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Method of extracting vanilla extract from seed pods for your baking

The seed pods of a certain flower are vanilla beans. They are mostly put into groups based on where they came from. To give you an example, vanilla nuts can come from Madagascar, Tahiti, Mexico, or Indonesia (Java). Vanilla from Madagascar is sometimes called “bourbon vanilla” because the French first grew vanilla beans on Bourbon (Reunion) Island, which is close by.

It takes about a year of hard work to grow vanilla beans. Flowers are made by hand-pollinating plants. The flowers only last a few hours before turning into pods. The pods, which are beans, stay in the bush for up to nine months until they are ready to eat. They are mostly green now, and they still don’t taste like anything.

The vanilla pods are picked by hand by workers who know, from experience, which ripe (but still tasteless) pods will produce the best flavour. After being picked, vanilla beans are cured so they get their unique smell and dark brown color. The process of healing is different in each area. But in every case, the first step is to heat the pods to stop them from hardening. Others put the beans on mats over an open fire or in the sun to bake. Still others dip the beans in hot water. After that, the beans are heated during the day and covered at night so they can sweat. This is done over and over for a few weeks before the beans are slowly dried, covered, and left to age.

doughnuts with sprinkles on blue surface
Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Pexels.com

Vanilla beans can produce up to 2% natural vanillin if they are grown and dried properly. The main molecule that gives vanilla its taste is vanillin. Different types of vanilla have different tastes because the environment and ways of curing them vary from place to place. Bourbon vanilla, also known as Madagascar vanilla, is the most popular type of vanilla in the US. It tastes like wood and rum, giving it a thick, rich flavour. Because it comes from a different orchid plant, Tahitian vanilla has a very different taste. It smells more fruity and sweet, with hints of cherry. Tahitian vanilla makes up less than 1% of all the vanilla that is brought into the United States. Most of the vanilla from Tahiti is brought into Europe.

Making your own vanilla extract.

If you like the taste of some vanilla beans but would rather use an extract, you could make your own vanilla extract. Vanilla beans should be cut down the middle, scraped with a knife, and then cut into little chunks. Put the scrapings and chopped beans in a jar that can’t be opened easily. Add 30 millilitres (1 fluid ounce) of 80-proof vodkas for every whole bean, which is about 0.1 ounce or 3 grams. Shake every so often. It will be the same as one-fold vanilla extract after at least two weeks. If the flavour of your extract isn’t as strong as the vanilla extract you buy, keep in mind that business operations can get the full flavour from the bean more efficiently. Two times as many vanilla beans should be used for every ounce (30 millilitres) of vodka to make the extract taste better.

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You don’t have to worry about bugs getting into them, and they can be used faster and easier than spices. It’s easier to figure out how much-dried lemon peel or lemon extract you need than it is to zest a lemon.

One big problem with processed flavourings is that they can sometimes make up for all of these good points. In other words, some processed flavourings, even natural ones, may not taste as true, rich, or full as the spice itself. Lemon extract, even if it’s natural, doesn’t always taste as good as lemon juice, and almond extract doesn’t really taste like almonds.

Vanilla Flavour Extraction

Extracts are the most popular type of processed flavouring used in the bakery. All products have alcohol in them. Alcohol weakens and destroys the flavourings and keeps them fresh by stopping microbes from growing. Vanilla, peppermint, orange, lemon, ginger, anise, and almond are all tastes that are often sold as extracts.

Natural or fake flavours can be added to extracts, so check to see which type it is. This section is all about vanilla beans and vanilla extract, which is also the most complicated extract. This is because vanilla is by far the most famous flavour used in baked goods in North America.

Flavourings are mixed with alcohol to make most extracts. One example is lemon extract, which is made by mixing a certain amount of lemon oil with alcohol. For some extracts, however, alcohol solutions are used to get the taste out of the plant material. Many taste molecules dissolve and come out of things better with alcohol than with water.

Infusing an alcohol solution with vanilla bean is one way that pure vanilla extract is made for sale. The weak alcohol slowly seeps through the mashed vanilla beans, and this can happen for weeks or even months before the vanilla is aged. In the US, you need at least 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean to make one gallon (128 ounces) of extract. In Canada, you only need 10 grams of vanilla bean to make 100 millilitres of extract. To give you an idea, this is about one vanilla bean for every ounce (2 tablespoons or 30 millilitres) of extract.

