there's baking soda (or sodium bi-carbonate) and and baking power for for numerous baking applications (if there's a cooking use, please call me out on that!). baking soda creates porosity via reaction with an acid, which generates carbon dioxide (the heat then increases that initial, induced unit volume). however, baking powder (as it is so marketed, "double-reacting") creates that initial porosity via carbon dioxide generation via acid AND heat.

so, my question is this: is there any leavening agent that provisions this initial porosity via ONLY heat alone? in case anyone is wondering, please forgo any kind of natural or "sourdough"-type approach to solving this question.

  • 1
    there are most definitely cooking uses for both of those items; adding baking soda to cooking beans raises the pH and makes them soften faster/fall apart (which you want for some dishes), and it lightens caramel popcorn and similar items by causing the candy to foam up when added. I've seen baking powder used in matzo balls to make them fluffy, too. There are definitely more uses, but I can't think of any offhand.
    – Esther
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


Ammonium carbonate:

Ammonium carbonate may be used as a leavening agent in traditional recipes, particularly those from northern Europe and Scandinavia (e.g. Speculoos, Tunnbröd or Lebkuchen). It was the precursor to today's more commonly used baking powder.

It acts as a heat activated leavening agent and breaks down into carbon dioxide (leavening), ammonia (which needs to dissipate) and water.

(The Lebkuchen recipes I am familar with all use sodium bicarbonate and eggs, though, for some particular alkaline taste that you want to get.)


Kind of - you can use eggs as leavening. Actually what happens here is that beaten egg retains air in the form of bubbles. The air expands when heated, creating a leavening effect. It doesn't escape as it is trapped in the solidifying matrix of the egg as it cooks.


I was looking for info on using potash for leavening and came across this blog post in original German or translated to english which is from a company that sells both hartshorn and "baking potash." It would seem that potash does not require an acid to create the bubbles that will then expand into joyous leavening.

  • The blog articles are both in English... it seems like the site hosts both languages itself and may redirect visitors
    – Phil
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 15:50

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