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Purees, emulsions, compounds...


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I know what purees are but I'm not totally sure what compounds and emulsions are and what applications are best for each of these. Can anyone please educate me?

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I know what purees are but I'm not totally sure what compounds and emulsions are and what applications are best for each of these. Can anyone please educate me?

An emulsion is a suspension of drops of one liquid in another liquid, which in cooking usually means a suspension of a fat in water. Emulsifiers, then, are substances that facilitate the formation of or stabilize an emulsion. I've never used any but would be interested to experiment with them just to see what kind of effects they have.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've wondered for awhile about the differences and haven't asked but Wendy's Joconde demo brought them to mind again. She mentions using a banana emulsion and a raspberry compound to flavour her buttercreams so obviously they can both be used in buttercream. Can you use both in mousse and pastry creams or is the difference that certain flavours are more accurate when used in one or the other?

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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O.k.........I have to plead guilty to using the word compound and emulsion interchangably.

But let me see if I can make some sense of this.

Purees, are the pulp and juice of a fruit pureed together and usually strained (but not always). It should be just pure fruit......maybe a little sugar or additives as perservatives. You can make your own purees at home. Purchased purees do seem to have a more intense flavor then when I make my own puree. They claim they're using fruit picked at peek ripeness...........maybe that's part of it........but purchased purees usually have less water content and more fruit intensity then when you puree fruit yourself.

If I cook down my fruit to evaporate the excess water..........I can taste the cooked fruit verses fresh uncooked fruit. Thats one thing these all have in common. Their tastes usually taste uncooked/unprocessed/natural.

High quality emulsions and compounds taste like cooked down/reduced fruit with a more intense flavor concentration then fresh or puree. I can tell you that the taste can vary greatly from one brand to the next. Perhaps good compounds are all natural and bad ones use artifical flavorings? I'm not certain.

I can tell you that the Albert Uster emulsions taste like a base of material to which they've added flavorings (some of their flavors taste natural, some taste completely artifical). The liquid they use to suspend the flavoring is all the same feeling and looking thru their product line.

Where as the Dridopple compounds (my photos show them in jars) taste like real fruit........... like intense cooked down fruit, but they don't taste "cooked". So a little goes a long way. The rum emulsion I have in the photo (from Dridopple) is an artifical taste suspended in a base......an emulsion.

You can add emulsions and compounds to fat based products like mousse, ganche, buttercream, pastry cream, bavarians, whipped cream, etc.... They mix together with products that contain some fat.

But you can't add emulsions and compounds to straight chocolate, they don't mix. Cocoa butter isn't the same as fat.

You can add emulsions to raw batters to flavor them (although the flavor does dull alittle from the heat of baking). If you taste a compound straight from the jar it doesn't seem like a flavor suspended in fat, like an oil. I think you can clearly see the texture of a compound in the photos I've previously posted in this thread. I bet on the back of a label it states exactly what's in the compound, but I'm at home now and can't look for you.

Pastes, are usually nut pastes.... pureed nuts. But there are companies that market 'pastes' like coconut, fruits of the forest, amaretto, etc..... I can't tell you a clear defination for those. Those 'pastes' I've gotten were similar to emulsions in that they seem to be a neutral base with flavorings suspended in them, possible both natural and artifical flavorings. The nut pastes can be artifically flavored or all natural. In a current thread someone asked about some pistachio paste they bought. They purchased a sweetened and colored pistachio paste, verses all nuts ground into a paste. Real nut pastes seperate in time as they sit on your shelfs. The oil rises to the top, the solids to the bottom. Emulsions and compounds don't seperate when left un-agitiated on a shelf for a period of time.

Oil's..........good quality oils like Boyajian can be used in most baked products. They mix with cocoa butter like shortening does. You can put them in frostings, mousses, raw batters. The flavoring from oils doesn't fade in a baked item like compounds and emulsions can.

Unless your making a product that doesn't mix with fat like a meringue you can use oils in everything. They tend to be in-expensive and intense, but you can't get them in a wide range of flavors only from fruits that have oils. I believe the oil is completely natural and extracted mainly from the skin of the fruit. Then there are oils like Loranne oils, where they seem to be adding artical flavorings to oil (not oil from the fruit) and you can taste that unnatural artifical taste. Like the bottles of extract you find in the grocery stores from McCormick.

The extracts at the grocery stores are alchol based flavorings, not oil or emulsion based. There are better and worse brands, in my opinion. The alchol based extracts do mix with oil/fats.......but they don't mix with cocoa butter.

Then there are dried fruit powders..........I believe they are dried purees. Their flavor is not intense. They mix with items like meringue because they don't contain any fat. They are expensive and don't come in a wide variety of flavors.

So I think it all comes down to the expertise of the company making the compounds, extracts, emulsions, oils. Theres good and bad examples of each out on the market.

You should ask about the product line your interested in purchasing from people who use them (not relying on the companies sales pitch). Asking about the quality, because it does vary and price isn't always the way to figure out which is best.

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  • 2 years later...

I have a question about compounds. As I continue to work through my amazing sampler box from Amoretti, I'm starting to be more precise in my use of the compounds. Each jar gives a percentage. For example, my banana compound says "3-5% by weight." What exactly does that mean? And if you could explain it in terms of a simple recipe I would appreciate it.

