Ammonium carbonate


Hjorthornssalt is a raising agent commonly used in baking in Sweden. Hjorthornssalt is really three words joined together: hjort horns salt, which means "deer horn's salt". This is because originally it was made from deer antlers.

Chemical alternative

These days a synthetic substitute is normally used, even though it is still sold as hjorthornssalt in Sweden. Hjorthornssalt releases carbon dioxide and gaseous ammonia when heated and it is these gases which enable it to be a raising agent.


Some people don't like using hjorthornssalt because the ammonia that is released doesn't smell very nice, although the smell soon disappears when the heating stops.

Different names

To confuse matters the chemical substitute is sold under different names including:

• ammonium carbonate,
• ammonium bicarbonate,
• baker's ammonia,
• bicarbonate of ammonia,
• E503,

No health risks

There are no known health risks involved in using hjorthornssalt and products made using it can be classfied as additive free.


You can use double the amount of baking powder instead, but it is not quite the same and it may slightly alter the flavour and texture.



Hjorthornssalt is used as the rising agent to create a lovely light flatbread called hönökaka (Isle of Hönö flatbread).



Another popular use of hjorthornssalt is in making lovely fluffy cookies called drömmar (dream cookies).

John Duxbury

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