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Bay leaves: useful, or wishful thinking?


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Why dont they sell Bay leaves ground so people dont choke on the leaf or have to fish them out?

 

They do ... here are but two examples:  http://www.spicesinc.com/p-2747-ground-bay-leaves.aspx    http://www.ryespice.co.uk/bay-leaves-ground/

 

 

ETA:  Sorry for the repetitious post

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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 Research on the effects of different drying methods on the loss of aroma (volatiles) in bay leaves* has confirmed that oven drying at 45 °C and air-drying at ambient temperature produced similar results with hardly any loss in volatiles compared to the fresh herb.( Freezing and freeze-drying on the other hand resulted in substantial losses ( aroma & flavor) of volatiles, and created some unwanted chemical changes). So probably best to stick to fresh or ones you dry yourself. And even if your palate cant detect strong bay flavor the medicinal benefits alone make them worth using. (free-radical, antioxidant and alcohol inhibitor, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties)

*The Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry Research 2002

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Why dont they sell Bay leaves ground so people dont choke on the leaf or have to fish them out?

 

Housemates of mine at Uni had a tradition that the person who got a bay leaf on their plate had to kiss the cook.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Housemates of mine at Uni had a tradition that the person who got a bay leaf on their plate had to kiss the cook.

Ours was who ever got the bay leaf had to do the dishes.....I guess that could be better or worse than kissing depending on the cook lol.

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Bayleaves: useful. We have a tree in the garden which I use all the time.  Last night, I made bay salt (bay leaf, salt, ground in a mortar and pestle) which I used as a dry rub on a leg of lamb before roasting. Tasted very good.

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I have a small Bay Tree in my garden, a bush, perhaps. it is excellent for cooking and all I do is walk up to it and pull a couple of leaves of, so that i will impart its fragrance to my current dish..

 

Fresh bay leaves have a delicate perfume , and in a cooked dish it gives  a fine taste and can easily be removed before serving.

 

Dried on the other hand can be harsh tasting and  brittle .

 

There are many bay varieties, make certain you have the fragrant one. (Let Google be your friend). 

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Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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  • 3 months later...

hi all,

 nice n easy one for my first post. when using a fresh bayleaf in place of a dried one in ,say, a stew, would you add it later than stated in a recipe like you would other fresh herbs or would it nlot make much difference as its quite a hardy ingredient?

 cheers

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I simmer fresh bay leaves in the milk I am going to use for custards - the fresh leaves are "sweeter" and have some flavor elements that are not apparent in the dried leaves.

 

Perhaps you will take the time to read through this article, which has some great suggestions.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Just make sure you're talking about the right type of bay leaf.

I grow my own and they are the true Laurel Nobilis.  I know some people use California bay but I can't stand the smell which to me is like kerosene and I can certainly detect it in food and to me it ruins the entire meal because once I taste it, it takes hours to get rid of it.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have used dried bay leaves from multiple sources and am unable to detect them. Fresh on the other hand provide a very nice flavor component.

i always thought the same but then i upped the dose to two dried bay leafs in a dish and could certainly detect them -way too much. i guess they're just there for a subtle undertone for the foundation as opposed to the star role. cheers all

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  • 6 years later...

Hi Guys: recently got some dried Turkish bay leaves from Penzeys. The leaves did have a nice fragrance, not strong, though. Made some split pea soup (yield was approx. 2 quarts or 2 liters). After cooking the onions, added four bay leaves (2 huge and 2 small). Soup did simmer for a while. No harm done by the bay leaves, but no detectable bay leaf flavor.

 

How many / much bay leaves are you supposed to add?

 

Also, looking for advice on what other things to put bay leaves in. I mostly eat vegetarian food.

 

Thank you!

 

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I'd forgotten I'd posted on this thread 6 years ago. We're moving home soon, and I will be planting a bay bush and a rosemary bush as soon as I move in.

I often use bay leaves instead of nutmeg when I'm making a white sauce, and indeed did so this evening making chicken pie.

@MokaPot sorry, no idea about dried leaves. I'd suggest doubling the dose.

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43 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

Hi Guys: recently got some dried Turkish bay leaves from Penzeys. The leaves did have a nice fragrance, not strong, though. Made some split pea soup (yield was approx. 2 quarts or 2 liters). After cooking the onions, added four bay leaves (2 huge and 2 small). Soup did simmer for a while. No harm done by the bay leaves, but no detectable bay leaf flavor.

 

How many / much bay leaves are you supposed to add?

 

Also, looking for advice on what other things to put bay leaves in. I mostly eat vegetarian food.

 

Thank you!

 

 

I use the Turkish bay leaves from Penzeys.  I have been pleased with them.  The volatiles of bay leaf are almost insoluble in water.  Did you have a fair amount of fat in your soup to extract the flavor?

 

Can you describe the "bay leaf flavor" you were expecting and not finding?  McGee describes bay leaf component smells as "camphor, lavender, pine, woody".  Could you be expecting the flavor of California bay leaf, which is a different genus?  McGee describes California bay leaf smells as "fresh-harsh, medicinal, woody, pine".

 

A showcase for bay leaf is @lesliec's bay leaf ice cream.

 

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has anyone found a good reference for herb solvents as in cooking?

 

i.e.

some do better extracting in oil

some in water....

some in  alcohol....

 

I've not come up with a good guide/reference

 

as Jo said above, bay leaf is one that does well coming out with oil. 

for example doing chili with diced beef or ground beef I always put the bay in while the beef is rendering its fat -

 

@MokaPot - bay is a very subtle flavor.  you'll likely not notice it until it's 'over done' - and too much can be objectionable....

did a dish recently, forgot the bay leaf.... DW opined it wasn't as good as she remembered.  when I did a left over reheat, added a couple bay leaves and it improved by magic.....

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39 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I use the Turkish bay leaves from Penzeys.  I have been pleased with them.  The volatiles of bay leaf are almost insoluble in water.  Did you have a fair amount of fat in your soup to extract the flavor?

 

Can you describe the "bay leaf flavor" you were expecting and not finding?  McGee describes bay leaf component smells as "camphor, lavender, pine, woody".  Could you be expecting the flavor of California bay leaf, which is a different genus?  McGee describes California bay leaf smells as "fresh-harsh, medicinal, woody, pine".

 

A showcase for bay leaf is @lesliec's bay leaf ice cream.

 

 

No, not a lot of fat in my soup. I thought about dropping the bay leaves at the very beginning, along with the oil & onions, but didn't want an overpowering bay leaf flavor. Next time, I'll drop the leaves in with the oil & onions. Thank you for the idea!

 

Good point about California vs. Turkish. I wasn't expecting the Turkish bay leaves to be like the California ones.

 

When I visited Muir Woods (northern California), there were tons of bay trees / leaves there. IIRC, smelled like eucalyptus. Supposedly, the Turkish are supposed to be better than the CA, so that's why I got them.

 

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5 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

CA Bay Laurel is harsher. Turkish are better. I think most all dried bay leaves from spice stores are Turkish, no? 

 

I believe so.  The fresh leaves I've purchased did not taste good.  I now only buy dried.

 

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I have a vague recollection of someone on the forum claiming that dried leaves tasted stronger than fresh. Or maybe I was dreaming. I think the flavour is a bit different, not just stronger/weaker. The dried ones I have now are similar to the fresh because they came from the same tree and I just air-dried them and they still look pretty green compared to the ones you buy. In any case I tend to use more fresh in a dish.

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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