Differences between yeast, baking powder and baking soda




Bread baking and any other food you see or buy for consumption has some science behind it.  Yet, most bakers are not interested in what happens to a dough from the mixer to the oven.



Knowing and understanding bread science is very essential to your bakery success. For example, just packing yeast, plenty of it for that matter to make Agege Bread in Lagos, Oama Bread in South Africa or Tea Bread in Ghana will affect your bread product in a particular way. Why was your baked bread light, why did it mould and spoil faster than your expectations, why does it smell alcohol...

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What makes your bread rise? Why do we recommend use of both baking powder and yeast in your Bread?

So today's Food Science Question is "What is the difference between Yeast and Baking Powder in Bread Baking?"


Baking powered, baking soda and yeast are all called leavening agent used in baking.

The difference between yeast and baking powder is that yeast reacts with sugar, causing it to go through fermentation which results in production of carbon dioxide.

The carbon dioxide gets trapped in bread dough and becomes little air bubbles responsible for making bread rise.

Yeast is used for bread baking primarily because the rise for bread happens before it is baked. This helps you have control over your production.

However, if you are making cakes, muffins, pancakes, pies and other baked products which does not require rising before it goes into the oven, then you need baking powder.

Baking powder is baking soda mixed with a few extra ingredients, including an acid.
Baking powder is only fully activated by heat, which is why a cake rises in the oven and not on your countertop, the way bread does. Baking soda does not do that.

It is recommended that you add baking powder and not baking soda to your bread.

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