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What is a leavening agent in context of food recipe? do they have nutritional value?

Date: 02 Mar 2016    Group: Health    Category: Nutrition   

I have heard that leavening agents are added in certain food recipes. What is a leavening agent in context of food recipe? Do such products have any nutritional value? Can you give examples of some typical leavening agents? Are such leavening agents naturally occurring products or a synthetic ones?
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Searching for information about leavening products? Wondering if they have nutritional value? Find advice from experts here.

Author: Juana    03 Mar 2016      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 10  (Rs 10)    Voting Score: 0

Leavening agents are ingredients used for baking different kinds of breads. Leavening is added to dough or batter that need rising before going into the oven – such as pizza dough or bread dough. Leavens are also used while brewing wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks.

There are different types of leavening agents and the processes of using them vary. However, all leavening agents work the same way. When used in dough and batter they make the same to rise. The process of the batter and dough rising is known as 'proofing'.

For instance, dry yeast used for making breads is first mixed in warm milk and sugar causing it to froth. This frothy mixture is added to the dough. The proofing continues even after it is added to the dough causing the dough to swell, trapping in air bubbles within. The air bubbles create pockets inside the dough even as it bakes, enabling the distinctive soft, spongy texture that buns and breads have.

When used in the making of alcohol, leavens initiate the fermentation process.

The most commonly used leavening agents used at home include the following –
1. Baking powder
2. Sodium Bi-carbonate commonly known as Baking soda
3. Active dry yeast
4. Baker's yeast
5. Sourdough
6. Cream of Tartar/Tartaric acid

The following leavening agents are added to commercially available foods like biscuits and cookies etc –
1. Potassium bicarbonate
2. Potassium carbonate
3. Dipotassium carbonate
4. Ammonium bicarbonate
5. Ammonium carbonate

Nutritional value of yeast
Yeast is rich in
• Potassium
• Carbohydrates
• Sodium
• Protein
• Iron
• B complex

However, the nutritional value in foods that contain is not really much, because the quantity of yeast in foods is very small.

Author: Juana    03 Mar 2016      Member Level: Diamond     Points : 1  (Rs 1)    Voting Score: 0

Here is what leavening agents do to the dough. The image shows the 'proofing' of the dough. The first image of the dough just kneaded with active dry yeast, and the second image shows how the dough has risen in size.

Click on the image to expand.

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