Is the ingredient Improving Agent halal?
Improving agents are food additives used in making bread and cakes to develop the dough so that the dough increase its volume, and also when the dough is baked, it can expand further. If the improving agent is mixed into the dough it will form carbon dioxide gas. The gas is then trapped in the gluten (the protein component of wheat flour), the longer time the more gas is produced, so that the dough will expand.The first type of the agent is called baking soda, which contains a chemical called sodium bicarbonate. This material was prepared by chemical synthesis and there is no problem in terms of the halal status.
The second type is baking powder, a mixture of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) with the leavening acid. The leavening acids which could act as a developer are the salt of phosphoric acid, sodium aluminium phosphate, glukono delta lactone and cream of tartar. From all these materials that should not be used is the cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is actually a potassium salt of tartaric acid obtained as a by-product of wine industry (a type of liquor). That is why this material should not be used by Muslims. Unfortunately, cream of tartar is widely used in making cakes, many listed in baking recipes, and even sold in a pure form. Therefore, avoid the use of cream of tartar, replace with another type of improving agents because other materials would serve the same improvement but halal.
Another term of the improving agent is bread improver or a cake improver. In certain markets, certified halal of cake improver and bread improver are already available.
Source: Potency of non-halal food products, and issues on genetically modified food.