I asked my chem. teacher this and she didn’t know the answer. Recipes for homemade play-doh (modeling compound?) usually consist of flour, water, vegetable oil, salt, and cream of tartar. Is it to improve texture? As a preservative?
Cream of tartar is also know as potassium bitartrate. This compound is predominantly used for texture of the material. It helps mix the water, flour, and oil and keeps it from separating over short periods of time.
I know that it is used in meringue and royal icing (the kind that gets hard like candy decorations) to bind ingredients, so maybe it helps with holding the stuff together and keeping it smooth?
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