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Imitation vanilla extract


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#31 schneich

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 03:43 AM

truly an "american" thread again... talking about fake foods... ts ts ts...

if you want to get something good "out" you must put something good "in"
nevertheless i use vanilla extract because the beans are fucking expensive.
"vanilla extract" is usually made of 100% beans soacked in alcohol
(i use the spice island brand which is great)


so all you SHOULD avoid is "vanilla essence" for it is artificial !!

and go ahead and try tahitian vanilla its REALLY good (very fruity flavour)
tahitian is my choice for making my own strong vanilla sugar (recipe on request)

cheers

t. :raz:
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#32 browniebaker

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 05:56 AM

truly an "american" thread again... talking about fake foods...  ts ts ts...

I am not dogmatic or inflexible when it comes to the issue of natural versus artificial in food. I do my own cost-benefit analysis when deciding wether to use natural or arificial vanilla. In matters of taste and smell, it all comes down to molecules, whether the substance is natural or artificial. Where the results are comparable, I see no problem with using a cheaper, artificial substance. Natural and expensive is not necessarily better for everyone, especially if one has a budget to consider.

For example, I use the relatively expensive Plugra butter in butter-rich foods, such as shortbread and pie crust, in which the I can taste the difference that the flavor and higher fat content of Plugra make. However, in my brownies, whiich contain a lot of chocolate, I find that Plugra makes little if any difference, and I am content to use cheaper butter.

I am glad for the suggestions of imitation vanilla on this thread and will definitely try them out (while I hoard and sparingly use the 32 ounces of double-strength vanilla extract that I, luckily, bought from Penzey's before the price recently doubled).

Substituting a cheaper, comparable alternative is not "American," per se, just prudent in any country!

#33 Pongi

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 06:39 AM

Actually using vanillin is not "american" as it's very popular and extensively used in Europe, although natural vanilla is easily available and probably cheaper than in US. I just wondered many times why in America, the land of fake foods, imitation vanilla extract seems to be almost unknown! :biggrin:
As for the flavour, of course even the best vanillin is worse than natural vanilla, mainly due to the bitter taste you get if you exceed the right dose. Natural vanilla has a sweeter, rounder and more complex taste that no artificial flavour can give!
Vanillin, however, is not that bad. I generally use fresh vanilla bean (natural vanilla extract is hardly available here in Italy) for recipes calling for milk or another liquid to be flavoured with the bean, and vanillin for "dry" items like doughs, cakes and so on, mainly if they contain stronger flavours that would overwhelm the flavour of natural vanilla.
The only advice I can give is: use it sparingly. As I said, if you use too much vanillin it will give a bitter taste to your food. This is likely to be the main reason why many people hates it, but this can be easily avoided reducing the doses.

Pongi

#34 mamster

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 06:50 AM

You can get a bitter flavor from too much real vanilla extract, too, but it's probably easier to do with the imitation because imitation has a higher concentration of vanillin.

schneich, I'll put the question to you that I have to others: in what recipes have you tried imitation vanilla, and have you done a side-by-side taste test? Your post did bring one point home for me: vanilla extract is, like imitation vanilla, a cheap substitute for the best product, which is whole vanilla beans. Those of you who swear by real vanilla extract because you feel strongly about choosing the best--why aren't you using exclusively vanilla beans? They're quite easy to use and aren't bulked up with alcohol and water like vanilla extract.
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#35 MGLloyd

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 09:21 AM

Does anyone else make their own vanilla extract? I have a small bottle I keep in the spice cupboard. I take my leftover scraped pods and store them in the bottle covered with rum. Works well for me, the vanilla flavor comes through pretty quickly. I try to use white rum to avoid too much of a rum flavor and also that way I can seel when the liquid takes on a more brown vanilla color.

Speaking as a former analytical chemist (MSc from the U of W), I have made several flavor extracts over the years, including vanilla. I take care not to use any flavored alcohols since I want the pure flavor of the substance being extracted.

The closest you can get to absolute ethyl alcohol, the better. I preferentially use Everclear, which is not sold in Washington state. I pick up a few bottles at a time when I go to Portland on business. I also use it as a sanitizing agent for certain pieces of my homebrew equipment. If you cannot find Everclear, then any cheap high-proof non-flavored vodka would work well. I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.

