Raising agents

Mechanical Raising Agents

  • Incorporating air by whisking or beating ingredients can cause food to rise. This method is commonly used in souffles or whisked sponges.
  • Steam can work as a raising agent. In recipes like choux pastry or Yorkshire puddings, the high water content of the dough turns into steam, causing the product to rise.

Chemical Raising Agents

  • Bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a common raising agent used in cooking. When it’s heated, it breaks down into carbon dioxide gas, causing the mix to rise.
  • Baking Powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda and a weak acid, usually cream of tartar. It also creates carbon dioxide gas when heated, but unlike bicarbonate of soda, it does not leave a soapy taste when used in large amounts.
  • Self-raising flour is just plain flour with baking powder already added.

Biological Raising Agents

  • Yeast is a type of fungus that ferments the natural sugars in flour to produce carbon dioxide gas. This is usually used in bread making.
  • The process of fermentation by yeast is affected by temperature, amount of yeast, amount of sugar, and proving time.

Remember: The correct choice and use of raising agent is crucial for the desired texture and final outcome of many dishes. Using the wrong type or amount can result in a flat, dense or bitter-tasting product.