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Leavening Agents at Work

Leavening Agents at Work

Leavening Agents at Work

Even the richest cake or crustiest bread should be light and airy. Here we reveal the secrets of leavening agents!

  • Baking Powder is a leavener containing a combination of baking soda, an acid (such as cream of tartar), and a moisture-absorber (such as cornstarch). When mixed with liquid, baking powder releases carbon dioxide bubbles that cause bread or cake to rise.
    • Double-Acting Baking Powder releases some gas when it becomes wet and the rest when exposed to oven heat.
    • Single-Acting Baking Soda releases their gasses as soon as they’re moistened.

  • Baking Soda is used as a leavener in baked goods. When combined with an acid ingredient such as sour milk, sour cream or molasses, baking soda produces carbon dioxide bubbles, thereby causing a dough or batter to rise. Because it reacts immediately when moistened, it should always be mixed with dry ingredients before adding any liquid; the batter should be placed in the oven immediately.

  • Yeast is a living, microscopic, single-cell organism that, as it grows, converts its food into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast is available in a dry granule form, which is stored in the cupboard, and in compressed cakes, which is perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator. You can substitute 1 envelope of dry yeast for 1 cake of compressed yeast.

  • Air is incorporated into a batter primarily by 2 methods, creaming and foaming. Creaming is the process of beating fat and sugar together to incorporate air. Foaming is the process of beating eggs with or without sugar to incorporate air.


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