When I don't make my own, I am partial to the tahitian vanilla from Trader Joe's and a vanilla bean paste I pick up from Sur La Table.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd
Mill Creek, Washington USA

#36 eatmorepesto

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 03:11 PM

I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.

How exactly do you do this? What ratio of beans to alcohol do you recommend? Do you crush the beans or use them whole? Do you use already scraped beans? Do you remove the beans after a few weeks, or leave them in?

#37 MsRamsey

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 03:16 PM

I'd like to know how too, since I haven't yet used all of my precious Everclear for other purposes.

Edited by MsRamsey, 08 October 2003 - 03:16 PM.

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#38 beans

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 04:13 PM

I'm guessing it has to do with your preference and how many vanilla beans.

I've got one recipe that uses one vanilla bean, sliced/scraped and completely immersed in 3/4 cup of vodka. Place into a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Shake occasionally and allow to steep for 4 to 6 months.

Another recipe, a Martha S. one, states using only 2, sliced and scraped vanilla beans and a 750ml bottle of vodka, by allowing it to steep for the same 4 to 6 months. Barefoot Contessa recommends 12 vanilla beans, whole and not scraped of seeds, in a bottle of vodka steeped for at least one month.

:blink:

#39 MGLloyd

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 08:38 PM



I macerate the vanilla beans in the alcohol for a few weeks and the end product is superb, and usually better than anything I buy.

How exactly do you do this? What ratio of beans to alcohol do you recommend? Do you crush the beans or use them whole? Do you use already scraped beans? Do you remove the beans after a few weeks, or leave them in?

My typical recipe is to use two sliced and roughly chopped vanilla beans into 500 ml of alcohol. I put this into a 750 ml brown glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap. I let the solution macerate for at least three weeks, and I give the bottle a vigorous shake every two days.

Depending on the quality of the vanilla bean (which can vary), this produces a strongly-flavored vanilla extract which is to my personal taste. There can be some fine particles in the extract, so if I am making a recipe that would not benefit from the particles, I pour a little bit of the solution through a paper coffee filter to catch the particulates.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd
Mill Creek, Washington USA

#40 nightscotsman

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 08:38 PM

Yes, but how can I make my own imitation vanilla extract at home? :huh:

#41 Derek Diggler

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 08:46 PM

I'll give you one reason. The closer food is to the earth, the healthier it is for you.

I have a bottle of vodka with 20 vanilla beans soaking in it, it's black. the real deal, and I can just add vodka to it when it runs low.

#42 elyse

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 09:04 PM

Yes, but how can I make my own imitation vanilla extract at home? :huh:

:laugh:

#43 mamster

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 10:21 PM

Hey, nightscotsman, at the lab where I used to work, we had a huge jar of vanillin. Nobody used it. Nobody knew why we had it. It had probably been there for decades. I would have asked to take it home, but I had no way of proving it wasn't contaminated. Anyway, if I had taken it home, I could have made you-know-what.

Homemade vanilla extract sounds fairly economical. Well, the two-bean version does, at least.
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#44 MGLloyd

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:22 AM

Homemade vanilla extract sounds fairly economical. Well, the two-bean version does, at least.

In my opinion, the key to extracting the flavor components to the maximum in the minimum amount of time and cost, is to increase the surface area of the item being extracted. The more solids exposed to the solvent, the higher and faster the rate of extraction. Thus, my preference to slice and roughly chop the two vanilla beans I use in my recipe.

I would think it would take quite a bit of time , quite a few vanilla beans and quite a bit of solvent to make vanilla extract from soaking whole beans. I am the first to admit that I have never made vanilla extract from soaking whole beans. I do not know if there is a quality difference. Although I have no actual knowledge and have done no research, I would bet that commercially-prepared vanilla extract is not made by soaking whole beans, just based on a SWAG on cost and time issues.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd
Mill Creek, Washington USA

#45 schneich

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 01:51 PM

For example, I use the relatively expensive Plugra butter.....

another "american thing" plugra butter.. what the hell ??? :blink: :blink: :blink:

every normal butter in germany (not the lite stuff obviously) contains 82% fat and you can
select from a variety of creamy extra creamy, sour, french butter, salted unsalted etc....

my point is these are ALL real butter´s! no fake shit... i mean comon..

you guys use ass-lubricant (crisco) in cakes and cookies...
you guys use fake baconbitz...
you guys have milk that is basically white water
you guys do this unhealthy complete bullshit of "lowcarb"
etc.. etc... etc... :biggrin:

thats what i mean with "american thing"



cheers :laugh: :raz:

t.

