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In the Christmas bakery

At the start of December at the latest, the delicious time begins again, in which it smells of gingerbread, spiced biscuits, butter cookies and other Christmas delicacies from many kitchens.

Flour, butter, sugar or honey, eggs, spices, nuts and seeds in variable proportions are the basic components of old and new recipes. Except for macaroons, where the beaten egg white provides for loose pastries, you must still add raising agents. They make sure that the delicious works of art come out of the oven soft and loose and easy and firm.


In principle, you could use baking powder for almost any pastry. Similar to the carbon dioxide that brings the air bubbles into the bubbling mineral water, baking powder contains powdered bound carbon dioxide that becomes gaseous during baking and blows air into the dough. But those who rely on the used driving force of deer horn salt and/or potash also gain a little more "typical taste"., deer horn salt was extracted from the ground horns of a deer or other horn substances. Meanwhile the production takes place food-technically. Also known as NBC-drive (an abbreviation for AmmoniumBiCarbonate) it acts like baking powder, but gives the dough an ammonia-like taste, which is considered typical for flat pastries like gingerbread or - all year round - Americans.

While baking powder and deer horn salt develop their driving force through the heat, in pastries that ned with potash, the microorganisms present in the dough must first form acids, which then release the dough loosening gases from the potash. This is why potash is only suitable for gingerbread dough that to rest for at least one night or even longer before it is baked. It makes sense to combine potash with deer horn salt or baking powder because not always enough acid forms during rest for the required loosening.


The taste develops during the rest period. However, this only succeeds when all ingredients form a close connection in the heat of the oven. Only then are the fat-soluble flavours of the spices released. This is why a seductive aroma emanates from the oven, but most of the aroma remains in the pastry itself. A slight browning caused by the so-called Maillard reaction also contributes to taste development. The sugar and protein substances in the pastry react with each other and form the popular caramel or roasted flavour.

Other unwanted tanning products such as acrylamide, which is hazardous to health, only form in significant quantities at temperatures above 180 degrees Celsius. It is therefore advisable to bake the Christmas specialities below this temperature for a healthy enjoyment.

Author: Brigitte Neumann

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