Occasionally you stumble across an old cookbook and find a cookie recipe that asks for baker’s ammonia. Bakers ammonia, not to be confused with home cleaning ammonia or the substance that occurs in urine, is safe to use in baking. So what happens when you combine ammonia with baking soda? What is the general reaction? Would your cake or cookies be safe to eat?
Let us investigate more.
Ammonia and Baking Soda Reaction
Is it permissible to combine ammonia with baking soda? Yes. As a cleaning agent, most individuals typically combine ammonia and baking soda. Ammonia and baking soda, when combined with a little water, may make a paste that can remove tarnish off household fixtures and cast iron cookware. That, however, is not the kind of ammonia you want in your baking recipes.
Another leavening ingredient that may be used in baking is ammonium carbonate (also known as ammonium bicarbonate). Bakers ammonia, like baking soda, will react when combined with an acid and a liquid. However that instead of emitting carbon dioxide, ammonium carbonate emits ammonia.
Using ammonium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) together usually has no discernible impact. With the correct circumstances, both of them cook out of the batter or dough. Nevertheless, if the dish contains high-moisture, such as a cake, ammonia may persist in any leftover salts. It will be detectable in the finished product.
What Happens When You Use Baker’s Ammonia?
So, how does baker’s ammonia function on its own? Prior to the introduction of baking powder and baking soda in the nineteenth century, bakers ammonia was the go-to ingredient. In reality, ammonium carbonate is still used in many low-moisture recipes, such as English and Middle Eastern biscuits and crackers.
The disadvantage is the odor. In fact, baker’s ammonia was used to rouse up ladies who had swooned during the Victorian period. Yikes.
If you can get over the stench, baker’s ammonia yields incredibly crispy, crisp nibbles. This is due to the fact that when gases exit, they leave behind smaller air bubbles than carbon dioxide. Also, ammonium bicarbonate does not leave any residue, hence the pH is unaffected.
Can Ammonia and Baking Soda Be Used Interchangeably?
Yes, ammonia and baking soda may be combined (but only the baking kind of ammonia). Ammonia is taken away together with the emitted carbon dioxide. You may use the goods interchangeably in recipes, but only the low-moisture ones. Anything with more than 5% moisture will dissolve the ammonia gas into the water.
Don’t be concerned about ammonium salts developing as a result of a reaction with sodium bicarbonate. The salts that develop in the correct circumstances, such as baking wafers or thin, crisp biscuits, are the first to disintegrate in the heat.
Remember, we’re not talking about ammonia, which is a toxic liquid. It should never be consumed. But, if you have ammonium carbonate, you may use it with baking soda or as a replacement if you are out of baking powder. Just make sure your dish doesn’t call for a lot of liquid.