Thermodynamic description of the chemical leavening in biscuits

R.G.M. van der Sman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we describe the chemical reactions of leavening agents in baking biscuits on a sound thermodynamic basis. The model is part in a sequel targetted at physical understanding of biscuit baking with the purpose of reformulation of biscuits with respect to sucrose and sodium levels. The chemical leavening gases, CO2 and NH3, originate from the dissociation of sodium and ammonium bicarbonate. Next to water vapour, these produced gases create gas bubbles in the biscuit dough. The concentrations of the leavening agents and added salt lead to high ionic strength. Consequently, the activities of ions participating in the leavening reaction deviate strongly from ideality. The non-idealities are described using the Pitzer equations. The values of many parameters of the Pitzer model and equilibrium constants are obtained from the strong developed field of CO2 sequestering in ammonia solutions. The model describing the chemical reactions is coupled to a cell model describing the expansion of gas bubbles. Model simulations show that most of the produced gas originates from the bicarbonate, and the ammonium contributes significantly less. The functionality of ammonium as leavening agent is not quite clear, but it may help in reducing sodium levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Research in Food Science
Early online date26 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Baking
  • Leavening agents
  • Non-ideality
  • Thermodynamics


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