There must also be at least 35% alcohol and vanillin taken from the bean in vanilla extract. Pure vanilla already has an important taste chemical called vanillin in it. It’s just one of many taste chemicals that are there, but it’s a good way to tell how good something is. As there are big differences in the quality of vanilla beans, there are also big differences in the quality and strength of vanilla liquids.

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Instead of that, you can improvise by using vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract or vanilla bean for vanilla extract. Each fluid ounce (30 millilitres) of vanilla extract is made from about one vanilla bean. However, one vanilla bean will not have the same level of taste intensity as one fluid ounce of extract. Commercial vanilla extract is made using a very efficient extraction method. This means that one vanilla bean rarely has the same taste as 30 millilitres (one ounce) of extract.

Pre-made flavourings

The ingredients used to make artificial flavourings don’t always have anything to do with the natural taste. Fake flavourings have to say on the label that they are fake or imitations by law. Also, natural flavourings need to say on the package that they are natural or pure. The only time this isn’t true is with liqueurs. There are rules about liqueurs in the United States. They are set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). Flavourings in liqueurs don’t have to be labelled by the BATF.

Extracts, liqueurs, compounds, oils, emulsions, and powders are all examples of processed flavourings. They can be natural, fake, or a mix of the two. Not every fake flavouring is the same. Many of them are better now than they were years ago, and some are really good. The next few comments are general ones that might not apply to everyone. Find out what you and your customer need before you decide which to use. Then, buy what you need.

Most of the time, people use fake flavourings to save money. Some businesses don’t care about cost, but for many, it is. And thanks to progress in taste chemistry, cheap doesn’t always mean bad quality. For example, imitation almond extract works just as well as real almond extract. A natural flavour like almond oil is made up of just one flavour chemical, and it’s easy to make a fake flavouring that tastes like it. Pure vanilla, on the other hand, is harder to make because it has hundreds of taste chemicals that give it deep, rich middle notes as well as top notes. Some artificial vanilla flavourings only have one or two top notes of taste, mostly vanillin. Most of the time, these easy mixes work best when added to pure vanilla instead of being used instead of it.

There are times when the bottle of extract or the jar of compound is not the best way to make something taste better. These are some other ideas for how to make the taste of bad goods better.

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Lessen the amount of gelatin, starch, or flour used to make a mousse or cream if the flavour isn’t very strong. When goods are thick and heavy, flavour molecules can’t get out to taste. When two basic tastes come together, they often make for an interesting flavour difference. For instance, a sour fruit sauce is a nice change from a sweet cream.

Add items with middle notes to pastries to make them taste full-bodied and rich. Most of the time, eggs, milk, and cream are what pastry cooks use to make things rich. But you could also use coconut milk, banana mush, sugar that has been caramelized, or maple syrup for this. Small amounts of aged rum, brandy, wine, and vanilla give fruit tastes more depth. Cooked berries like raspberries also add a slightly “jammy” flavour.

If a product’s flavour goes away too quickly, keep in mind that a full flavour profile includes a good finish or aftertaste. The heat and spiciness of ginger, cinnamon, and other spices could add the last bit of flavour that the product is missing. A strong bitter aftertaste is unpleasant, but a small amount of bitterness from coffee, cherries, citrus peel, or unsweetened chocolate makes the aftertaste more interesting, as long as the sweetness is right.

You might want to change the amount of sugar and acid in a fruit sauce if it doesn’t taste sweet enough. Each fruit has a unique sweet-sour balance that affects its general flavour. Adding a little sugar, acid, or both can sometimes be the best way to make something taste more fruity.

If your ginger molasses cookies don’t taste very good, you may need to add less baking soda. The cookies will spread less, and the colour will lighten, but the taste will get better. Instead of mixing chocolate and cheese together, try putting them on top of each other in a chocolate cheesecake. Cheesecake tastes great with a low pH, but chocolate tastes best when its pH is just right. Once the chocolate is taken away from the cheese, it is at the right pH. Bittersweet chocolate and salty-sour cheesecake have very different tastes, which is an extra bonus.

To get the best value for your money, you might want to add two or more flavourings. To improve the taste of liquor, for example, use a cheap liqueur flavour concentrate. To improve the taste of bottled lemon juice, use fresh lemon peel, a small amount of fresh lemon juice, or lemon extract. If you want the look of real vanilla beans without having to split and scrape them, you might want to buy vanilla bean paste, which is made of vanilla extract, sugar, and used vanilla bean seeds. Vanilla seeds that have been used up are left over after vanilla extract is made

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