6 October 2009


Before we came on holiday we harvested what we could from our garden in England, so that it would not be wasted. Runner beans, cabbage, tomatoes, and almost a pound of blueberries. I decided to make some muffins.
They came out square because I had some muffin cases but no muffin tin. I just arranged the paper cases in an oblong roasting tin.

A nervous moment - would they rise or wouldn't they ?

The flour was a bit of a problem. The recipe called for baking powder but I couldn't find anything like it in the shops in Descartes or the village. I therefore used what I hoped was self-raising flour.
"Farine aux gâteaux" if I remember correctly.

A further problem was the weather. Nicole had warned me that in the very warm weather they might not rise properly.
All things considered, they came out quite well. Very good in fact.
Do they use baking powder in France ? If so, what is it called ?


  1. The nearest you can get is levure, though the strong one is for braead baking. I get mine in UK, or in an English shop, as I am used to using baking powder. Muffins do need extra baking powder.

  2. Jean, Can you send me some of those muffins? They look delicious.

    Baking powder = 'poudre à pâte' in French. Mind you, that's the translation I found on www.vertalen.nu - a translation site on the internet. I'm not really into baking, so that might be wrong. Maybe Ken or Walt can come up with a better translation, as they are real bakery chefs! Martine

  3. Jean and Martine, baking powder is called "levure chimique" or "poudre à lever" is is sold in little 10-gram packets at the supermarket in France, usually near the flour. It's also sometimes called "levure alsacienne" because that is a well-known brand. It's the same thing as baking powder, a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and tartric acid that react with each other when moistened and cause doughs and batters to rise. I was just reading in a cookbook about single-acting vs. double-acting baking powders... another whole story. "Poudre à pâte" seems to be a Canadian name for baking powder.

  4. Don't confuse levure chimique with levure de boulangerie. The latter is yeast!

    And those muffins look wonderfully good!

  5. Thanks everyone. I was looking for something in a drum or box, which is how it is sold in the UK. We get yeast in little sachets.
    As "lever" means to lift or raise up it makes sense.
    Here's to fluffier muffins next time !!

  6. Today we were at Paris-Store, the Asian-products supermarket up in Blois. There we saw a huge tin -- maybe a litre -- of baking powder (labeled both poudre à lever and levure chimique) for 5 euros.

  7. Hello muffins look yum & square is def the new round....

    I had thought that Levure chimique is just the french equivalent of bicarbonate of soda - however have just checked packet and it appears to contain bicarb + 'diphosphate disodique'...

    To create 'Baking Powder' so often called for in English recipes, I was under impression you needed bicarb and Cream of Tartare(whatever THAT is...!?)

    When in France, if you want the baking powder (i.e. with the cream of tartar) you hunt high and low til you occasionally find (Intermarche or Auchan) BORWICKS Baking powder....or you add it the list of things to ask friends and family to bring :)

    I just checked the french translated sticky label on the back of my recent french bought tub and it claims to contain...bicarb + acid sodium pyrophophate... on the english ingredients list it states the same..

    PS I agree def not Levure or any of the other additional descriptions as this is yeast!

    A bientot!

  8. Single-acting baking powder is composed of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar (or tartric acid, same thing I think). Those react together when water water or other liquids are added and produce gas bubbles that make dough rise.

    Double-acting baking powder has other ingredients that are heat-activated. So it rises twice, once when liquid is added, and again when the mixture is put in the oven.

    That's what I read in a cookbook. The author said most people use too much baking powder when they bake, and it gives an off flavor to the finished product.

    The baking powder we brought here from America (Clabber Girl brand) contains, get this: cornstarch, bicarbonate of soda, sodium aluminum sulfate, and monocalcium phosphate. Very appetizing.