Leavening Agents

A baker’s guide to leavening agents. Leavening agents are essential in baking, giving your baked goods their structure, texture, and flavour.
Leavening agents

A baker’s guide to leavening agents

Leavening agents are essential in baking, giving your baked goods their structure, texture, and flavour. The good news is that here at Suprima Bakeries, all our high quality dough products come pre-made, saving you time and money on sourcing different ingredients – like leavening agents. We make the dough from scratch so that you can enjoy baking amazing-quality products  that your customers love!

Here’s a guide to understanding the different types of leavening agents and how to use them effectively.

What are leavening agents?

Leavening agents produce gas within doughs and batters, causing them to expand and become light and porous. They can be classified into three main types: biological, chemical, and mechanical. Let’s take a look at the different types below.

Biological leavening agents

dry yeast


There are several types of yeast used in baking, including active dry yeast, instant yeast, and fresh yeast.

Yeast works by fermenting the sugars in dough, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol, which causes the dough to rise.

Make sure the yeast is fresh and active before you use it. To see if the yeast will work, proof it in warm water with a little sugar. You can also change the speed of fermentation by changing the temperature of the dough.

Sourdough starters

Sourdough starters are composed of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The natural yeast ferments the dough, while the bacteria produce lactic acid, enhancing the flavour.

To maintain your starter, regularly feed it with flour and water. When baking, use a portion of your starter in the dough for effective leavening.

Chemical leavening agents

baking powder

Baking powder

Baking powder comes in two types: single-acting and double-acting. It contains an acid and a base, usually cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda, which react when moistened and heated, releasing carbon dioxide.

To use baking powder effectively, measure it accurately to avoid using too much, which can contribute to a bitter taste in your baking. Also, store it in a cool, dry place to maintain its shelf life.

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, works by reacting with acidic ingredients like buttermilk, yoghurt, or vinegar to produce carbon dioxide.

Try to mix baking soda with something acidic for the best results, and use the mixture right away to make sure it rises well.

Mechanical leavening agents

Air is incorporated into dough


Air is incorporated into dough or batter through mixing, creaming, or whipping. To trap air effectively, cream butter and sugar thoroughly, and whip egg whites to stiff peaks before folding them into the batter.

This helps create a light and airy texture in baked goods.


Steam works by turning the water in the dough into steam in the oven, causing the dough to expand and create puff. High-moisture doughs like choux pastry and puff pastry rely on steam for their structure.

For best results, bake these doughs in a hot oven to ensure rapid steam production.

What can happen if your baking doesn’t rise?

If you’re gone to all the effort of sourcing unique ingredients and revising your recipe, yet your baking doesn’t rise, it can really bring you down (pun intended).

Some common issues that may result in your leaving agent not working as intended can include:

  • Using old or expired leavening agents
  • Using leavening agents that may be comprised by heat, moisture or other contaminants
  • Not proofing or baking at the right temperature for yeast activation
  • Over mixing your dough, deflating air bubbles
  • Over proofing, where the dough rises for too long, causing the dough to collapse and become weak.

Make your baking simple with Suprima Bakeries.  We empower baking professionals and business owners by reducing the hard work involved in running a bakery, cafe, or restaurant.

Whether you want to bake focaccia, hamburger buns, cob loaf, or hot cross buns, you can do it all with Suprima.

By working with us, you will bake a greater variety of products and delight your customers with your quality. Our products do the hard work and deliver amazing quality dough straight to your doorstep.

> View our full range of dough products here.

Make a Trade Enquiry

Let’s save your bakery or food business time and money by using our range of convenient and versatile doughs that you bake fresh. Contact the team at Suprima Bakeries today.

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