Difference between Baking Powder and Yeast (with Table)

Baking powder and yeast are the two mostly used baking-products leavening agents utilized in households or bakeries. without the use of these raising agents, flour dough would look dense, thus a mimicking cement paste. These leavening agents have the identical purpose of creating bubbles form the production of carbon dioxide gas. Although they have a similar purpose of raising dough, there’s a big difference between the agents. Any substitute for the opposite could yield undesirable results.

The difference between yeast and baking powder is that yeast uses a biological reaction to produce carbon dioxide while baking powder uses a chemical change (acid-base) to yield carbon dioxide necessary for the leavening of baking products.

Comparison Table between Baking Powder and Yeast

Parameter of ComparisonBaking PowderYeast
DescriptionA living unicellular microorganismA chemical compound
CompositionComposed of SaccharomycesComposed of sodium bicarbonate plus a mixture of acid salts
Co2 ProductionUndergoes biological reaction to produce carbon dioxideUndergoes chemical reaction to produce carbon dioxide
ReactionReacts after a long time to leaven doughReacts immediately to leaven baking products in heat
ActivationActivated by sugars and warmth in the doughActivated by heat in the oven
Heath BenefitsHas health benefits such as vitamins, mineralsNo known health benefits

What is Baking Powder?

The most common yeast found in commercial stores in the active dry yeast. There are different types of yeast which include fresh yeast and active dry yeast. Yeast refers to a unicellular, eukaryotic microorganism that plays a big role within the fermentation of dough as a result of carbon dioxide and ethanol production. Not only is it utilized in baking products but also in breweries to produce alcohol.

When exposed to sugars in the dough, yeast yields carbon dioxide gas which gets trapped as little air bubbles to leaven the baking product. It makes the product fluffy and controllable. The microorganism gets activated by warmth and sugars. Addition of hot water can render the organism ineffective in undergoing a biological reaction to produce carbon dioxide. As long as there are carbohydrates within the dough, the method will continue until the yeast gets killed during the baking process by high heat.

Yeast is a member of fungus family and it’s the species saccharomyces cerevisiae that transforms sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. A bake made of yeast leads to a spongy and soft texture. apart from the use because the leavening product, yeast is predominantly utilized in cell biology research also as in microbial fuel cells to produce electricity or yield ethanol within the biofuel industry.

The use of yeast in preparing dough brings many health benefits because it is a provider of vitamins, minerals and proteins. especially, it’s a source of vitamin B12 and B-complex. Furthermore, it may be used as a probiotic.

image 40

What is Yeast?

Baking powder is essentially a baking soda (bicarbonate of soda/sodium bicarbonate) mixed with additional ingredients which might include corn or potato starch, and acid salts like mono-calcium phosphate and sodium aluminium sulfate/sodium acid pyrophosphate. Cream of tartar acid also can be mixed with baking soda to form a baking powder. These ingredients can vary from one product to the opposite. But, the bottom line is that the reaction of the acid and the base sodium bicarbonate to make carbon dioxide which is liable for the leavening of baking products.

Because baking powder contains acid, it’s best fitted to recipes that don’t involve additional acid. If that’s the case, it should get replaced with the baking soda to readily mix with the acid and produce carbon dioxide. The potato or corn starch within the baking powder enhances stability.

Unlike yeast, the baking powder acts immediately and it’s activated by heat during the baking process. No waiting period before baking. baking powder can undergo a dual-acting or single-acting process. Single-acting is when the powder is merely activated upon mixing it with liquid. the favoured one is that the dual-acting where the powder is activated by mixing it with liquid and also activated by the oven heat which explains why baking products raise more within the oven than on the countertop. carbon dioxide is produced in two different stages within the dual-acting process.

image 41

Main Differences Between Baking Powder and Yeast

  1. The ingredients of baking powder undergo a reaction to supply carbon dioxide which is then liable for the leavening of baking products. Yeast, on the opposite hand, upon activation, yeast yields carbon dioxide which is then responsible for bubble formation and fermentation.
  2. Baking powder is ideally utilized in recipes that don’t involve additional acid like buttermilk, cocoa, etc. Baking powder is best utilized in baking scones, cakes, pancakes and other light bakes. Yeast is usually utilized in baking pastry and bread. it’s also the main ingredient in alcohol brewery due to the ethanol it produces.
  3. Baking powder is convenient to knead flour and bake immediately. No got to wait until the dough has risen. Yeast can take about 2 hours before it rises fully and become ready for baking. The biological reaction in yeast is slower than the reaction within the baking powder.
  4. Baking powder consists of sodium carbonate plus sodium aluminum sulfate and mono-calcium phosphate mixture or cream of tartar – an extract of tartaric acid. It also can contain corn or potato starch. Yeast, on the opposite hand, has the saccharomyces cerevisiae which is the microorganism behind the effectiveness of yeast in leavening dough.
  5. Baking powder has no known health benefits but yeast has health benefits because it contents like vitamins, minerals.


Both yeast and baking powder are leavening agents. Yeast is a living microorganism that yields carbon dioxide after being exposed to carbohydrates within the dough. baking powder is a compound made from baking soda and acids. It also can contain corn or potato starch and cream of tartar.

Yeast takes time to leaven the dough whereas baking powder leavens the baking products immediately after being conduct with heat within the oven. Yeast may be killed by high heat whereas baking powder is activated by heat.


  1. http://www.mlsk1984.com/articles/article/90KL/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0005276066901196