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Ammonia


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12 replies to this topic

#1 yoshka

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 10:07 PM

I have a recipe that calls for 2 tablespoons of ammonia. Since I can't get it, what can I replace it with.
thanks in advance for any ideas for substitutions.

#2 djyee100

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 12:17 AM

I assume you mean ammonium carbonate or hartshorn, sometimes called baker's ammonia.

Baking powder is the common substitute. I believe it's a 1:1 substitution, but I have never tried it. The baked goods will not bake up as light and crisp with baking powder as with the ammonium carbonate.

Drugstores are supposed to carry ammonium carbonate, as well as any store catering to German or Scandanavian bakers.

#3 Kerry Beal

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:13 AM

Italian grocery stores carry it around here.

#4 Tri2Cook

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:01 AM

Yep, baking powder will work but it's not exactly the same. I have a cookie that I use ammonium carbonate in and there's definitely a textural difference when using baking powder instead. It's not a cookie destroying difference but it's enough that I keep ammonium carbonate on hand. Plus, it's kinda fun to see people's faces when they ask "What's that smell?" and I say it's the cookies baking.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#5 alanamoana

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 12:56 PM

just as an aside, ammonium carbonate is specifically used to leaven items which are to be baked DRY like biscotti, crackers and other dry items. if used to leaven other items, all of the ammonia will not cook out and you'll be left with some pretty foul baked goods. ammonium carbonate gives these dry items a specific friable (crunchy, crispy, nice and brittle) texture which is why you don't get the exact results when replacing with baking soda.

#6 s_hustava

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 12:50 AM

I just ordered some from King Arthur Flour, as I cannot find it in a store near me.
Oh, go put on your big girl panties and just DEAL with it!

#7 devlin

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:48 PM

Yep, baking powder will work but it's not exactly the same. I have a cookie that I use ammonium carbonate in and there's definitely a textural difference when using baking powder instead. It's not a cookie destroying difference but it's enough that I keep ammonium carbonate on hand. Plus, it's kinda fun to see people's faces when they ask "What's that smell?" and I say it's the cookies baking.

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Um,... what IS the smell? Good smell? More intense smell?

#8 rickster

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:57 PM

just as an aside, ammonium carbonate is specifically used to leaven items which are to be baked DRY like biscotti, crackers and other dry items. if used to leaven other items, all of the ammonia will not cook out and you'll be left with some pretty foul baked goods. ammonium carbonate gives these dry items a specific friable (crunchy, crispy, nice and brittle) texture which is why you don't get the exact results when replacing with baking soda.


My King Arthur Flour Cookie Book suggests using it as an alternative to baking powder in their decorator cookies which have a fair amount of butter. Seemed to turn out OK, although not that noticeably crisper than with baking powder

#9 baroness

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 02:32 PM

Um,... what IS the smell? Good smell? More intense smell?

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:blink: Ammonia! :blink:

Though the cookies' flavor is not supposed to be affected...I haven't opened my jar from King Arthur yet.

#10 Tri2Cook

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 02:55 PM

Um,... what IS the smell? Good smell? More intense smell?

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Nope, not a good smell. It smells like ammonia. Not an overpowering, burn the hair out of your nose ammonia but definitely ammonia. By the time they're done the smell is gone and I've never tasted it in my cookies (or I wouldn't use it) but you can't help worrying a little the first time or two you use it.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#11 artisanbaker

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 03:38 PM

We used to play jokes on people with this stuff. In a phrase: there's no substitute! :) (pardon the ambiguity) ;)

#12 Tri2Cook

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:36 AM

We used to play jokes on people with this stuff. In a phrase: there's no substitute! :) (pardon the ambiguity) ;)

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Why am I picturing some wide-open watery eyes and furiously draining sinuses after reading this?
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#13 Lindacakes

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:28 PM

You can get Baker's Amonia / Hartshorn at House on the Hill, also, and they have a nice booklet with recipes that you can get for a buck or so.

The King Arthur web site has the recipe for one of my beloved favorite cookies, the Vanilla Dream.

The texture is different, and impossible to achieve without it.

A lemon version of the Vanilla Dream is also a very nice thing.

Perhaps it's about the hardiness of the nose hairs, but I find baker's amonia burns the hair right out of my nostrils in a refreshing, too-much-wasabi sort of way.

But then, I'm a sensationalist.
I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.