The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for alum substitute

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Looking for alum substitute

I was going to make salt dough with my son as a summer project.  The salt dough recipe called for alum and the book said I could find it in the baking section in any health food store.  I went to look for it today but couldn't find it anywehre.  It's a very small amount but I am not sure if leaving it out will make a big impact on the final product.  The only thing I know about alum is that it's a preservative.  Is there anything I can use to sub for this ingredient?  I can't imagine making salt dough this difficult!


LindyD's picture
LindyD

The salt dough recipes I've seen just call for water, flour and salt.


Alum is a pickling spice - if you're looking for a hardening agent, the cream of tartar should work.   But maybe too quickly?


 

bwaddle's picture
bwaddle

 


I have used powdered ginger as a preservative: about 1 teaspoon. It does not affect the flavor.


Bettie

clazar123's picture
clazar123

It is acidic and really puckers the mouth. I've seen it and other bitter things used in clay recipes to prevent people(usually kids) from eating the dough.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Hmmm.... Since we're not going to eat the dough, the taste is not going to be a concern.  We will be drying the dough before painting it for a project, strength and durability are more our goals.  We will try to make some without alum.  If they begin to fall apart, I will then dig deeper to see if I can find other subsititutes.  Thanks all.



Cooking202's picture
Cooking202

It's very inexpensive and you can find it at most any pharmacy.  It's a powder and doesn't get rancid, so a small jar lasts for centuries.


Carol

hsmum's picture
hsmum

Have you tried the spice section of your local grocery store?  That's where I find mine. 


Karen

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I am in Canada and our food and drugs regulations are different than that in the US.  I doubt it if our pharmacy will carry alum becausse it's an additive.  But it won't hurt to ask.  I will also give our local grocery store a try.  Thanks!



Cooking202's picture
Cooking202

is a necessary ingredient for making crisp pickles, while in the store you might take a look in the canning dept if your store has one.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Thanks everyone, especially Karen.  I found alum in the spice section in our local grocery store.