I recently received a press release about this new product from Rumford (really Clabber Girl, which now owns the Rumford brand). I was interested by it since I get regular requests for low-sodium recipes, and the good folks at Clabber Girl were happy to send along a sample for me to try. Though I have yet to test it comprehensively, I did use it for biscuits (American biscuits) last night. Biscuits are an excellent proving ground in our household because I make them once a week on average. Mrs. Pastry and the girls pick out deviations from the norm with spectrographic sensitivity.
I mixed up a batch with the new baking powder, set them down on the table and watched for reactions. The girls carried on mostly as usual, save for one curious, momentary glance from 7-year-old Josephine at the crumb of her biscuit. 4-year old Jo gobbled hers down without hesitation. The only comment came from Mrs. Joe Pastry, who remarked — politely — that the biscuits were a little denser, a bit more moist than normal. Had I baked them long enough?
Those were my thoughts exactly. Flavor-wise the biscuits were very, very close to my standard versions (they were only very slightly bland compared to normal). However there was a texture difference. The biscuits rose impressively, nearly as high as usual, but the crumb was a bit more compact, and that at least gave the impression of extra moisture. Was it dramatic? No, not at all. I’d guess the reduced sodium product delivered biscuits that were 85% close to standard.
That’s quite impressive when you consider that it delivers 52% less sodium than traditional baking powder. If I were on a low-sodium diet and someone handed me a biscuit like I ate last night, my response would have been: “wow.” Considering how rare low-sodium chemical leaveners are on store shelves (products that work well are rarer still), that Rumford chose to invest in product like this is a serious boon to people on low-sodium diets. It’s a major technical achievement.