Food - Drink
How Baking Soda Made Its Way Into Our Hearts And Pantries
Most people probably couldn't tell you where baking soda came from or what it actually is, even though it has a place in almost every American household. Baking soda is well-known for leavening baked goods, in addition to its cleaning abilities, but its progenitor was a failure, and modern baking soda had a long rise to popularity.
In 1791, French chemist Nicolas Leblanc developed a process for the creation of "soda ash," a useful cleansing agent similar to baking soda, but due to economic difficulties, his innovation crashed and burned. It wasn't until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and Dr. John Dwight created the most popular brand of modern baking soda.
The two inventors were brothers-in-law, and called their business "Church & Dwight," now known as Arm & Hammer. The product won over Americans with its reliability, since yeasts and starters originally used to raise baked goods could die without warning, losing their effectiveness — but not so with the all-enduring baking soda.