Many heirloom Greek recipes call for "ammonia" (αμμωνία, say: ah-moh-NEE-yah), especially cookies, breadsticks, and crackers. This is a powdered form of ammonia used as a leavening agent. The advantages of using this instead of another leavener (baking soda or powder) are:
- it is heat activated, so it won't start to rise until whatever is being made goes into the oven, allowing for time to prepare without dealing with rising dough;
- it produces a fabulous crispness that isn't really duplicated with another leavener.
This form of powdered ammonia has a very strong smell (don't sniff!) but it cooks off during baking.
Where to Buy
Baker's ammonia isn't always easy to find. Local and online Greek markets usually carry it, German and Scandinavian markets might have it (under the "hartshorn" name), and some pharmacies carry it. Baker's ammonia produced by the Greek company "Krinos" is the easiest Greek product to find outside Greece.
Also Known As
Baker's ammonia, powdered ammonia, ammonium carbonate, Hartshorn
Baker's ammonia is a common ingredient in heirloom Greek recipes, as well as in Scandinavian and German baking.