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We have a chocolate cake (brownie) recipe from France and calls for a packet of levure. We have been putting in yeast but not sure if it is wrong or right. Yeast, baking powder, other?

  • I would've assumed baking powder or baking soda, except for the 'packet of' qualifier. Do they sell other leavening agents in France in packets, or just yeast? – Joe Sep 28 '14 at 0:47
  • Other considerations -- how long do you let it sit before baking? Yeast would require time to work. Also, brownies (at least, in the U.S.) aren't actually leavened. – Joe Sep 28 '14 at 0:48
  • @Joe - It is called "chocolate cake", but looks more like a brownie. It doesn't have any sitting time, that is why I thought yeast was off. – blankip Sep 28 '14 at 0:53
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    Can you link to the recipe? French-speaking people might have a better idea by seeing the whole thing. – Kareen Sep 28 '14 at 14:08
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We metropolitan French distinguish "levure chimique" and "levure organique" (also called "levure de boulanger"). The first one is baking powder (the carbonated molecule), the latter is yeast (the fungi).

If there is only "levure" written, it generally means "levure chimique" (baking powder), as it is more readily available, rises faster, and doesn't need to be carefully kept alive.

  • Thanks for providing an answer based on direct knowledge! As for the last bit, you can't just swap them directly - yeast needs time to work, while baking powder can exhaust itself partially if left in batter for a while. There are a few questions here about that. – Cascabel Sep 28 '14 at 14:14
  • @Jefromi I was thinking of swapping them along with their respective preparation steps, of course. Edited :) – Quentin Sep 28 '14 at 14:17
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    Also, in Quebec, levure just means yeast. Baking powder is poudre à pâte. – Cascabel Sep 28 '14 at 14:18
  • Ah okay. Thing is, in a lot of recipes you can't do that. Breads need the time to develop gluten, and other things often need to avoid overmixing and gluten development. See for example the answers here: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/32291/1672 – Cascabel Sep 28 '14 at 14:19
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    I think I'll just drop the cook advice paragraph and keep myself to the translation :) – Quentin Sep 28 '14 at 14:21
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According to this site and a google image search one packet of "Levure chimique" is 10-11g (or approximately 2 teaspoons) of baking powder.

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Google translate confirms Didgeridrew's answer (not that it was necessary) ;)

enter image description hereenter image description here

Some of the envelopes say 10g, some say 11g. Almost all say it contains the right amount to add to 500g flour. I weighed 2 tsp of baking powder: 10.67g

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    It may be right this time, but especially for words with ambiguous meaning, I wouldn't trust machine translation to get it right. – Cascabel Sep 28 '14 at 14:16
  • @Jefromi I agree. That's actually part of why I did the weight thing. One more layer of certainty. – Jolenealaska Sep 28 '14 at 14:29

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