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From the website "Joy of Baking"

Baking powder consists of baking soda, one or more acid salts (cream of tartar and sodium aluminum sulfate) plus cornstarch to absorb any moisture so a reaction does not take place until a liquid is added to the batter. Most baking powder used today is double-acting which means it reacts to liquid and heat and happens in two stages. The first reaction takes place when you add the baking powder to the batter and it is moistened. One of the acid salts reacts with the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide gas. The second reaction takes place when the batter is placed in the oven. The gas cells expand causing the batter to rise. Because of the two stages, baking of the batter can be delayed for about 15-20 minutes without it losing its leavening power.
There is a side-bar on that link posted above with the "rules" for testing baking-powder and baking-soda's effectiveness. It also describes where Cream of Tartar comes from - surprised me!

I was trying to find a recipe for making my own baking-soda when I found this tidbit of info. I find it interesting that cornstarch is used to keep moisture under control. It makes me wonder, should I be transferring my cornstarch from the cardboard shipping container to something a little more moisture-proof?
 

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Blob - the CornStarch that I can get here is in a cardboard box with a wax-paper insert - the cornstarch is "protected" by the wax-paper which is similar to the wax-paper of the good-old-days that were used in cereal-boxes.
 
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