Edited by schneich, 13 October 2003 - 02:22 PM.

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#46 schneich

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 02:19 PM

Your post did bring one point home for me: vanilla extract is, like imitation vanilla, a cheap substitute for the best product, which is whole vanilla beans.

sorry but we have to put things right here first! :

vanilla essence is artificial and therefor shouldnt be used!
to me it tastes just artificial... you might be able to do a nice cake
with it, but it will always taste like this entenmann´s stuff... not real!

vanilla extract is the real thing... they take the whole beans, mash them and
soak them in alcohol, which extracts not only the vanillin but all the Phytochemicals, which makes them taste like real vanilla. the other night i talked to a representative from nielsen massey at the ANUGA show here in cologne and i was able to try some of there new products... its really incredible.. they have a very reasonable priced tahitian vanilla extract... very fruity and flowery...
their newest baby is a product which is just like the stuff you scrape out of the bean..
all the smeary stuff with the little dots... very sweet.. very concentrated...
all their products are 100% real vanilla, and you can tell if you smell them!

thats about as "artificial" as i will get, ever... :biggrin:
if i dont have the mo for a few drops of that stuff, i stop baking cause
then i also couldnt afford all the rest (butter, nuts, chocolate etc.)


cheers


t. :cool:
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#47 Nancy Berry

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:52 AM

My favorite source for vanilla was recommended to me at a San Francisco Bakers Dozen meeting. Patricia Rain's Vanilla.com is a fabulous website full of all sorts of information re vanilla. She sells a large variety of very high quality vanilla beans and extracts on the site.

Here's the link:

Vanilla.com


And, by the way, some of those cheap Mexican "vanilla" extracts may actually be harmful to your health. Many of them are made by adding coumarin to synthetic vanillin to make the flavor a little more like pure vanilla. Coumarin, from the Tonka tree, can be toxic, especially to the liver. Its use has been outlawed in the United States since the 1950s.

Here's a link:

Mexican Vanilla Toxic?

#48 schneich

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:26 AM

bullshit!! tonka beans if used as a spice is no toxic at all
if you eat a whole bag of tonkabeans things could be different :biggrin:
but if you eat a whole bag of salt it could be too :raz:

.t.
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#49 hjshorter

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:33 AM

you guys use ass-lubricant (crisco) in cakes and cookies...
you guys use fake baconbitz...
you guys have milk that is basically white water
you guys do this unhealthy complete bullshit of "lowcarb"
etc.. etc... etc...  :biggrin:

Who is "you guys?"

Were you trying to be funny? If so, I don't get it.
Heather Johnson
In Good Thyme

#50 Nancy Berry

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:44 AM

bullshit!! tonka beans if used as a spice is no toxic at all
if you eat a whole bag of tonkabeans things could be different  :biggrin:
but if you eat a whole bag of salt it could be too  :raz:

.t.

I'll tell you what. YOU use that stuff and take your chances. I'LL choose not to. My mom had a liver transplant -- liver disease is not anything I'd want to risk getting. The FDA has determined that even small amounts of coumarin can be toxic. Why use this crap when you can use real vanilla?

#51 elyse

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:55 AM

you guys use ass-lubricant (crisco) in cakes and cookies...
you guys use fake baconbitz...
you guys have milk that is basically white water
you guys do this unhealthy complete bullshit of "lowcarb"
etc.. etc... etc...  :biggrin:

Who is "you guys?"

Were you trying to be funny? If so, I don't get it.

I ignored it because of the infectious smile. :wink:

#52 schneich

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 12:41 PM

bullshit!! tonka beans if used as a spice is no toxic at all
if you eat a whole bag of tonkabeans things could be different  :biggrin:
but if you eat a whole bag of salt it could be too  :raz:

.t.

