A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 23, 2009
Baking Powder

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia; Baking powder
Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used in cooking, mainly baking. It is most often found in quick breads like pancakes, waffles, and muffins. When dissolved in water the baking powder’s ingredients react and emit carbon dioxide gas which expands, producing bubbles to leaven the mixture. Baking powder is used instead of yeast because its action is instantaneous, while yeast takes two to three hours to produce its leavening action.

Most modern baking powders are double acting, that is, they contain two acid salts, one which reacts at room temperature, producing a rise as soon as the dough or batter is prepared, and another which reacts at a higher temperature, causing a further rise during baking. Common low-temperature acid salts include cream of tartar, calcium phosphate, and citrate. High-temperature acid salts are usually aluminium salts, such as calcium aluminium phosphate. Baking powders that contain only the low-temperature acid salts are called single acting.

History
Traditional baking powder was composed of a mixture of tartaric acid and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), a quantity of flour or cornstarch usually being added to reduce the strength.

While various baking powders were sold in the first half of the 19th century, our modern variants were discovered by Alfred Bird. August Oetker, a German pharmacist, made baking powder very popular when he began selling his mixture to housewives. The same recipe he created in 1891 is still sold as Backin in Germany. Oetker started the mass production of baking powder in 1898 and patented his technique in 1903.

Eben Norton Horsford, a student of Justus von Liebig, who began his studies on baking powder in 1856, eventually developed a variety he named in honor of Count Rumford. By the mid-1860s “Horsford’s Yeast Powder” was on the market as an already mixed leavening agent, distinct from separate packages of calcium acid phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. This was packaged in bottles, but Horsford was interested in using metal cans for packing; this meant the mixture had to be more moisture resistant. This was accomplished by the addition of corn starch, and in 1869 Rumford began the manufacture of what can truly be considered baking powder.[3]

During World War II, Byron H. Smith, an inventor in Bangor, Maine, created a substitute product for American housewives, who were unable to obtain baking powder, cream of tartar or baking soda due to war food shortages. Named “Bakewell”, a mixture of sodium pyrophosphate and corn starch, the product is still part of regional culinary history. When combined with baking soda, it is essentially the same as any single-acting baking powder, the only difference being that the acid is sodium pyrophosphate.

In 2006 the development of Rumford Baking Powder was designated an ACS National Historical Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance for making baking easier, quicker, and more reliable.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: baking powder
Function: noun
Date: 1850
: a powder used as a leavening agent in making baked goods (as quick breads) that typically consists of sodium bicarbonate, an acidic substance (as cream of tartar), and starch or flour

(Oxford English Dictionary)
baking-powder, a powder used in baking as a substitute for yeast, through the effervescence of which carbonic acid is diffused through the dough., orig. U.S.
1850 Family Friend III. App. 2/1 Chemical analyses of two of the *baking powders in most general use.
1861 MRS. BEETON Bk. Househ. Managem. xxxv. 856, 2 teaspoonfuls of baking-powder.
1909 Westm. Gaz. 1 June 7/4 Baking-powder beer.

27 April 1994, Providence (RI) Journal, pg. G-02:
Baking powder history
Baking powder is what makes muffins, banana bread and cakes rise.

Rumford Baking Powder was launched 140 years ago right here in Rhode Island, developed by Eben Horsford.  He was a chemistry professor at Harvard University, a position endowed as the Count Rumford chair.

While another brand had been introduced around that time in Boston, Rumford’s endured.

The East Providence Historical Society is marking the anniversary of Rumford Baking Powder with displays throuhgout May. (...)

When George F. Wilson and Horsford started Rumford Chemical Company in 1854 in what is now East Providence, the name of Horsford’s benefactor was used for the company.  As the business grew, the community in East Providence became known as Rumford.  Rumford Baking Powder is now manufactured in Terre Haute, Ind.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, January 23, 2009 • Permalink