The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Combining rising agents

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Combining rising agents

I recently purchased Inn On the Creek ORGANIC SIX GRAIN PANCAKE MIX which has baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and creme of tarter in the mix.  This may be an odd or even ridiculous question, but what would happen if I put a cup of this in, say a white bread recipe using yeast?


Anyone ever try this?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

For the amount of time you'd need to ferment the bread dough you would lose most, if not all, of the leavening properties of the baking powder and baking soda (baking powder is essentially baking soda with an acidifying agent, usually creme of tarter).


Baking soda acts quickly in the presence of acids and loses its affect rather rapidly.  Baking powder (double acting) reacts quickly to provide an initial rise when it contacts moisture,  then, as it is exposed to increased temperatures, provides an additional "boost".  Single action powder simply responds to the exposure to moisture.


You will also find that, without some acidity in the mix, the use of baking soda and/or baking powder will produce an unpleasant bitter/metalic taste in your baked goods.  Buttermilk is commonly used for its acidity but orange juice and similar acidic ingredients can do the job too.

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

Baking powder consists of an alkali (baking soda) and one or two acids - when they interact, you get carbon dioxide bubbles. Fast acting acids such as cream of tartar (tartaric acid) are useless for bread - they will be used up long before the first rise, let alone the final one. But slow acting acids activate only when heated, and will produce carbon dioxide when you want it - at the start of baking.


Sodium aluminum phosphate is the traditional slow acting acid in "double acting" baking powder. In cakes, it leaves a metallic aftertaste, so many cake bakers used baking soda and cream of tartar separately, the amount of each depending on the acidity of the ingredients.


Most Canadian baking powder now has only slow acting monocalcium phosphate with baking soda. So, using it increases rise only at the start of baking, and adds to the effect of the yeast. If you like lots of cinnamon, fresh ground cloves, or garlic in your bread, all of which suppress yeast, this is useful. However, baking powders vary so much that I haven't posted a recipe using it, as results for those using my recipes (http://johnsankey.ca/bread.html) would be unreliable.


Baking soda alone is valuable to neutralise the acidity of acid ingredients in cakes, but I find it unnecessary in yeast breads, even lemon bread. If you use more than 1/4 tsp per 4 cups of flour in a recipe without acid ingredients (Irish soda breads), it leaves an aftertaste that I don't like.


So, check the ingredient list on your baking powder package - that's key to how it can be used for bread. If it has only monocalcium phosphate and baking soda, then experiment with your brand until you find what works.


John


 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

One use for baking soda is neutralizing the acids in food, making it less sour, rather than leavening. There is no law that will bring out the SWAT team should you completely ruin a batch. Give it a try, starting with a little and increasing until you've gone too far (may taste kind of soapy). :p Adding baking powder will do no good, as the soda is carefully balanced by the acid.


A little soda can "sweeten" a sour dough (not talking sourdough, just a dough that's too acidic for your taste). It's all a matter of taste, like a gardener might actually taste his soil to determine if it's too sweet (alkaline) or too sour (acidic), and adjust with sulphur to acidify or lime to make less acidic.


cheers,


gary

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

I just want to be clear here, that I would follow the recipe using the 2 teaspoons of yeast, and add in the grain mix.  Would the rising agents in the mix ruin the yeast?

jcking's picture
jcking

Is your goal to add some whole grains to your bread?


Jim

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Hi Jim,


The goal is actually making use of the grain mix I have in my pantry.  I'm not one to make pancakes very often and had the inclination to use it in bread making.  I already use a good combination of grains in recipes... but perhaps I may try this idea so as not to waste the mix.


Do you have an opinion on it?


thanks!

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

In essence, that amounts to what is being suggested here. Maybe not so common, but not unheard of.


I have added baking soda (or powder) to english muffin recipes in an attempt to get the "holes". I have seen it in several recipes. As has been mentioned, the difference in use between baking powder and baking soda is(usually) the consideration of whether other acidic ingredients may or may not be used in the recipe. Sometimes one or the other may be used, sometimes both may be called for.


King Arthur flour has several such recipes. Maybe you can use your mix in such an adaptation. ps: "Searches", being what they are, I realize that all of these recipes do not necessarily use either the powder or soda.


Yeast bread recipes with baking powder added:


 http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search.jsp?Ne=1000&Ntt=baking+powder&rt=r&N=1000014+1019#fragement-2


Yeast recipes with baking soda(4, discounting the pretzel soda bath formulas):


 http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search.jsp?Ne=1000&Ntt=baking+soda&rt=r&y=17&N=1000014+1019&x=54#fragement-2

johnsankey's picture
johnsankey

The King Arthur Flour (KAF) recipes use 1/2 tsp baking powder for 3 cups flour - normal cakes use 3 tsp/3 cups flour, so the baking powder can't be doing much. Furthermore they specify double acting powder, so only half the CO2 production would occur during baking since the quick acting acid would be all used up long before any yeast bread would rise. As a last straw, the KAF English Muffin recipe uses enough vinegar that there would be no baking soda left to do any rising at all!

I tried 1 tsp slow-acting baking powder/cup flour with no yeast, kneaded it normally then baked normally. Result: a 12% increase in dough volume during baking. By law, Canadian baking powder must produce 10% of its weight as CO2 - since 1 tsp baking powder weighs 4.6 g, it must produce 0.46 g CO2, which has a volume of 0.24 l at STP. The actual increase was 0.027 l, only 11% of the minimum required CO2 volume.

That gives you an idea of just how resistant to rise a dough is with fully developed gluten, as opposed to a normal cake dough. It also means that the baking powder in the KAF isn't doing a thing to rise the bread - it's just taste. And, given that the vinegar in the muffin recipe used up all the baking soda in the powder, the only taste left would be of the monocalcium phosphate or sodium aluminum phosphate. Not very appetising to me!

Bottom line: baking powder isn't powerful enough to raise bread doughs, only cake doughs (no developed gluten).

John

 

jcking's picture
jcking

Hey Maggie,


I'd rather not mix baking powder and or soda with yeast. But that's just me. If you do, or have tried the blending, I'd be curious as to the results. As to pancakes, the KA Whole Grain Baking book has a recp I use, and like. It may be on their site. It's called Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix, on page 4. The dry half goes in the freezer and the wet is mixed in before cooking. Very lite and tasty pancake.


I'm curious as to, as I am with other members, where in the world you may reside. I might add that I had funny visions of an oven exploding when I first read your post.


Jim

ananda's picture
ananda

There are some really good comments in the thread.   The time factor is most significant.   Yeast fermentation takes considerable time, whereas chemical aeration will happen not long after water is added, and very quickly once heat is introduced.   I grant you that some baking powder combinations are designed to work considerably slower.


But, note that the usual effect of the chemical combination is to weaken the gluten structure in the dough too.


For all that, there are particular products which do utilise this combination as mrfrost points out.   I'm from the other side of the pond, so have a different understanding of English muffins.   But our "crumpets" are made from a batter which is piped into rings and cooked on a griddle.   The batter is made from a fermented stiff batter.   This is then let down to a piping consistency with a cold Bicarbonate of Soda solution, just prior to use.


I haven't personally come across the 2 leaveners being used simultaneously in baked products, as my understanding is they work at different speeds.


Best wishes


Andy   

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Well all of this is rather enlightening.  I suppose I could 'try it' and see what happens. Too bad I do not have any school age children around to make it into a science lesson. 


If I do attempt this I shall definitely post the result.  It may be a bit comical... we shall see.


thanks everyone.


Maggie Lou