Types of Raising Agents

Because it’s important to know which raising agent or baking aid can offer a helping hand in your cake or bread making, and with a plethora of different types available, here’s our guide for home bakers and cooks. 

To download or view the table in PDF format click here.

 

BREAD USE

CAKE USE

PASTRY USE

BATTER USE

BAKING POWDER

An acid and alkali blend that forms good bubbles when mixed with liquid and heat, causing a mixture to expand and rise.

If used in excess, baked goods can have a soapy taste.

Sometimes used to make quick bread without yeast. For adding to plain flour, sieve 2 tsp Baking Powder into 100g of flour and mix well.

Commonly used in cake making. Flour sold as self raising already includes baking powder, to make your own sieve 2 tsp Baking Powder and add into 100g of plain flour and mix well.

Not normally added to pastry although a pinch can be helpful if using a coarse wholemeal flour.

Baking Powder is sometimes added to batter in place of, or to compliment egg and will aerate the flour and liquid blend.

BICARBONATE OF SODA

This alkaline powder, sometimes called baking soda, bicarb or NaHCO3 reacts with the acidic ingredients in a recipe. Combined with oven heat this creates small bubbles and a rise during cooking. If used in excess it can impart a metallic taste.

Often combined with yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, or molasses to rise un-yeasted bread, soda bread and quick breads.

Added to some cake recipes made with plain flour and an acidic ingredient (such as apple sauce, citrus, cocoa, brown sugar or molasses) that combines to generate bubbles and lift during cooking.  

 Rarely added to pastry.

A batter made with Bicarbonate of Soda becomes light and crispy thanks to the many small gas bubbles it creates.

VITAMIN C 

A fine white powder also known as ascorbic acid or E 300 it is used as a flour ‘improver’ or dough conditioner due to its ability to enhance retention of the gas produced during the baking process. French bakers add it their baguette recipes.

Small quantities used in short fermented bread oxidise and speed up the dough rising, increase the loaf volume, make a fine, soft crumb and thinner crust. Sieve and combine ½-1 tsp of Vitamin C with 1kg of bread flour.

 

Rarely added to pastry.

Rarely added to batter.

CORNFLOUR 

A popular thickener for sauces Cornflour, sometimes called corn starch, is often used as an anti-caking agent in Baking Powder. Cornflour can also soften crumb texture and to stabilise fragile mixtures.

Rarely added to bread.

To make American style cake flour using all-purpose flour sieve and combine 2 tbsp of Cornflour with 125g all purpose flour. This gives cakes a tender crumb.

Can help hold the volume of beaten egg whites and impart a mallow texture to meringue.

To add a lighter bite to wholemeal pastry, sieve and combine 2 tbsp of Cornflour with every 100g wholemeal flour.

For a lighter batter, sieve and combine 2 tbsp of Cornflour with every 100g all-purpose flour or plain flour. 

QUICK YEAST

Dry yeast for adding straight to the mixing bowl or bread machine used for all types of yeast cookery.

For bread making add 1 tsp to every 500g of bread flour.

Many traditional sweet and enriched doughs are leavened with yeast.

Occasionally used for Danish pastry.

For yeasted batters add 1 tsp to 200g flour.

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