[Sca-cooks] chemical leavening

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Feb 26 06:27:13 PST 2009

On Feb 26, 2009, at 9:03 AM, Kingstaste wrote:

> That's ok, gentlemen, natter on.  I have wondered about this for  
> years, I
> could never figure out how an antler gave anything like a chemical  
> rise.
> I found this on OChef's Q&A page.  They suggest heating (not  
> 'burning', just
> 'heating') releases the gas that produces the leaven.
> http://www.ochef.com/539.htm
> "Hartshorn is a leavening agent, and a precursor to the baking soda  
> and
> baking powder that everyone uses these days. Hartshorn's virtue is  
> that it
> readily breaks down into a gas when heated (causing the leavening),  
> but
> unless it escapes completely, it leaves a hint or more of the smell of
> ammonia. For that reason, it is generally used only in cookie  
> recipes where
> it doesn't have to fight its way out of a deep batter."

Well, again, we need for the sake of sense to distinguish between the  
heating required to turn the horn tissue of a hart (which would  
probably be done in a crucible in a furnace or kiln of some sort, and  
might or might not be described as burning) into some sort of alkaloid  
salt ash, and the heating required to make ammonium carbonate produce  
enough gas to leaven dough (which would be more like oven cookie- 
baking temps).

There's something about this topic that keeps trying desperately to  
lead us around in circles...


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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