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Oct 6, 2012 09:07 AM

using Canadian ingredients in baking recipes from France

Ciao, 'hounders:

I'm going to try out some French baking recipes, but I want to know if there are any ingredients that may not 'translate' well.

For example: Say a recipe calls for "1/2 sachet de levure chimique".

In France "levure chimique" seems to be disodium pyrophosphate, bicarb & cornstarch (some might have cream of tartar instead of the phosphate ingredient), but Magic brand baking powder is cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate & bicarb in that order.

I can buy Dr Oetker Baking Powder "sachets" here in Toronto, and they have the European list of ingredients, but whereas the European sachets are 11 g, but the Canadian ones are 14g. Does that mean the ingredients differ in some way from the European stuff?

So, to make French gateau au yaourt, when the time comes to add the half-sachet of "levure chimique", do I use 5.5 g of Magic Baking Powder, 5.5 g of the Canadian Dr Oetker Baking Powder, or 7 g of the Canadian Dr Oetker Baking Powder?

Also, if I'm using an 80+-years-old recipe calling for "levure chimique," will that mean it's using cream of tartar instead of disodium pyrophosphate? And if so, will that affect how I make the cake?

Are there any other ingredients that might not translate? Is there an important difference between flours (I noticed a long Chowhound discussion about the differences between American and Canadian flours)? Butter? Anything else?

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  1. The rule of thumb that I use is 1 tsp of baking powder per cup of flour. I believe your Magic is similar to the US Rumford. 1 tsp is about 5 g.

    I don't think the quantity of baking powder is terribly critical. I've seen recipes that call for 3 tsp for 2 c flour.

    This yogurt cake from Chocolate and Zucchini
    uses 1 1/2 tsp bp, for 2 c flour, but also 1/2 tsp baking soda to work with the acid in the yogurt.
    So that fits my rule of thumb.

    I have a few packets of Alsa baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, wheat flour), intending to use them when camping. They are 11g, 2 1/2 tsp, and labeled as 'For 500g Flour', which is more like 4 c flour. Looks like this has less starch filler.