The Fresh Loaf

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Difference in browning between yeast and baking powder?

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jvlin's picture
jvlin

Difference in browning between yeast and baking powder?

While creating cake donuts, I used one recipe with yeast and made an identical batch with baking powder instead of yeast. Oddly enough, the batch with yeast browned extremely quickly, while the batch with baking powder browned very slowly. Everything else, including eggs/butter/starch/water was the same (by weight in grams). The batch with yeast was a lot lighter/airier, and the batch with baking powder turned out a bit tougher.

Does anyone have an explanation of why this is? I don't know if the yeast is making it brown quickly (with something the yeast creates) or if the baking powder is making it brown slowly.

Thank you everyone! Your help is much appreciated.

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

Probably the yeast in conjunction with the enzymes converted the starches into sugar more quickly than the baking powder ever could.  And with more converted starches into sugar, the more caramelization.  Research the term "Maillard Reaction".

jvlin's picture
jvlin

Thanks for the response! I will be sure to look into this and maybe change the portions of each ingredient.

adri's picture
adri

First I thought: odd. Baking powder should make the dough more alkaline and therefore support the maillard reaction. But I just thought of baking soda.

But: modern baking powders also have something sour to neutralise the alkaline (GDL or calcium citrate or... ). A wild guess would be: This might lead to a more sour skin and therefore decrease the browning.

Does this also happen if you use pure baking soda?

Adrian

jvlin's picture
jvlin

Thanks Adrian! I will keep this in mind when testing various recipes. One thing though, I did try a recipe (the same one as I usually do) with both the yeast and the baking powder, and it still browns fairly quickly. I haven't tested it recently to compare it to the yeast-only recipe, but I know that it still browns more quickly than the version with only baking powder. So with this, I think that the yeast is causing it to brown more quickly, not the baking powder slowing it down. It's just a guess, though!

I haven't actually use baking soda because I don't have anything acidic in the recipe, but I would be willing to give it a try. Would you recommend that I try it?

adri's picture
adri

Well, without any sour in the dough, I believe, baking soda won't work very well.

It would just be "research" ;) With cheap ingredients (flour, water, salt) I would do the test. With eggs, butter, ... maybe not; or in a very, very small batch (downsized to 1 egg).

Adrian

lepainSamidien's picture
lepainSamidien

Adri is right, without some sort of acid in the dough, baking SODA would not work very well; however, baking POWDER has the acid already built in, and thus should be activated by the addition of liquid.

My question would be as to what KIND of baking powder are you using? That could affect the outcome, whether it is double-acting or not.