Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate and a weak acid and is used for increasing the volume and lightening the texture of baked goods. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture.
Baking powder was discovered by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird in 1843. It is used instead of yeast for end-products where fermentation flavors would be undesirable or where the batter lacks the elastic structure to hold gas bubbles for more than a few minutes,or to speed the production. Because carbon dioxide is released at a faster rate through the acid-base reaction than through fermentation, breads made by chemical leavening are called quick breads.