Baking ammonia is a common leavener used in many traditional European pastries but baking soda, club soda and baking powder would work well in just about any recipe.
Whenever I bake, I get a certain kind of pleasure that almost can’t be beaten. It’s just such a great way I get to express myself in the kitchen with my food, so finding out I don’t have all the necessary ingredients for a recipe can be a bit frustrating for me.
One ingredient I find hard to get is baking ammonia, so I often opt for more widely available substitutes instead.
I’ve tried many replacements and compiled the three best alternatives that work just as well for me and I’ll be sharing them with you below!
What is baking ammonia?
If you love making pastries, baking ammonia or baker’s ammonia is a dry ingredient you might have heard of or even come across once or twice.
Also known as ammonium bicarbonate, this white powdery substance is a leavening agent and a kind of ammonium salt used in all kinds of baked goods like crackers, biscuits and cookie recipes.
Unlike baking soda and baking powder (which is made using ammonium carbonate by the way), baking ammonia releases a gas when it’s being heated in the oven which causes the dough of your pasty to rise!
It also gives your baked product a distinct crispy texture and somewhat bitter flavor.
Why use a baking ammonia substitute?
Bakers ammonia is an essential ingredient you should always have handy if you’re one for making traditionally European baked goods, which is a shame because it isn’t commonly available in many parts of the world.
Besides its unavailability, baking ammonia has a somewhat strong odor that can be a little overwhelming and unpleasant for many people.
So, if you’re looking for a substitute for bakers ammonia because you can’t find any or just want something different, I’ve got a couple of other options you can choose from.
Best baking ammonia substitutes
- Baking powder
Baking powder is the most common substitute for baking ammonia.
It’s also a leavening agent but it’s made from cream of tartar (which contains tartaric acid), baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) and cornstarch. Baking powder also works by releasing gas when it’s heated in the oven during the baking process and can be used as a substitute for carbonate of ammonia.
Use baking powder in the same amounts you would for baker’s ammonia, but keep in mind these are two different leavening agents so the texture and taste of your finished product might be a little different.
- Club soda
Club soda is another great baking ammonia substitute option used in helping all kinds of pastries leaven their dough, making it lighter and have some extra fluffiness, especially in pancakes and waffles.
There are many health benefits of club soda and it’s also available in many local stores so it’s a great option for those looking to switch up their pastry recipe with an alternative for baker’s ammonia.
I usually use club soda as a replacement for not just baking ammonia but also a liquid in my pastries like milk, so the moisture content of my dough won’t be too high. When I use it in place of liquid milk, I seldom add small amounts of powdered milk to make up for that.
- Baking soda
Last but not least, we have baking soda as another substitute for bakers ammonia. It works by reacting with acidic ingredients like juice or vinegar to release carbon dioxide, leaving the dough of your pastry in the process.
Since club soda is a liquid, I’d say the powdery baking soda would work better for low-moisture products like biscuits, cookies and crackers.
Just replace baking ammonia for an equal amount of baking soda in your recipes and you’re pretty much good to go!
Baking ammonia substitutes faqs
Baking powder shares a lot of similarities with the fellow leavening agent, baker’s ammonia hence, makes a great substitute for it.
Since baking soda makes a great substitute for bakers ammonia in recipes, bakers ammonia in turn also serves as an amazing replacement for baking soda as well.
Baking powder, baking soda and club soda are some of the best leaveners you can use instead of ammonium carbonate in recipes.
BOTTOM LINE: Baking ammonia might be a great ingredient in all kinds of European pastries but there are many substitutes that you can use if you don’t have any handy. I like using club soda in pancakes, waffles and other kinds of pastries where a little more moisture won’t make much of a difference and baking powder or baking soda for drier goods but you can whichever in anything you’d please.
With these substitutes, you can still make delicious baked goods even if you can’t find baking ammonia.
Not to toot my own horn but when it comes to alternatives for baked goods, I’m basically a guru. I’ve got loads of ideas like the best alternatives to rice four, sorghum flour replacements and buckwheat flour substitutes for gluten-free pastries but that’s not even all.
So, whenever you’re in need of a substitute for an ingredient in a pinch, just check out my site and see what I’ve got in store for you!