I'll tell you what. YOU use that stuff and take your chances. I'LL choose not to. My mom had a liver transplant -- liver disease is not anything I'd want to risk getting. The FDA has determined that even small amounts of coumarin can be toxic. Why use this crap when you can use real vanilla?

iam sorry about your mom...

all i said was that small amounts of tonka is NOT toxic.... if you
use it in the same way as i do ( like a nutmeg nut)
its perfectly ok!

it shows that your knowledge as a (hobby?)patissier is quite poor if you
refer to tonka as crap. tonka is not only a substitute 4 vanilla but a very nice & intruiging
spice, when used properly its gives you a nice mysterial, fruity, scent.

a lot of substances we deal with is dangerous when used wrong, or in to
large quantities (like my old friend Theophrastus Bombastus
von Hohenheim once said "die dosis macht das gift")

your "fda" seems to have problems with a lot of stuff : creme fraiche, bitter almonds,
pickled garlic.. etc.... i mean comeon... i use bitter almonds in most of my italian coffeecookies...
what would i be without creme fraiche.... :biggrin: maybe its sometimes appropriate to question certain things your governmant says or does (including georgy boy) :wink: ....


t.
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#53 schneich

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 12:44 PM

you guys use ass-lubricant (crisco) in cakes and cookies...
you guys use fake baconbitz...
you guys have milk that is basically white water
you guys do this unhealthy complete bullshit of "lowcarb"
etc.. etc... etc...  :biggrin:

Who is "you guys?"

Were you trying to be funny? If so, I don't get it.

you guys = US residents

:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:


t.
toertchen toertchen
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#54 Katherine

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 12:45 PM

On the other hand, I think doubling the amount of vanilla in any recipe can only improve it in most cases.

I speak as a person who has never used imitation vanilla, but my opinion has always been that the effects of the chemical soup that is often used in products labeled as using "artificial flavoring" are exacerbated by the fact they they use so much of these flavorings. I guess most people want the most intense flavor they can get, and don't care about the foul aftertaste in Otto Spunkmeyer cookies, or flavored coffees.

#55 MGLloyd

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:25 PM

[/QUOTE]you guys use ass-lubricant (crisco) in cakes and cookies...
[/QUOTE]
I will certainly defer to your apparently greater knowledge of how Crisco can be used. Thanks for sharing.

Edited by MGLloyd, 14 October 2003 - 06:26 PM.


Regards,

Michael Lloyd
Mill Creek, Washington USA

#56 schneich

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 01:58 AM

I will certainly defer to your apparently greater knowledge of how Crisco can be used.  Thanks for sharing.

its weird, but its a fact that the only places you can buy crisco in germany
are gay shops... (and we aalll know what they do with it :wacko: :biggrin: )


t.
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#57 laurenmilan

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:07 AM

On the other hand, I think doubling the amount of vanilla in any recipe can only improve it in most cases.

Ain't that the truth... I routinely double (or triple) the amount of vanilla in recipes. And I've found that I do much better with a generous amount of imitation than a modest amount of genuine vanilla extract.
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#58 elyse

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:28 AM


I will certainly defer to your apparently greater knowledge of how Crisco can be used.  Thanks for sharing.

its weird, but its a fact that the only places you can buy crisco in germany
are gay shops... (and we aalll know what they do with it :wacko: :biggrin: )


t.

Not to "blue" the boards, or anything, but Crisco is probably the worst thing you could use. For safe sex, anyway.

#59 KarenS

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:58 PM

So, should we bring up the heritage of Germany? The fine cuisine, the treatment of humankind, etc...

#60 IrishCream

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 03:59 AM

Sheesh...I lived in Germany and you can buy shortening in any grocery store. But there is a point about coumarin. If you are taking Coumadin, a blood thinner, as many people who have been through surgery or have heart problems do...then ingesting any product with coumarin is dangerous. Good reason to avoid Mexican vanillan products and Tonka beans. What a loss.... :rolleyes:

In defense of German food though...the butter can be eatan like cheese, it is that delicious. The breads are phenomenal. The beer is real. The deli products available at any store put American grocery stores to shame. The vanilla? I didn't bake while I was there because my oven didn't work.
Lobster.