Although most people have heard of cream of tartar, few people know what it is and what it is used for. You’ll be pleased to hear it’s nothing to do with the tartar that your dentist may refer to and is a by-product of the wine industry.
Neither is it a cream. It is an acidic substance that is in the sediment left behind in wine barrels after the fermenting process. It is purified into a white powder and then is most commonly used in baking, in wine production and the pharmaceutical industry.
No industrial kitchen should be without this substance as it has several uses. A pinch of cream of tartar added to egg whites that are being whipped will help stabilise them, preventing the mix from collapsing too soon. The powder will also help to increase the volume of the mix and keep them white and glossy.
It’s also useful when working with sugar. Too often boiling sugar can crystallise, which makes it unworkable – but the cream of tartar disrupts sugar’s natural binding action. Plus, thanks to its acidity, cream of tartar can activate alkaline baking soda, when it’s being used in baked goods.
Cream of tartar is classified as an acidulant – and in food manufacturing, it is used to make food more palatable for customers. It can be used as a flavouring as it has the powerful ability to both intensify some flavours and mask any undesirable tastes. It’s often used alongside sweeteners for this very reason – it can minimise the bitter aftertaste that sweetener usually has.
Completing its journey from barrel back to wine, this by-product is also used as a wine stabiliser. The process of cold stabilisation can take up to three weeks, but there is a way to speed up the process – which leads to better efficiencies for wineries.
A small amount of cream of tartar – known as tartrates in the wine industry – is added to chilled tanks of wine. Adding them helps to seed the wine and provides a sizeable surface area for excess tartrates to precipitate on to. If the correct amount of cream of tartar is used, stabilisation can be achieved within an hour.
This fine, white powder is also used in both the pharmaceutical industry and by veterinarians. The former uses its cathartic and purgative effect, so it has been used in remedies for water retention and constipation. The latter also prizes the ingredient’s laxative and diuretic properties.
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Cream of Tartar Powder BP
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All of our content is researched and reviewed by our experts. While we, Joseph Flach & Sons Ltd, do not make use of our products for health, beauty or other recreations such as brewing or distilling; our clients do. Please ensure that any products you buy from us are suitable and safe to use in your stock. We do not accept liability around the suitability of our products in any end-use.
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