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Difference Between Yeast And Baking Powder

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When it comes to baking, many different ingredients can be used. Two of the most common are yeast and baking powder. But what is the difference between the two? And which one should you be using in your recipes?

The main difference between Yeast and Baking powder is that yeast is a living organism while baking powder is not. This means that yeast will continue to grow and produce carbon dioxide gas. Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that produces carbon dioxide when it comes into contact with moisture and heat.

The rest of the article will further explore the difference between these two in more detail.

What is Yeast?


Yeast is a type of fungi that is used in baking and brewing. It is a single-celled organism that reproduces by budding. When yeast ferments sugars, it produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast is used to make bread rise and ferment beer and wine.

There are two main types of yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces boulardii. S. cerevisiae is used in baking and brewing, while S. boulardii is used as a probiotic to treat diarrhea.

Yeast is also used to make cheese and other products. While yeast has many uses, it can also cause infections in humans. These infections are most commonly seen in women of childbearing age. Yeast infections can be uncomfortable but are usually treated with antifungal medication.

What is Baking Powder?

baking powder

Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent. It increases the volume and lightens the texture of baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and muffins.

Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into the dough or batter, which causes the batter to rise. Baking powder is available in both single-acting and double-acting varieties.

Single-acting baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas when it comes into contact with moisture, so it must be used immediately after mixing. Double-acting baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas twice, once when added and again when heated. This makes double-acting baking powder ideal for recipes baked in the oven.

Differences Between Yeast And Baking Powder


Yeast is a live microorganism, whereas baking powder is a blend of baking soda and one or more acidic ingredients, such as cream of tartar.

  • Yeast: When used in baking, yeast causes the dough to rise by releasing carbon dioxide gas. The gas gets trapped in the gluten strands of the dough, causing it to expand.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps the dough to rise by producing carbon dioxide gas. Baking powder reacts with moisture and heat to produce carbon dioxide gas when used in baking.


Yeast-risen dough is light and fluffy, whereas baking powder-risen dough is dense.

  • Yeast: The texture of the yeast-risen dough is due to the carbon dioxide gas trapped in the dough's gluten strands.
  • Baking powder: The baking powder-risen dough's texture is due to baking soda's presence. Baking soda is a coarse, crystalline powder that helps the dough to rise by producing carbon dioxide gas.


Yeast is more expensive than baking powder.

  • Yeast: The yeast's price is higher because it is a live microorganism.
  • Baking powder: The price of baking powder is less because it is a blend of baking soda and one or more acidic ingredients. Baking powder is also less expensive than yeast because it contains no live microorganisms. 

Comparison Chart: Yeast Vs Baking Powder

ParametersYeastBaking Powder
Contains live microorganismYesNo
TasteBit sourNeutral
Shelf LifeMoreLess
Ingredient TypeNaturalSynthetic


Baking powder and yeast are both leavening agents, which means they help the dough to rise. Both baking powder and yeast are microbes that produce carbon dioxide gas. When added to the dough, the gas bubbles expand, causing the dough to rise.

Baking powder and yeast also have some similarities in terms of their preparation. Both need to be activated for them to work properly. For yeast, this means adding it to warm water so that it can start to form bubbles. For baking powder, this means adding it to liquid ingredients before adding dry ingredients.


What is the difference between both ingredients?

Both ingredients are effective at helping bread to become fluffy and light, but they have some key differences. Baking powder is a synthetic ingredient made from baking soda and an acid. On the other hand, Yeast is a natural ingredient made from living organisms.

As a result, yeast often has a more complex flavor than baking powder. Additionally, baking powder is typically quicker-acting than yeast, so it can be used in recipes where speed is a priority. However, because baking powder is more potent than yeast, it is important to use the correct amount to avoid a too-bitter taste.

Why is yeast not used in cakes?

Cakes generally require a more consistent texture and rise than breads, so baking powder is a better option. Baking powder will also work faster than yeast, which is important when making cakes since they often have shorter bake times.

Which one is better?

When it comes to choosing between yeast and baking powder, it depends on what you’re looking to make. Baking powder is the way to make bread with a crispy crust. But yeast is your best bet if you’re after a fluffy, soft texture.

Ultimately, using baking powder or yeast in a recipe is a matter of personal preference. Some bakers prefer the simplicity of baking powder, while others prefer the subtle flavor of yeast. There is no right or wrong answer, so feel free to experiment until you find the ingredient that you like best.


So now that you know the difference between these two leavening agents, it’s time to get baking! Experiment with yeast and baking powder to see which one gives you the results you’re after. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different ratios to find your perfect recipe. What is your preferred choice when baking? Let us know in the comments below!

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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