Looking for Leavening

OKLAHOMA—Each spring, Philadelphia Church of God members turn their attention to this basic food and its symbolism prior to the Feast of Unleavened Bread commanded in Exodus 12, an observance involving both a different kind of bread and a different kind of fundamental attitude for those eating it.

Here is a brief guide to searching out leavening ingredients and leavened foods.

Common Leavening Ingredients

  • Baking soda/sodium bicarbonate/bicarbonate of soda (“Saleratus”)
  • Baking powder
  • Sourdough starter
  • Yeast (including active dry yeast and Baker’s yeast)
  • Ammonium carbonate/Ammonium bicarbonate (Baker’s ammonia; “hartshorn”)
  • Potassium bicarbonate

Leaven is usually present in breads, cookies, crackers, cereals, cakes, pies and other baked goods. It can be present in some candies and other unexpected places.

Brewer’s yeast is inactive and is not a leaven. Cream of tartar (by itself) is not a leavening agent. Beer, wine and other fermented beverages are not leavened. Egg whites by themselves are not a leavening agent. However, if they are used to puff up a baked food made of flour or meal, they are leavening.

Antacids, medicines, bath powders, toothpastes, pet foods, fire extinguishers and other items sometime contain some of the ingredients above, but they are not leavened because, combined with other inedible substances, they are not foods. PCG ministers have written, “[I]f having any of these or similar products in your home during the Days of Unleavened Bread defiles your conscience, it would be best to get rid of them during the festival (Romans 14:23). … If you are in doubt about any leaven, be sure to ask your local minister.”

However, anything that is a leavening agent by itself (such as baking soda that is used as an abrasive for cleaning) should be discarded.

See also: Pagan Holidays—Or God’s Holy Days—Which?by Herbert W. Armstrong.

*This article has been updated to remove calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate, which are often found with leavening, but are not leavening agents themselves.