Baking powder is an essential component of a wide variety of baked goods, including cakes, cookies, and other pastries; hence, it is difficult to conceive of a time when it was not a standard component of every kitchen. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the scientist Eben Norton Horsford was the first person to ever develop baking powder in the year 1856. Baking soda was the first ingredient developed, but it wasn’t the ideal option for making bread rise since it still required an acidic component. Baking soda was developed first. The first step in the process of creating carbon dioxide bubbles using Horsford’s idea was to extract monocalcium phosphate from animal bones and then combine that substance with baking soda. After that, he made the decision to include both components in the same container so that they could be easily obtained at the drugstore. Mined monocalcium phosphate was ultimately more cost-effective than extracted monocalcium phosphate.
Baking powder is a chemical leavening ingredient that, according to Baker Pedia, is made up of sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, and an acid. When it is added to doughs, it produces gases that are responsible for the taste, color, and texture, as well as expansion, of the dough. Baking powder requires the addition of water in order to become active. Before all of this, people in the United States of America had to figure out alternative techniques to make bread rise.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, bakers of the 18th century would make bread rise by beating air into their eggs before adding them to the dough. Because it was evident that this approach required a lot of effort on the part of the user, they also started using pearlash in their recipes. According to Four Pounds Flour, lye may be used as a chemical leavening agent, or it can be used to manufacture gun powder and soap. Pearlash is comprised of both lye and wood ashes. Pearlash was difficult to create and had an unpleasant odor; but, since it included potassium carbonate, it was able to provide the effect that was wanted in dough. If you go even farther back into history, you’ll discover that bakers simply used yeast to get the dough to rise. Although yeast is still used in the baking of bread today, it was traditionally also added to cake batter along with either wine or beer.
Lye is still a crucial component in the production of a wide variety of meals in today’s world. It is used often in foods such as olives, fish, hominy, and pretzels, as stated by King Arthur Baking Company. Lye is corrosive and may cause skin irritation, therefore it is essential to take all necessary precautions while using it in the kitchen. To make handmade soft pretzels, lye is not required by any means, as is common knowledge. There is also a recipe for soft pretzel bites that you may test out for yourself.