[Sca-cooks] chemical leavening

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Feb 25 15:30:22 PST 2009

>> The fact that hartshorn was used in some medicinal recipes does not
>> mean that they were used as a leavener.
>> Huette
> And, we also need to be really, really clear, when we speak of  hartshorn 
> (and by "we" I mean our sources, as well), whether we're  referring to 
> hartshorn, the gelatin source, made from powdered horn  and similar to 
> isinglass (the dried sturgeon-swim-bladder gelatin  source, which in turn 
> is _not_ sodium silicate), and not hartshorn,  a.k.a. baker's ammonia, 
> salts of hartshorn, and ammonium carbonate.  Which may or may not be made 
> from actual horns of actual harts, among  other sources.
> Oddly enough, I just found an interesting website which essentially 
> claims that the use of hartshorn salts as a leavening agent have a  linked 
> history to that of the development of baking powder, and that  both are 
> 19th century innovations based on attempts to specifically  create 
> chemical leaveners, whose primary advantage was considered to  be that, 
> unlike yeast, they don't break down and eat up to 3% of the  flour they're 
> leavening.
> http://www.electronic-chemicals.basf.com/p02/CAPortal/en_GB/portal/abc_ammoniumcarbonat/content/Abnehmerbranchen_Anwendungen/Lebensmittel_Food/Ammoniumcarbonat/Geschichte
> Or maybe some of you better try here:
> http://tinyurl.com/bht9j7
> Adamantius

As I recall, ammonium carbonate as a leaven definitely turns up in the 18th 
Century along with a number of other chemical leavens.  There are some 16th 
and 17th Century German references to hartshorn, some of which are 
definitely deer antler and some which might be either.


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