The History of Baking Powder

The introduction of sodium bicarbonate to the market kick started the race to develop the first baking powder back in the early 1800s with the British, Germans and Americans all hoping to be the first to launch a commercially viable product.

Alfred J. Bird

Elizabeth Bird, wife of British chemist Alfred J. Bird was allergic to yeast, prompting Alfred to set about looking for alternative ways to make bread rise.

Rather than use muriatic acid (now commonly known as hydrochloric acid) which was both impractical and dangerous, Bird decided to use tartaric acid. Available as a powder, it allowed him to blend it together with sodium bicarbonate and cornstarch giving the world’s first complete baking powder.

Bird, who was by no means a businessman, saw no commercial benefit in patenting his invention, his reward was being able to help his wife. However, he soon saw an opportunity to sell to the Armed Forces and he sold the product to both the Army and Navy.

As an industry we have a lot to thank Alfred Bird for; not only was he responsible for the first baking powder, but thanks to Elizabeth’s allergy to eggs Alfred also invented Bird’s Custard Powder – another store cupboard ingredient we couldn’t be without.

Eben Horsford

In 1859, US chemist Eben Horsford launched Prof Horsfords Self Raising Bread Preparation, using powdered monocalcium phosphate (MCP), which he had patented in 1856. In this early form of baking powder, the MCP and soda were wrapped individually, later being blended with cornstarch to be sold as Rumford Baking Powder.

Dr. Oetker

In 1893 in Germany, pharmacist Dr. Oetker launched his own baking powder into the domestic market; the brand is still widely available today and remains a popular choice for home bakers.

The industry today

Phosphate technology has changed little since the early innovations – formulas remain largely the same as they were in the early 20th century. It is only now, with the recent industry trends for sodium reduction and aluminium removal that real innovation is once again taking place.

The Kudos Blends Story

The Kudos Blends story began in 1999 when Dinnie Jordan, Managing Director identified a need for more technically advanced baking powders within the industry. Launching the business with PELL™ Baking Powders, the portfolio has since expanded and it now includes baking powders and raising agents that use patented technology to address health challenges in the baking industry. Innovation, research and development and technical distinction keep Kudos Blends at the forefront of the industry leading new product development to meet differing worldwide requirements.