Perfect Food, Picnic, Tailgate, & Backyard Recipes and more...
Web Alan's Kitchen Recipes

Home | Terms | Contact Us | About Us


Perfect Food, Picnic, Tailgate, & Backyard Recipes and more...


Barbecue Recipes


Beverage Recipes
> Bread Recipes


Cheese, Egg & Pasta Recipes
> Chili Recipes
> Cowboy Recipes
> Dessert Recipes
> Main Dish Recipes
> Penn Dutch Recipes
> Salad Recipes
> Salsa, Dip & Relish Recipes
Sandwich Recipes
> Slow Cooker Recipes
> Soup & Stew Recipes
> Vegetable & Side Dish Recipes
> Picnic Getaways
> Kitchen Tips
> Ask AlansKitchen
> Backyard 
> Menus
> Measurements
> Ingredients
> Terms

Leavening Agent

A leavening agent (sometimes called just leavening or leaven) is a substance used in doughs and batters that causes a foaming action. The leavening agent reacts with moisture, heat, acidity, or other triggers to produce gas that becomes trapped as bubbles within the dough. When a dough or batter is baked, it "sets" and the holes left by the gas bubbles remain, giving breads, cakes, and other baked goods their soft, sponge-like textures.

Chemical Leaveners

Chemical leaveners are chemical mixtures or compounds that typically release carbon dioxide when they react with moisture, heat, and acidity. They usually leave behind a chemical salt. Chemical leaveners are used in quick breads and cakes. Chemical leavening agents include:

  • baking powder
  • baking soda (a.k.a., sodium bicarbonate)
  • ammonium bicarbonate (a.k.a., hartshorn)
  • potassium bicarbonate (a.k.a., potash)
  • Potassium bitartrate (a.k.a., cream of tar tar)
  • potassium carbonate or (a.k.a., pearlash)
  • monocalcium phosphate
  • Biological Leaveners

Microorganisms that release carbon dioxide as part of their lifecycle can be used to leaven products. Varieties of yeast are most often used. Yeast leaves behind waste byproducts that contribute to the distinctive flavor of yeast breads. In sourdough breads, the flavor is further enhanced by various lactic or acetic acid bacteria).

Leavening with yeast is often a slower process, requiring a lengthy proofing.

Yeast can also be used to make carbonated beverages like beer, which can then be used as leavening.

Other Leaveners

Steam and air are used leavening agents when they expand upon heating. To take advantage of this style of leavening, the baking must be done at high enough temperatures to flash the water to steam, with a batter that is capable of holding the steam in until set. This effect is typically used in popovers and Yorkshire puddings, and to a lesser extent in Tempura.

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection
Powered by ... 2006 Alan's Kitchen
Reproduction of material from any AlansKitchen pages 
without written permission is strictly prohibited
E-mail | AlansKitchen Privacy Policy