Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to make baked foods lighter and less dense. Baking powder works by making a reaction between an acid and a base, which produces carbon dioxide bubbles to make the mixture light. It is used when the food should not taste of yeast or when the mixture is not elastic enough to hold bubbles for very long.. Because carbon dioxide is made faster by baking powder than yeast, breads made with it are called quick breads.
Most baking powders are made up of an alkaline (usually baking soda), one or two acid salts, and a starch (cornstarch or sometimes potato starch). Baking soda is where the carbon dioxide comes from, and the acid releases it, like this:
- NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ + CO2 + H2O
- Matz, Samuel A. (1992). Bakery Technology and Engineering (3 ed.). Springer. p. 54. http://www.google.com/books?id=rU1wQotD3jIC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA54#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
- McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking (revised ed.). Scribner-Simon & Schuster. p. 533. http://www.google.com/books?id=iX05JaZXRz0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA533#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
- "Chemical Leaveners, Lallemand Baking Update, Vol. 1 No. 12, 1996". Lallemand Inc.. http://www.lallemand.com/BakerYeastNA/eng/PDFs/LBU%20PDF%20FILES/1_12CHEM.PDF. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- A.J. Bent, ed. (1997). The Technology of Cake Making (6 ed.). Springer. p. 102. http://www.google.com/books?id=OTy8aIWxHhQC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA102#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2009-08-12.