A Popular,
Efficient and Wholesome
Leavening Agent
By T. J. B R Y A N , Ph. D.; D. Sc.
H E healthfulness, efficiency and economy
of the Combination Type of baking powder have convinced the people of the United
States of the great superiority of this type
of powder. More than four-fifths of the
baking powder used in this country is of this type.
Demands for this baking powder are being received
from every country in the world. In view of these
facts, we ask your indulgence for a necessary, but
concise statement with reference thereto.
Baking Powder is a mixture of an acid-reacting
material and an alkaline-reacting material, together
with starch. This mixture, when brought into con'
tact with the moisture of the dough at the time of
baking, produces a chemical action between the
acid-reacting material and the alkaline-reacting ma'
terial during which carbon dioxid is evolved. This
carbon dioxid thus liberated throughout the dough
produces the "aeration" or leavening of the dough.
Prior to the introduction of chemical leavening
agents in the form of baking powder, the leavening
was secured by the use of yeast, or eggs, which
were beaten into the mixture of flour and other
baking ingredients, and later by the use of sour
milk and baking soda. The acid of the milk per'
formed the same function as the acid-reacting material now employed in commercial baking powders.
About sixty years ago, increased knowledge of
chemistry suggested the use of cream of tartar in
lieu of sour milk, and shortly thereafter commercial
baking powder appeared upon the markets composed of cream of tartar and soda mixed with starch
which assisted in preventing premature chemical
reaction between the acid and alkali ingredients.
At about the same period, calcium acid phosphate
was suggested as an acid-reacting material and
shortly thereafter such baking powders appeared
consisting of calcium acid phosphate, bicarbonate
of soda and starch. Both of these types of baking
powder, and especially the latter, were found to be
inefficient in moist climates, especially in territory
where considerable time elapsed between the manufacture of the powder and its ultimate use by the
consumer. This inefficiency was due to the absorption of atmospheric moisture by the baking powder.
Both cream of tartar and calcium acid phosphate
are known as "quick-acting" acid materials combining in chemical union with the bicarbonate of soda
in the presence of moisture at normal atmospheric
temperatures. Science was again called upon to
produce an acid-reacting material which would
offer greater resistance to atmospheric moisture and
which would not unite in chemical union with the
bicarbonate of soda at normal atmospheric temperatures.
Anhydrous sodium aluminum sulphate was the
first slow-acting acid-reacting material suggested,
known as sodium aluminum sulphate and this is
the only aluminum compound used in baking powder in the United States for the last forty years.
After the introduction of baking powder prepared with sodium aluminum sulphate, the consumers and the baking trade soon learned that because
of the ability of this new powder to remain fresh
and efficient under difficult climatic conditions existing during storage and transportation, and because
of its efficiency in leavening properties, it was superior to the quick-acting baking powders containing cream of tartar or calcium acid phosphate, and
its sale greatly increased. This increase has been
continuous and at the present time fully 80% of
the baking powders sold in the United States contain sodium aluminum sulphate.
Early in the production of this type of baking
powder, it was found that a combination of calcium acid phosphate and sodium aluminum sulphate
produced a baking powder of qualities superior to
any other. This superiority was due to the double
acting character of the powder. The calcium acid
phosphate caused an evolution of gas in the cold
batter while the sodium aluminum sulphate acted
very slowly in the cold and its action was completed only in the heat of the oven. Thus the
evolution of leavening gas was continuous from
the moment the moisture of the dough came in
contact with the powder until completed by the
heat of the oven. This gave a more even and uniform leavening to the cake or bread than occurred
in either the straight sodium aluminum sulphate
powders which acted only when heated in the oven
and superior to the straight phosphate and cream
of tartar powders which too quickly gave off their
leavening gas in the dough before heating. Calumet Baking Powder is the leading powder of this
Calumet Baking Powder contains calcium acid
phosphate, sodium aluminum sulphate, bicarbonate
of soda, starch and dried white of egg. It contains only such ingredients as are recognised by
the U. S. Government and the individual states
thereof, as healthful and efficient in baking powder.
This recognition is set forth in the standard for
baking powder promulgated by the U. S. Secretary
of Agriculture as Circular 174. The residue left
in food prepared with it is aluminum phosphate
and sodium sulphate.
In 1906, the Congress of the United States en-
acted a law known as the Food and Drug Act
which sought to protect the public against the sale
of unwholesome foodstuffs and to guard it against
misbranding and deception in the labeling of foods
and drugs. This law, which is one of the most
stringent and exacting pure food laws in the world,
regulated the manufacture and sale of all foods and
ingredients of foods, including baking powder. At
the time of the enactment of this law, baking powder containing sodium aluminum sulphate was being
sold to consumers of the United States at the rate
of more than one hundred million pounds each
Shortly after the passage of the Food and Drugs
Act, the United States Department of Agriculture
was called upon to definitely determine whether or
not numerous preservatives and other ingredients
of food were deleterious to health, and therefore
illegal under the law. For the purpose of permitting the Department of Agriculture to establish the
facts in such cases, the President of the United
States appointed what was known as the Referee
Board of Consulting Scientific Experts. This board
was composed of five of the leading scientific ex*
perts in the United States, Prof. Ira Remsen, of
Johns Hopkins University, a chemist of International reputation, being appointed chairman; Prof.
