Like many people, you may be loyal to certain brands when you buy groceries. You probably have the aisles of your favorite supermarket memorized, and you automatically reach for the same items over and over again.
In many cases, we “inherit” our brand preferences from our mothers. I know I did. My Italian mother was an avid baker and cook. As a child I certainly got used to seeing certain brands in the cupboards. When I grew up and it came time to stock my own pantry, I automatically reached for those familiar labels from my youth.
But things have changed a lot since you and I were little. We understand more about how the industrial revolution wasn’t such a good thing for our food supply. We know now the devastating effects that certain food additives can have on our bodies.
One of the major discoveries that has been made is the ravaging effect that aluminum has on the brain when it makes its way into the body. Alzheimer patients have been seen to have higher than normal accumulations of aluminum, and the connections between aluminum and dementia have been proven in scientific studies. Biological aluminum accumulation negatively impacts fertility, cognitive abilities, and more.
Let’s look at the aluminum content in some common baking powder brands.
Calumet Baking Powder
Calumet brand was started way back in 1889 by a baking powder salesman named William Wright. He sold his brand, named for the peace pipes used by Native American Indians used in his neck of the woods of Illinois. General Mills food company bought Calumet in 1929, who turned it into a household brand used by housewives across the country.
If you look at the ingredients on the back of the can of Calumet baking powder, you’ll notice that one of the ingredients is sodium aluminum sulfate.
Let’s look at another popular brand:
Clabber Girl Baking Powder
Clabber brand was started in 1899, and the name Clabber Girl was conceived in 1923. The whole company was started by two brothers named Herman and Francis Hulman, in Terra Haute, Indiana. It wasn’t long before Clabber Girl also became a popular name across America.
As you can see from the photo on the right, the ingredient list on the back of the Clabber Girl baking powder also mentions the inclusion of sodium aluminum sulfate.
Why is Aluminum in Baking Powder?
As you know, baking powder helps baked goods to rise when liquid is added. Aluminum is an acid that, when added to the ingredients, enables the carbon dioxide gases to form bubbles (the leavening action) and makes your baked goods rise. So the job of aluminum in baking powder is to play the part of the acid so the product works.
How Does Aluminum-Free Baking Powder Work?
Aluminum-free baking powder ingredients contain no aluminum. Instead, they substitute the acid of the aluminum for a different acid ingredient, which varies by brand. Recently, a crop of aluminum-free baking powders have shown up on grocery shelves. Among them are:
- Bob’s Red Mill Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
- Rumford Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
- Argo Baking Powder
Any of these three brands are preferable to Clabber Girl or Calumet. Please stop using baking powder with aluminum as an ingredient. There are lots of other options available to you, including making your own baking powder.
You can make your own perfectly good homemade baking powder using two common pantry items you probably have right now, sitting in your kitchen.
~Thanks for reading!