“Leavening agent, substance causing expansion of dough and batters by the release of gases within such mixtures, producing baked products with porous structure. Such agents include air, steam, yeast, baking powder, and baking soda.” (Source: http://global.britannica.com/topic/leavening-agent)
Western bread, cakes, muffins or even Chinese steamed buns, sponge cakes, Huat kuih and etc. need a raising agent or leavening agent to rise such that the cake are softer, fluffier and easier to eat. A cake totally without a raising agent will resemble some hard kuih that are difficult to bite. There are many raising agents and the one that are mostly covered in my recipe are as follows:
- Yeast – breads, Chinese rice flour huat kuih, steamed buns etc.
- Baking powder – Plain flour huat kuih, butter cakes, muffins, some cookies, karipap etc.
- Baking soda – chocolate cakes, act as a supplement to baking powder etc.
- Double acting baking powder – Usually used in Chinese steamed buns that complement with the yeast etc.
- Ammonia carbonate – Some recipes for you tiao, Chinese steamed buns, walnut cookies
- Whole eggs – Both Western and Chinese sponge cake
- Egg whites – Chiffon cake, angel cake etc.
Of course there are still many other types of leavening agent such as sourdough starter, potash which I have never issued a recipe before.
In my Facebook Group circle of friends, I have seen people making bread using double acting baking powder despite yeast is being used. They also put baking powder in Kuey nerng ko to make it fluffier though traditionally this is raised by whole eggs. Chiffon which is wholly raised by egg white have baking powder as well. Well these group of friends really like baking powder. They put baking powder even in kuih bahulu or traditional sponge cake though there is totally no such a need since eggs can help in the raising..
On the other hand, there is a Group of Facebook friends who are wary of using anything that have baking powder or baking soda, not to mention anything that have a chemical name like ammonia carbonate. I am utterly shocked that some Taiwanese group were baking butter pound cake without any baking powder. I am doubtful about the outcome but it seems that the cakes looks rather beautiful with a slight crack. In this case, that butter cake is purely raised by eggs alone. Without eating the cake, I am sure that cake is denser but they are willing to forgo the fluffiness of the cake for the sake of their health since they believed that baking powder is not a healthy baking item. Some have feedback that they do not like baking powder or baking soda because they can’t take the smell. Yes, it is true that under baked cakes and muffins or cookies have a foul smell that even me personally cannot take it.
Well, I am impartial as to whether it is better to totally omit baking powder or baking soda in my bakes or to add additional baking powder to the bakes to make it fluffier and enhance the texture. I followed recipe and when we designed recipe, we don’t call for usage of unnecessary raising agent unless it is required to do so. Most recipes in the cookbook, internet and etc. have already taken into consideration the baking theory of how much dough or batter will need how many percentage of raising agent such that it can provide an acceptable texture to the diner. As for me, as long as anything not excessive should not be detrimental to health but adding baking powders to chiffon cakes, kuih bahulu, kuey nerng ko or bread is definitely not my cup of tea.. I cannot consent and I will not issue such type of recipes..
A member in a Facebook group posted a queries if there is any recipes for scones that do not used baking powder but she had never mentioned the reason. Personally, I think it is because of her concern that baking powder is a chemical and hence is not good. It sparks my interest.. I have never thought of using yeast to raise scones as all the while, it is a well known fact that scones are heavily raised by baking powder. Personally I thought it may be doable though I have never try. I researched and there are quite a number of recipes in the internet. I pick one of the latest and tried out the recipe.
My verdict is personally, I prefer the yeasted version because for the very personal reason that I like yeast flavoured bakes. If you are worry about the texture because you are baking powder dependent, don’t worry, it is just like the normal muffins raised by baking powder.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Recipe adapted from: Best ever scones recipe – Telegraph
Servings: About 8-10 yeast depending on size
- 250 grams of plain flour or all purpose flour
- 140 ml or grams of fresh milk
- 60 grams of salted butter
- 5 grams of instant yeast
- 20 grams of sugar
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Sift the flour, instant yeast into a big mixing bowl and add the butter cubes from the fridge. Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast. Note that yeast can also be added together with milk if you prefer.
- Make a centre in the flour. Add almost all the cold milk and mix lightly in the same direction with a spoon/spatula/flat bladed knife. Mix until the dough comes together in a clump. Because the moisture content of flours may varies, therefore. amount used can also varies depending on the room temperature or attitude. If it is too dry, use the remaining cold milk.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it until 2 cm thick. Use a 5 cm round cutter to cut the dough and transfer to the baking tin. Let it proof until 1.5 times to 2 times in size. If you want even fluffier scones, you can let it proof longer.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- Brush the proof scones with some cold milk or beaten egg yolk, bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and lightly browned on top.
This is a neutral post and I never expressed my stand that I am against the use of baking powder. I only condemn excessive and unnecessary use of baking powder. In future preparation of scones, I may either use this recipe using yeast or use back the old recipe using baking powder depending on circumstances of the case. I am issuing this post out of my curiosity and It may be of interest to those readers who are cutting down the use of baking powder.
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