This post is part of a series about the differences in ingredients between Japan and the U.S. When I first arrived in Japan, I had a lot of trouble at times because I wasn’t used to these differences, so hopefully this information is helpful! For the full list of posts in this series, see this page.
Baking powder, baking soda, and yeast have been pretty much the same for me as they were in America, but at first I just had a little trouble finding these common baking chemicals in Japan. I knew that they must be available, but I wasn’t sure where to look or what they would be called.
First, baking powder. This was pretty easy for me to find because in Japanese, they just use the English name: ベーキングパウダー (beikingu paudaa), and in the brand they sell around here, it’s written in English letters as well on the can. (By the way, the can stumped me at first, since I had never used any product in that kind of container before – you have to use a butter knife or the end of another utensil to pop open the lid.) When I checked a dictionary, another word for baking powder was listed, 膨らし粉 (fukurashi-ko), but I have never seen it used in recipes or on the package.
Baking soda was a little harder. In contrast to baking powder, which was clearly marked with the English and katakana word, I always find it in the store as 重曹 (juusou), though the dictionary has that word along with the English word ベーキングソーダ (beikingu souda), and I’ve seen both terms in recipes.
Finally, yeast. This is the only brand sold in my local supermarket, though they have different packaging options. I like to buy my yeast in one big package (you can see it labeled on this box as 50g x 1袋), but they also have options of several smaller packages inside the box. Here again, we have the English word ドライイースト (dorai iisuto) for dry yeast. This box is the instant type (not required to activate in warm water before using), so it’s labeled 予備発酵不要 (yobi hakkou fuyou); it’s also marked as 顆粒 (karyuu), or granule-type. And finally, it mentions: ホームベーカリーにも使えます, or “can also be used in bread machines”.
Once I figured out what these things were and where to find them (usually with the other baking or cake-decorating supplies in the supermarket), I’ve had no trouble using them exactly the same way I did in America.