Feeling flat?

Dear Home Ec 101,

The last couple times I’ve made drop biscuits they’ve been flat as a pancake. I have not altered the recipe. Can you tell me why?

~Consternated in Conyers

Heather says:

I am willing to bet the culprit is your baking powder. This pantry staple has a relatively short shelf life and should only be purchased in small quantities, unless you are an avid baker. Once opened a tin of baking powder will only last three to four months in a cool dry place. If the weather is warm and muggy, its lifespan will be considerably shortened.

There is a simple method to test my theory. Simply add 1 tsp of baking powder to a half cup of hot water. If active, it will bubble in the water. If nothing happens, it’s time for a new tin.


  1. Susan on November 29, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    You can add essential oils (I use lavendar) to old cans of baking powder. Sprinkle on your carpet, and you have an easy reuse for that old baking powder!!

  2. It’s Chemistry in the Baking on November 26, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    […] baking soda and baking powder lose effectiveness with time.  Baking powder loses its potency more quickly as humidity causes the reaction to […]

  3. Home Ec 101 » Blog Archive » Pantry basics on July 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    […] Make sure the flour and sugar are stored in air tight containers. Young adults are not always the best about observing “use by dates.” On the lid of the baking powder clearly write the expiration date, so he’s not left feeling flat. […]

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