Keeping it clean, convenient

There are labeling considerations, too, when considering chemical leavening ingredients. For the growing organics market, U.S. organic standards allow for the use of DCPD, MCP (and its anhydrous form) and SAPP in organic products with at least 95% organic ingredients.

“With natural and clean label becoming more mainstream, bakers are turning to organic acids or other cleaner label acidulants, such as those void of aluminum, rather than the more traditional phosphate-based leaveners,” Mr. Mason said.

Clabber Girl now offers baking powder that is made with corn starch produced from non-genetically modified corn, and is Non-GMO Project verified.

If low-sodium content is important, potassium bicarbonate should be considered in place of some or all of the sodium bicarbonate.

“Most Americans consume more than the recommended amount of sodium, which may have some serious health implications,” said Trey Muller-Thym, president, Thymly Products. “In a cake, baking powder can add almost 500 mg sodium that is not needed, so we made a baking powder that contains zero sodium.”

Convenience is making a comeback in the baked goods industry as microwave baked products are gaining traction. For microwaves, the leavening system is formulation-dependent but generally uses a mixture of fast-leavening agents such as SAPP, CAPP and SALP, Ms. Heidolph said. The type of oven is also important.

“For convection ovens, the surface of a baked good can set quickly, so the leavening system must rapidly expand the product to achieve maximum volume,” Ms. Heidolph said. “For impingement and band ovens, the leavening and oven settings must be set up to work in concert to deliver sufficient lift.”

No matter the bake time, method or ingredients, Mr. Mason recommended that bakers always keep the pH of their product in mind during formulation.

“This can be a good indication if they are getting full reaction of the baking soda,” he said. “I would also caution that there is a diminishing return in baking powder dosage in that much past the 6% to 7% usage on flour levels, they are likely not seeing much additional gassing and are adding unnecessary ingredients or sodium to the formula.”