Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Amy Eber

Baking Soda and Baking Powder in Europe

Recommended Posts

I will be moving to Switzerland so did a walk-through of several grocery stores while there last week. I did not see baking soda or baking powder on the shelves. I believe baking soda is sold under a different name. Can anyone advise me? Should I buy them in the states every time I am here and bring back a supply? Thanks for any help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They speak French in Switzerland don't they (I can't remember :unsure: ). If they do though, try looking for it under the name 'levure chimique'. Levure is yeast, so levure chimique translates to something like chemical yeast, aka baking powder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

German in Zurich. It is not a matter of my not understanding a translation, there was nothing what-so-ever in any of the baking sections. I sort of recall someone telling me a few years ago they could not buy baking powder and the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) was sold under a comletely different name at pharmacies.

They speak French in Switzerland don't they (I can't remember  :unsure: ). If they do though, try looking for it under the name 'levure chimique'. Levure is yeast, so levure chimique translates to something like chemical yeast, aka baking powder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know in French tradition they use egg mostly to whip air into their deserts. They usually seperate the egg white from the egg yolk to whip the egg whites and then recombine it into the recipe. With that said, I still thought they would have baking soda or baking powder. I would be currious to hear what they use, what they call it, or if they have it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found this on baking in France. Still do not know if they are sold in Switzerland and under what name.

Baking Powder

Europeans buy baking powder is small sachets, where it's called levure chimique. The main difference is it's 'single-acting', which means it starts working right away when mixed with wet ingredients so get whatever you're baking right into the oven. Most American brands are 'double-acting', and contain aluminum, so I bring back Rumford brand, which you can buy here at the Grand Epicerie of the Bon Marché.

Baking Soda

Baking soda isn't widely used by Europeans for baking, since it's a rather old-fashioned leavening agent, and most Americans use it for Gingerbreads, Devil's Food Cake, and Chocolate Chip Cookies (did you know that baking soda helps things brown?)

It used to be that you had to ask the pharmacist. Yet nowadays most supermarkets do carry baking soda, near the salt. I buy it at Indian markets as well.

I know in French tradition they use egg mostly to whip air into their deserts.  They usually seperate the egg white from the egg yolk to whip the egg whites and then recombine it into the recipe.  With that said, I still thought they would have baking soda or baking powder.  I would be currious to hear what they use, what they call it, or if they have it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as a French, I have to buy my baking soda at the pharmacy

baking powder is readily available at supermarkets though

x fanny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm living in France, and I can easily buy "bicarbonate de soude" in the supermarket. It's exactly baking soda, as far as I can tell. I too have brought Rumford baking powder from the States, as the levure chimique isn't the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd bring it just to be safe. At least until you find them there! I recently moved to Europe and brought Baking Powder with me, just to be safe. It's cheap and small enough to not matter.

When I got here, I realized they don't have it, so I was glad I brought it along.

As for baking soda, they had it in the grocery stores where I live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there are a few kinds, here:

jedla sul -- baking soda

prasek do peciva -- baking powder (but, in cube form, yeast!)

kypirici prasek -- leavening powder (which seems to function, in packet form, exactly like American baking powder)

kypirici prasek do pernik -- leavening powder for gingerbread (with gingerbread spices mixed in; I use this one for nearly every cake project, because it smells great) :smile:

Is the last one a Czech anomaly, or does "gingerbread" baking powder exist elsewhere in Europe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, thank you!! I think perhaps these items were not in the baking aisles so I did not see them. A French blog I was reading mentioned the writer found one of the items in the salt section, which was completely seperate from the baking section in my stores. I really appreciate everyone's help.

This person is an ex-pat in Zurich, and she has just the info you need!  In German and French (at least that's what is on the Dr. Oetker packages)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you, thank you!!  I think perhaps these items were not in the baking aisles so I did not see them.  A French blog I was reading mentioned the writer found one of the items in the salt section, which was completely seperate from the baking section in my stores.  I really appreciate everyone's help.

That's very possible. In Canada sometimes the Dr. Oetker products are in the spice section (which is usually near the baking section, anyway).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you refer to as "Baking Soda" is called "Bicarbonate of Soda" in English English. Colloquially, it might be referred to as "bicarb". Chemically, it is Sodium Bicarbonate.

It can usually be found on the baking shelves, but sometimes (also) among toothpastes and the like. Occasionally you might find some on the cleaning shelves!

Baking Powder is, well, "baking powder"... :smile: (but there is a gluten-free variant) and like "Cream of Tartar" can be found on the baking shelves.

http://www.supercook.co.uk/ingredients and scroll down to "Raising Agents".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally found the corner of a torn-out page I was looking for! From an unknown issue of Saveur magazine, a recipe for baking powder:

1/4 cup Cream of Tartar

2 tbsp. Baking Soda

1 tbsp. Cornstarch

Sift ingredients together three times. Store, at room temperature, up to 6 weeks in a tight-sealing jar. Makes about 1/2 cup of baking powder.

Of course, this assumes you'll be able to easily find the main ingredients. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After years of bringing the fine white powder called "bread soda" from Ireland, I finally realised that what is called in French speaking countries "bicarbonate de soude" produces exactly the same result. My German speaking wife tells me that this is probably bakpulver in German but is not totally sure (one amateur baker is enough in any house - she has better things to do). I'm assuming that bread soda and baking soda are interchangeable names for the same thing.

Swiss labels normally have both French and German explanations so if it says "bicarbonate de soude", it's probably the right thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I finally found the corner of a torn-out page I was looking for!  From an unknown issue of Saveur magazine, a recipe for baking powder:

1/4 cup Cream of Tartar

2 tbsp. Baking Soda

1 tbsp. Cornstarch

Sift ingredients together three times.  Store, at room temperature, up to 6 weeks in a tight-sealing jar.  Makes about 1/2 cup of baking powder.

Of course, this assumes you'll be able to easily find the main ingredients.  :biggrin:

Well, funnily enough I just got my March 2008 Bon Appetit that had a recipe by Chef Scott Peacock of Decatur, Georgia whose "homemade baking powder" consists of:

1/4 cup cream of tartar and

2 tbsp of baking soda but

no cornstarch

He has one sift it as well 3 times and says it'll keep 4 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Swiss labels normally have both French and German explanations so if it says "bicarbonate de soude", it's probably the right thing.

What I use now is bicarbonate alimentaire, a Cérébos product, widely available and produced by Esco France, ave Georges pompidou, F-92593 Levallois-Perret Cedex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×