Russell H. Chittenden, Dean of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University; Prof. John L. Long,
of the Medical School, Northwestern University;
Dr. Alonzo E. Taylor, of the University of Pennsylvania; and Prof. Christian Herter, of Columbia
University, were the other members. These men
constituted an authoritative and impartial board of
experts and were instructed to thoroughly investigate the questions of the wholesomeness of food
products which were in controversy and which
were required to be determined to permit the Department of Agriculture to enforce the Pure Food
Law. After this board had investigated the effects
on health of the common preservatives, the Government decided that public policy prompted that
the board should also determine the truth or falsity
of the charges by competing manufacturers against
baking powder containing aluminum salts. The
effect of aluminum compounds on nutrition and
health was accordingly submitted to this board for
determination. Their investigations on this subject
included the feeding of human beings over a period
of approximately eighteen months, with the use of
baking powder agents administered in both normal
and excessive amounts. The several members of the
board conducted experiments independent of each
other. The results of all experiments agreed so well
that the Referee Board was enabled to draw a
unanimous report. The following are the conclusions which the board submitted to the Secretary
of the United States Department of Agriculture
and which are published in the official ruling of
that Department in United States Department of
Agriculture Bulletin No. 103:
"Aluminum compounds when used in the form of bak'
ing powders in foods have not been found to affect inju*
riously the nutritive value of such foods."
"When aluminum compounds are mixed or packed with
a food, the quality or strength of said food has not been
found to be thereby reduced, lowered or injuriously
This is set forth in the United States Department
of Agriculture Bulletin No. 103. This contains the
conclusions and a brief statement of the work.
The details of the experiment have not been pub-
lished. The promulgation by the Secretary of Agriculture of the findings of the Referee Board of
Consulting Scientific Experts was the official statement of the United States Government that these
baking powders were not deleterious to health, and
the manufacture, sale and use of this type of baking
powder has continued and grown under the National and State Pure Food Laws ever since. The
scientific literature has not disclosed any reports of
experiments which in any way criticise the findings
of the Referee Board or offer any scientific evidence
that those findings are not correct and valid. This
applies not only to scientific literature in the United
States, but also to that of the world.
On the other hand, there has appeared in the
literature work done by Geis, by Stoklassa, and
others which show that aluminum salts in proper
concentration hastens the germination process.
Stoklassa has also shown that aluminum salts detoxicate iron and manganese compounds, resulting
in more vigorous plant growth, and Daniels has
shown that aluminum plays an analogous role in
animal life.
Aluminum is the most widely distributed metal
in the earth's crust and is taken up in small quantities by almost every plant. This results in aluminum compounds being present normally in our
vegetable foods. The amount present, while small,
is so universally present in all foods that it is estimated to be not less than six times the amount that
would be ingested from the ordinary use of baking
The only publication fully reviewing the facts on
the healthfulness of aluminum compounds in food
is that by Dr. E. E. Smith, "Aluminum Compounds in Food." This book contains a fuller ac-
count (taken direct from the complete report of
the Referee Board of Consulting Scientific Experts
on file at Washington, D. C.) of their work than
has been previously published, as well as reviewing
all the pertinent facts on the subject.
The Referee Board is generally considered in the
United States as the "Supreme Court of Science."
In 1918, after the Referee Board had announced
its findings, the U. S. Department of Agriculture
again put its stamp of approval on sodium aluminum sulphate, when it adopted a standard for
baking powder. This standard sets forth the ingredients which are recognised as legal throughout the
United States. Sodium Aluminum Sulphate is one
of these ingredients. The effectiveness and health fulness of these ingredients were thoroughly investigated before the standard was adopted.
The Government of the United States, through
its organised departments of government, has thus
twice announced that baking powder containing
sodium aluminum sulphate is not deleterious to
There has never been offered a word of evidence
to show that any human being has ever been made
ill or in any other way unfavorably affected by
this type of baking powder, nor is there in the entire scientific literature a single reference to such a
case. This is very pregnant of meaning when it
is realised that approximately 150 million pounds
of combination baking powder containing sodium
aluminum sulphate are sold and consumed in the
United States each year, and that this baking powder has been consumed in large quantities by young
and old, sick and well, for more than thirty-five
years. If there was any serious question as to the
wholesomeness of this type of powder, it is neces-
sary to assume that in view of the enormous consumption of it by the consuming public of the
United States, it would long ago have been the
subject of further investigation by the United
States Government, whose duty it is under the law
to protect the public against deleterious ingredients
in foods.
The consuming public in the United States is
required to pay approximately twice as much for
Cream of Tartar powder as they pay for Calumet
Baking Powder and other popular brands of powder of the same type. Two teaspoonfuls of baking
powder to a quart of flour are required of Cream
of Tartar baking powders, while only one teaspoon'
ful of the Calumet type of powder is required. The
Calumet type is surer in its leavening effects with
less danger of failure under adverse conditions and
adapts itself to a wider range of oven temperatures.
In the light of all the facts, especially in view of
the authoritative findings of the Referee Board of
Consulting Scientific Experts, officially approved
and accepted by the United States Government,
and the absence of any evidence to show a single
case of any person suffering deleterious effects from
the use of this type of baking powder, and in view
of the complete absence of any experimental data
showing a deleterious effect, I recommend Calumet
as the most wholesome, efficient and economical
double-acting baking powder on the market.
Ph. D.; D. Sc.