse. If you lay your hand on baking powder, you may wonder if it is the best choice. Is baking powder flammable or will it aggravate the situation?
Is Baking Powder Flammable?
Yes, baking powder is a flammable and combustible substance and is not the right option for dousing any fire. It will only feed the fire and expose you to unnecessary risks when it is added to burning objects.
Baking powder is a powdered leavening agent that is indispensable in many baked products. It aerates the batter so that it will expand and ultimately improve the baked goods’ texture, color, and flavor.
Basically, baking powder is made of baking soda, cream of tartar, and starch. It is used for recipes that do not have an acidic ingredient. Baking soda, by itself, is not flammable in nature. In fact, baking soda is the best option for putting out small house fires. But why is baking powder flammable then?
It is due to the presence of cream of tartar, which is an acid, and filler like cornstarch or rice flour. Starch and carbohydrates are flammable substances that can create spontaneous combustion. It makes the baking powder hazardous when exposed to a nearby flame.
What Happens If You Light Baking Powder on Fire?
Baking powder will ignite when it is set on fire. The glucose in carbohydrates will fuel the fire and cause it to burn rapidly.
Why Is Baking Powder Flammable and Baking Soda Not?
The flammability of the product depends on its composition. While baking powder contains the non-flammable sodium bicarbonate, baking powder has added components. A product that contains starch has glucose in it. The glucose component makes it vulnerable to the naked flame. Thus, the baking powder should not be used to extinguish a fire.
The cardboard and a plastic container of store-bought baking powder may also burn when exposed to fire. This product is essential in the kitchen and is safe when handled properly. Keep baking powder away from heat sources and flames. You can transfer it to a closed jar with a label so as not to confuse it with baking soda.
Is Burning Baking Powder Bad For The Environment?
The huge danger of accidental burning of baking powder is the massive fire it can create. It can form a combustible dust concentration in the air and fuel the fire. Combustion of baking powder will release carbon oxides and toxic vapors.
Is It Dangerous To Inhale Burning Baking Powder Smoke?
When baking powder is put under fire conditions, hazardous fumes are also present. It can cause respiratory irritation like breathing problems and can trigger asthma and other pulmonary conditions. Thus, proper protective equipment is necessary in event of unusual baking powder burning.
Is It Safe to Heat Baking Powder?
Baking powder needs heat to activate its leavening property, provided it also has moisture with it. When it is heated or mixed with liquid, it undergoes a chemical change. The heat will release the carbon dioxide and water leaving the baking powder as a washing soda. While heating it is safe, remember that it also releases toxic fumes and carbon dioxide.
Is double-acting baking powder flammable?
Double-acting baking powder still has the same baking powder composition. Thus, it is also a flammable product by nature. The difference is that it raises the batter when mixing and leavens it again while baking. Most baking powders sold today are double-acting, although it is not indicated in the package.
What if you accidentally use baking powder in cleaning the oven instead of baking soda?
Baking powder left in the gas outlet does pose a potential fire threat. Although the risk is small, it is still imperative to be cautious. So, clean all white powder residue from the oven, just to be safe.
What to do if you accidentally pour the baking powder into the fire?
Use extinguishing media like foam or dry chemical powder into the surrounding fire. Baking soda or salt may help revert the fire, but only if it is small. In case of a grease fire, do not use water to douse the flame as it can risk splashing and spreading of fire.
Baking powder is one of the treacherous pantry ingredients because of its potential fire hazard. It contains flammable starch that can worsen the fire. Baking powder is not used for extinguishing any type of fire because it can only fuel it to spread. To safely distinguish it from the fire-retardant baking soda, label your container properly. It will prevent inadvertent mishaps in case of a kitchen grease fire.
Related Flammable Product Articles: