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hartshorn-msg - 9/22/11


Hartshorn in period. Use as an leavening agent.


NOTE: See also the files: leavening-msg, cookies-msg, fd-Germany-msg, yeasts-msg, ovens-msg, horn-msg, Horn-Working-art, glues-msg, Working-Horn-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Sat, 21 eb 2004 10:25:09 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Hartshorn plantain

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


There were several postings regarding hartshorn recently.

I came across this mention today that gave me pause:

Markham in The English Housewife (the Michael Best edited

edition on page 62) in the summary of plants that are to be swn in

March at the wane of the moon lists:

"At the wane, .... cucumbers, hartshorn, samphire...

Best includes in footnote 13 on page 253 that:

Hartshorn was "a name given to serveral wild plants, most commonly

Plantago coronpus, hartshorn plantain; the mstery as to why such a

plant should be cultivated

in the housewife's garden is solved by reference to Markham's source.

In Maison Rustique the plant is "corne de boeuf." Hartshorn is given

by Corgrave (1611) as the translation of "corne de cerf." "Corne beuf"

is translated as the more probable "herb fenugreek."


Johnnae llyn Lewis



Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 18:59:26 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Hartshorn in English Sources

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I did this search in August 2006 in answer to a question on SCA Subtleties.


I took the opportunity to take a look at English sources for hartshorn.

The full text project of EEBO makes this an interesting search.


The earliest printed English reference I can locate quickly tonight is

dated 1527 or 1528.

The vertuose boke of distyllacyon of the waters of all maner of herbes

by Brunschwig, Hieronymus, ca. 1450-ca. 1512.

There is a recipe in it for "Water of harteshorne" which is made of

chopped hornes which are then distilled.


Of course it should have come as no surprise to me that it would be

mentioned in my old friend Alessio's text from 1558. From his third

volume dated 1562 comes this recipe:


For the same another remedy tryed and proued.


MAke into very small pouder gumme Arabic, Tra|gacantha, Hartes horne

burned, of a bloodstone burned, and redde Corall burned, of eche halfe a

Dragme, and of Bole armenicke two scruples: mixe all with the yelke of a

rawe Egge, and geue it the Pa+cient when he spitteth bloode.


By 1590 it appears in Philip Barrough's The methode of phisicke

conteyning the causes, signes, and cures of invvard diseases in mans

body from the head to the foote.

It appears in that text in a listing of substances-- "acatia, mirrhe,

hypocichidos, hartshorn..."


I can find it again in Markham's Masterpiece in the 1610 edition and again in the edition of Estienne that Markham edited in 1616.


Hartshorn also appears in a number of pharmacy recipes in the early part of the 17th century and once it becomes associated with plague cures and cures for

consumption, there are numerous mentions. It appears in the Countess of Kent's recipe book of 1653 in a number of places, including mentions of hartshorn jelly. There's at least 16 mentions to harts horn in Digby's Closet, including one for a nourishing broth and several for harts-horn gelly.


By 1670 Hannah Woolley is including it in The Queen-like Closet under "The best sort of Hartshorn Iel|ly to serve in a Banquet.: Take six Ounces of Hartshorn;"

It does of course also appear in the form of jellies in the Tudor-Jacobean Booke of Sweetmeats which makes up part of Marha Washington's Booke of Cookery.


I don't know that I can find an early use of it as a leavening in the

English texts. Jelly-yes; water--yes; cure-- yes. Cookie--no.


AND no I haven't run a search through ECCO yet for the 18th century.





Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 19:04:23 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] another hartshorn mention

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Also from the 2006 subtleties list-- Johnnae


<<< Hartshorn is ammonium carbonate and IIRC there is an in period

reference to its use in one of the German cookbooks >>>


Is this what you are referring to?


From a cookbook from the archives of the Teutonic order, 15th Century,


Translated by Volker Bach.


[[16]] Wilthu machenn ein Hir?cornn:


item zu der zeytt alls es weig ist so nim das Geh?rnn und seidtt das und

mach es sauber und schneidt das zu Scheinenn alls vill du wilst ader des

Gehirns gebinenn magst und nim ein Honeg vnd seudt die Unsauberlichkeitt

davon und nim dan Leckuchen und ?ebe in und nim dan die Peis (?) die du nitt

gewinenn canst und hacke die und sto? die clein unnd nyme ein wenig Honegs

und geribenn Leckuchenn und de? Hirenn Sway? und streich es durch ein Thuch

und leg das Gehornn darein und la? es siedenn.


If you want to make hartshorn


Take the horn (antlers) when they are soft and boil them and cut them into

/Scheinenn/ (strips? slices?) as much as you like or can get of the antler.

Take honey and boil the impurities out of it, then take gingerbread and

sieve it. The /Pei?/ (?) that you can not get you take and chop finely. Add

honey and ground gingerbread and the hart's blood and pass that through a

cloth. Place the antler in it and boil it.


Serena da Riva



Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 22:51:50 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] chemical leavening

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On Feb 25, 2009, at 6:30 PM, Terry Decker wrote:

<<< As I recall, ammonium carbonate as a leaven definitely turns up in the

18th Century along with a number of other chemical leavens.   There are

some 16th and 17th Century German references to hartshorn,  some of which

are definitely deer antler and some which might be either. >>>


The BASF site gives a date of something like 1823 for heavy

experimentation into chemical leavening; it could have taken place

earlier, or it could be someone interpreting "some time around 1800",  or

some similar phrase, somewhat loosely.


What has me a little concerned is that although I keep seeing  references

to chemical leavening in 17th century Germany and Scandinavia, it's like

I'm seeing references to the references, "we  all know that" such-and-such

is the case, etc. We do know that chemical leavenings appear in recipes

for some baked goods that are very old indeed, but it's not always clear

that the recipes are all that old. While I'd love to be more edumacated

on this subject, at the  moment it does seem conceivable that we might be

looking at a slightly  more benign version of the Big Lie political

tactic, an untruth which, if repeated often enough, becomes widely

accepted as the truth.


Can anybody cite some specific, clear, primary or near-primary source

reference to hartshorn as a leavening? It would presumably have to be  the

ammonia salt, and not simply the ground-up horn, which, as I  recall, does

appear in jelly/leach recipes as a gelling agent, like  pig's feet, cow

hooves, isinglass, etc.


The fact that we've been talking about this here on SCA-Cooks for a

billion years (give or take) doesn't count as a primary source ;-).





An excellent consideration.  Somewhere among my papers, I have what purports

to be a translation of a recipe from the 1590's that uses hartshorn as

leavening.  I have yet to find the source to determine if it is an accurate

translation or modern fudging of an older recipe.  If I can locate it, I'll

post it.  Beyond that, my personal collection of recipes has mostly mid to

late 19th Century recipes with chemical leavens.


Root suggests that actual hart's horn was used as a leaven in the 16th

Century and was replaced by ammonium carbonate.  I'm not sure how to produce

an edible leavening gas from bone, so this statement is questionable, until

proven or disproven.


The Oxford Companion to Food, under baking powder. give a 1790 date for the

use of pearl ash as a leavening agent prior to the creation of baking

powder.  No reference to hartshorn.


It is worth noting neither source provides a primary source for the






Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 09:00:06 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] chemical leavening

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I came across this description last evening:


The horns of the deer, or Hartshorn, have been medical from time

immemorial. The shavings or raspings, boiled for a long time in water,

produce a considerable proportion of Hartshorn-Jelly, which is of a

nourishing quality. By distillation, an ammoniacal liquor is procured,

which, freed from its oil and rendered limpid by successive

distillations, is commonly called Spirit Of Hartshorn. It is a Carbonate

of Ammonia dissolved in water which, when saturated, deposits the

Carbonate in the form of a salt usually termed Salt Of Hartshorn, or

Volatile Salts. By continuing the heat, the Hartshorn is calcined and

wholly converted into Phosphate of Lime, which is ground into a white

powder, and, in various mixtures, is prescribed as a medicine. These

different preparations are also made with common bones, which, unless in

their containing a less proportion of gelatine, do not differ in their

constituent principles from Hartshorn.


An Analytical Dictionary of the English Language, in which the Words are

Explained in the Order of Their Natural Affinity, Independent of

Alphabetical Arrangement ...By David Booth


Published by Simpkin, Marshall, 1836





Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 09:03:46 -0500

From: "Kingstaste" <kingstaste at comcast.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] chemical leavening

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I have wondered about this for years, I could never figure out how an antler gave anything like a chemical rise.  I found this on OChef's Q&A page.  They suggest heating (not 'burning', just 'heating') releases the gas that produces the leaven.




"Hartshorn is a leavening agent, and a precursor to the baking soda and

baking powder that everyone uses these days. Hartshorn's virtue is that it

readily breaks down into a gas when heated (causing the leavening), but

unless it escapes completely, it leaves a hint or more of the smell of

ammonia. For that reason, it is generally used only in cookie recipes where

it doesn't have to fight its way out of a deep batter."




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org