It's a dry, powdery, acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. Its sciency name is potassium bitartrate, aka potassium hydrogen tartrate or tartaric acid (hence the commercial name). But you can find it in the spice aisle labeled as plain ol' cream of tartar.
Correspondingly, what makes cream of tartar?
One of the best known uses for cream of tartar is for stabilizing egg whites while whipping them. Cream of tartar is also often added to baked products to help activate the alkaline baking soda. In fact, cream of tartar mixed with baking soda is what gives us baking powder.
What is the purpose of cream of tartar in a recipe?
Cream of tartar, a byproduct of wine and grape juice processing, is an acidic salt that acts as a stabilizer in recipes that require whipped egg whites, such as meringue, angel food cake, and soufflé. When whipped, egg whites (also known as albumen) can swell up to eight times their initial volume.
Is cream of tartar and baking powder the same?
The acidic ingredient most often used in baking powder is cream of tartar. You can make your own baking powder: simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder has a neutral taste and is often used in recipes that have other neutral-tasting ingredients, such as milk.