Baker's ammonia vs baking soda

Discussion in 'Cookies' started by Norcalbaker59, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone tried baker's ammonia in cookies or biscotti? I am reworking an Italian style biscotti recipe and I'm not getting the light crispy texture that I want. I'm wondering if baker's ammonia would produce the crunch I want. I'm going to order some since none of the stores in my area carry it.

    If anyone has used it, tips on handling it and ensuring the odor dissipates during baking would be appreciated.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 14, 2018
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  2. Norcalbaker59

    Becky Administrator

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    I've never heard of that before! I wondered if it was an ingredient in 'baking powder' which we have in the UK, but nope. I have used cream of tartar recently, but that makes for a soft and light crumb, not a crunchy texture.
     
    Becky, Aug 14, 2018
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  3. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah bakers ammonia isn’t used much anymore. I remember as a child my grandmother used baker’s ammonia and alum. A lot of older recipes for crispy/crunchy European cookies call for bakers ammonia. And a lot of cookies from the Mediterranean countries. It has a very pungent smell so you cannot use it in things like cake.

    But in cookies the smell bakes out and creates a crunchy texture. So I am going to give it a try. I ordered it yesterday.

    Baker’s ammonia was the original leavening used in biscotti. I want to create a traditional biscotti di Prato. They are made without additional fat, so they can be extremely hard But then again it is the original biscotti and they were designed for dipping in vin santo, so they should be hard.

    In the 1980’s a local woman started baking and selling a biscotti di Prato that was super light and crunchy, but not rock hard. I’m trying to create something similar but I’m cheating a little bit adding some almond flout so they aren’t rock hard. Because seriously some biscotti di Prato can do serious damage to the teeth. :confused:

    While the addition of a little almond flour does make it softer, it loses some crunch. So I am going to see if the bakers ammonia will give me back a little crunch
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 15, 2018
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  4. Norcalbaker59

    Becky Administrator

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    That sounds wonderful, I hope the experimentation goes well :) I went to a cafe a few months back where they gave a mini biscotti with every coffee, it was such a lovely idea. I always forget how nice they are!
     
    Becky, Aug 15, 2018
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  5. Norcalbaker59

    Leofric Member

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    Yes I have used Bakers Ammonia in sugar cookies - the smell is present when you bake but not oppressive (although we often use straight ammonia to wash the crappy kitchen floors we have so,,,take that into consideration) and the cookies are wonderfully crisp with no ammonia flavor! I still have some in a jar but been warned it evaporates if the lid isn't on tightly.
     
    Leofric, Aug 18, 2018
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  6. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the response. If I substitute the baking soda in my recipe for the baker’s ammonia would it be a one to one substitution? I have the bakers ammonia on order, it should arrive on Tuesday. So I am hoping to bake a batch of biscotti on Wednesday.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 18, 2018
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  7. Norcalbaker59

    Leofric Member

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    Norcalbaker59 - since I don't know your recipe I would google biscotti recipes with baking ammonia just to ensure you have the proportions correct! Good luck if I remember the cookies I made were lovely.
     
    Leofric, Aug 21, 2018
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  8. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I just baked a batch substituting out the baking soda for the baker's ammonia 1:1. I definitely got the crispiness I wanted, but the biscotti is hard, much like the traditional biscotti di prato. I could smell the baker's ammonia when I sliced the biscotti, but it dissipated after the second bake. I definitely need to tweak the recipe, but I do like the results with baker's ammonia.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 21, 2018
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  9. Norcalbaker59

    Leofric Member

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    Norcalbaker59 - I am glad the biscotti was a partial success, I used the ammonia for sugar cookies and really enjoyed the crispness.

    It is interesting how different leavening can affect any form of baking - I made a different sugar cookie recipe (we are earmarking recipes to try before donating the cookbook) today which used baking soda and cream of tartar - the good thing the cookies rose nicely and didn`t spread but sadly the cookies taste almost like soap to me and my taste buds are pretty shot due to long term allergies!
     
    Leofric, Aug 22, 2018
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  10. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    I've never used cream of tartar for leavening. I'm going to have to try it just to see the results. I plow through bottles of it because I won't beat egg whites without it.

    I get the allergy and taste issues. My have severe allergies. I went through years of allergy shots, about 3 consecutive years, it helped. But I live on allergy meds.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 22, 2018
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  11. Norcalbaker59

    Leofric Member

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    I really liked the texture of these cookies - I will dig up the recipe tomorrow - but it was something like
    3/4 cup of butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp of vanilla - well creamed. For dry it was 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp cream of tartar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt sifted together and added in increments to the creamed mixture. Roll out 1/8 inch thick cut with cutters and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. But hated the taste! Although the elderly standard poodle I was baking them for (in her final year/s spoiled rotten refuses dog treats and will starve herself if she doesn't get her morning cookie - preference Joy of Cooking Gingersnaps, sugar cookies, either a family recipe or Martha Stewarts or an obscure French cookie from A la Mere de Famille's Parisian Candy) didn't hate them so a win as I didn't want to have to bake her more cookies.

    PS I discussed allergies in the Sour thread - I feel your pain! I live on allergy pills as well and it is always fun seeing what else my body doesn't like.
     
    Leofric, Aug 22, 2018
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  12. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hey Leofric, sorry for the delay in responding--when it rains it pours. I live in a really old house. Seems everything involving water is breaking down. Washer leaking, dishwasher and garbage disposal going out; well pump shutting down. Aagh!

    That's too funny about the poodle demanding her morning cookie. They are highly intelligent dogs. My brother's best friend has an amazing standard poodle who use to jump like a kangaroo when he ran.

    I've been so busy with repairs that I haven't baked in several days. There's a wedding on the property tomorrow, so I can't tomorrow either. But I definitely want to get back to my baker's ammonia tests.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 25, 2018
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