Just purchased a baking cookbook online which, while written in English, is clearly from a country outside of the U.S. Units are metric, which is fine, but there a couple of terms with which I am unfamiliar. Could anyone give me a clue about 'disintegrant', 'ammonium', or the units of measure 'glass' for dry ingredients or 'gl' for liquids? Thanks!

Thank you very much for the responses, much appreciated! In response to your comments, here is a pic of the cookbook and a pic of a sample recipe using 'dintegrant'. Thanks in advance for your interest!


Cookbook cover

  • 3
    Could you share one of the recipe with those terms (either type it or take picture) ? context is important. What cuisine type is it ?
    – Max
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:33
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    +1 to getting an example recipe. Also, knowing what the cookbook is might help folks track down more info, or trigger some additional connection that might help with answers.
    – AMtwo
    Jan 28, 2020 at 21:56
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    I wonder if it was translated by a machine (eg Google translate or the like). If so it may just be the incorrect word. And as you are eating the results of these recipes I would be very careful. Jan 28, 2020 at 22:18
  • in the book, "Tararushki on Kefir" seems like a good origin clue. look at an english translation of povar.ru/recipes/blinchiki_na_kefire-9908.html for similar measures. guessing these recipes are translated Russian or one of the old USSR satellite states. Any Russians around to comment on bags of baking soda or conditioner? Jan 29, 2020 at 16:28

4 Answers 4


"Ammonium" is probably "baker's ammonia" or "ammonium carbonate" -- this is an old-school leavening agent, which has mostly been replaced with baking soda & baking powder in modern cooking.

A "disintegrant" is the opposite of a binder. Without context, knowing what it is specifically talking about is hard to say. In pharmacology, a disintegrant is used in oral tablets to make them rapidly break up when they get wet. Most "chewable" oral tablet medicines have a disintigrant to help them quickly break up when you put it in your mouth.

Edit: Based on the example recipe that you added, I'm going to guess that it's also reference to some kind of leavening agent. Whether it's intended to be baking powder, baking soda, or is also a reference to baker's ammonia, I'm not sure. Seems like it would be necessary to experiment a little bit to determine--but I think it's safe to say it's probably one of those leavening agents.

I presume that "gl" is an abbreviation for "glass" and both refer to the same unit. This other question indicates this is a common Russian unit of measure (is your cookbook Russian?). There is no accepted answer on that question, but the answers there all indicate that it is somewhere between 200ml and 1 cup.

  • Edible HMX would certainly qualify as a "disintegrant" :) Jan 29, 2020 at 9:47
  • In the UK - 1 cup/1 glass of something would typically be 250ml
    – Gamora
    Jan 29, 2020 at 17:03
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    Yeah, I'm really guessing that this cookbook was originally Russian, and was automatically translated. Look at the other strange wording in the recipe instructions.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 29, 2020 at 22:03

Given the recipe, a very likely guess for "disintegrant" would be some leavener, preferably baking powder. The reason I am suggesting this is that cookie recipes without leaveners are rare, and this one looks like it would have a good chance of turning out doughy if no leavener is added. The "1 bag" measurement supports this theory - in many European countries, baking powder is sold mostly in single-use sachets formulated for roughly 500 g of flour.

I have no idea what linguistic misunderstanding is needed for getting the word "disintegrant" placed where "baking powder" should have been. But it is a logical ingredient from the recipe point of view.

  • I was thinking along the same lines. Something very much like baking powder is used in Alka-Seltzer as a "disintegrant". Wouldn't be the weirdest result of generalizing a translation.
    – Sneftel
    Jan 29, 2020 at 16:32
  • @Sneftel yes, this kind of mistranslation is what I suspect too. I even came up with a far-fetched theory about a possible cause: if the original used a generic term for "soda" (intended to be understood as baking soda), which can be related to "soda caustic", or lye, to which the word "disintegrant" fits well. The problem with armchair linguistic theories is that, when tested, they frequently turn out to be untrue.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 29, 2020 at 16:36

Gl likely" gill" if a liquid measure. Unfortunately Wiki lists two kinds : British gill = 142 ml . American gill = 118 ml. Go figure .


"disintegrant" is probably dough conditioner, though "1 bag" is odd.

elsewhere in the book, "Disintegrant - 1 bag (10 g)" appears in a recipe with "Flour - 2 glasses 250 g" so it's in the same proportion as the Apple Cookies recipe (1:50 by weight, or 2%)

that 2% is right in the middle of the range that dough conditioner would be added

so "Disintegrant - 1 bag" is 10 g of some unknown dough conditioner that was available in an unknown place somewhen between 1950 and now

[edit] a simpler answer is baking soda or slaked soda, though it doesn't make any more sense in the context of "1 bag"

  • Baking soda and salt. "In the early 1900s it was discovered the use of calcium chlorid [sic], ammonium sulfate, and potassium bromate halved the amount of yeast needed to raise dough." (conditioner)
    – Mazura
    Jan 29, 2020 at 18:38
  • if "bag" is a translation-and-back of "sachet" it makes much more sense Jan 29, 2020 at 21:58

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