An Analysis of Acid-Base Reaction and Fermentation Induced Leavening Agents in in Bread Making


  • Sally Liu
  • Joe Song
  • May Sun
  • Yolanda Sun


Leavening is used to describe the culinary process in which an agent is added to raise
bread during baking. Leavening agents release air bubbles inside the dough, and this creates the
fluffy texture of well-raised bread. For example, yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a common
leavening agent used in baking, which produces carbon dioxide (CO2) during fermentation by
converting sugar into CO2 gas and ethanol (C2H5OH) (Miller 523). On the other hand, chemical
leavening agents depend on the phenomenon of acid-base reaction to produce CO2 for leavening
in baking (Miller 523). The two popular chemical leavening agents were brought into our
attention: baking powder and citric acid and baking soda. In this experiment, we showed
equivalent amounts of chemical leavening agents cannot substitute the same amount of yeast as
leavening agents, and we discovered baking powder was a slightly better leavening agent
compared to citric acid and base mixture, as the mean volume of baking powder leavened bread
was 42% less than the volume of bread baked with yeast, while the volume of citric acid and
baking soda leavened bread was 46% less than the volume of bread baked with yeast.