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I have a question about compounds.  As I continue to work through my amazing sampler box from Amoretti, I'm starting to be more precise in my use of the compounds.  Each jar gives a percentage.  For example, my banana compound says "3-5% by weight."  What exactly does that mean?  And if you could explain it in terms of a simple recipe I would appreciate it.

To 100 grams of ganache or fondant you would add 3 to 5 grams of compound.

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I was talking to the Amoretti rep this week (I also got a big box of samples - I hadn't bought from them in a while and so they sent me a present!), and asked her the difference between their compounds and extracts. The extracts are more concentrated, which is why they list it as 1% by weight, rather than the 3-5% for the compounds, but she said they can be used interchangeably in whatever you are making (batter, buttercream, filling, etc) as long as you remember to add the right amount. I also find that with their stuff to start on the lower side. When I use Seiben or Dreidopple, I need more for some of the flavors.

For years, I used AUI's coffee paste because it is so wonderful and concentrated. But it lists peanut oil as an ingredient, and with all the allergy issues around, I had been looking for a replacement and Amoretti's coffee compound is equally as good and the rep said all their compounds/extracts/etc have no peanut oil in them.

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i would never use dreidoppel compounds, in germany they have a bad reputation as a "cheap" product in terms of flavour quality :wacko: . if you must go the compund path my advise would be to just use it if you have no other chance. for example we use a cherry compound in our cherry chocolates along with boiron puree and alsacian kirschwasser. we solely use compounds made by premium italian icecream suppliers as: MEC3, Fabri, Elenka etc. these compounds are (compared to the stuff from 3doppel) of extraordinary quality and give anice full and natural portrait of the targeted flavour.

cheers

torsten s.

Edited by schneich (log)

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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Thanks Torsten. This was for a pistachio mousse that I made this weekend. It was a huge hit - I went on the strong side which was almost too much.

I can understand your comments for fruits and some other flavors, but what about nuts? Is the taste difference still there?

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:/ Access to ingredients maybe. I can crush pistachios, but that wouldn't impart the same flavor. And not living near a major city, I don't have access to all of the fun ingredients that others do. Compounds seem like a good alternative since they have a decent shelf life. In this instance I was using up my Amoretti sampler pack.
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i would never use dreidoppel compounds, in germany they have a bad reputation as a "cheap" product in terms of flavour quality :wacko: 

I had a chance to do a side by side comparison of the espresso and tiramisu between driedopple (those are the only ones I have) and Amoretti. This was for buttercream, which is pretty much where I use a compound to boost the flavor I'm after. Amoretti won, hands down. Not even a contest, really. For coffee, I originally used the Medaglia D'Oro powder, but found it could be really bitter. Then I found the AUI coffee paste and loved it, but had a hard time with the peanut oil. In school, we used Sieben and I went with the Driedopple based on feedback from other pastry chefs. I have to say that their orange wasn't bad, but I like using orange curd better

we solely use compounds made by premium italian icecream suppliers as: MEC3, Fabri, Elenka etc. these compounds are (compared to the stuff from 3doppel) of extraordinary quality and give anice full and natural portrait of the targeted flavour.

I have the MEC3 pistachio. It is to die for. If I couldn't get it, I wouldn't offer a pistachio flavor at all. (I once opened a jar of Hero pistachio and gagged on just the smell of it.)

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  • 1 year later...
I have a question about compounds.  As I continue to work through my amazing sampler box from Amoretti, I'm starting to be more precise in my use of the compounds.  Each jar gives a percentage.  For example, my banana compound says "3-5% by weight."  What exactly does that mean?  And if you could explain it in terms of a simple recipe I would appreciate it.

Ron, I know it's been awhile but I'm just wondering how you liked the Amoretti compounds overall? Did you have any favourites or ones that you really didn't like? I called them today and they are sending samples to Canada for me. I'm so excited!! There unfortunately isn't a distributor in my province but she said they ship to Canada direct.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I use the raspberry framboise daily, and the pistachio, black cherry & prickly pear weekly. I often will use the compound in conjunction with a puree when possible. As for the flavor...not sure what to say. If I could achieve the same flavor from fresh fruit I would, but I like strong flavors so the compounds work well for me. Only in a few instances have I had the chemically taste that some people talk about (ie Butterscotch). My flavors contain fruit, sugar, acid and then the cherry has color, none of my others have color.

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Understanding emulsions will help demystify many things in the kitchen. Here are some of the basics:

Emulsions in cooking are mixtures of oil and water, which do not disolve in each other. Their tendency is to separate, with the lighter oil floating on top. When emulsified, the oil and water combine in a way that appears to be homogenous, but still retains many of the individual characteristics of the oil and the water. The process is assisted by a third component (which we call an emulsifier) that helps keep the emulsion from separating (breaking).

One of the components in an emulsion is in what we call the continuous phase; the other is in the dispersed phase. If you incorporate oil into the water (as in a mayonnaise) water is the continuous phase. This means that the water molecules can move around freely and touch each other, but the oil molecules are segregated into small droplets, separated from one another by water molecules, with the assistance of the emulsifier.

The emulsifier in the case of a mayonaise is traditionally egg yolk, but it can be garlic, shallot, mustard, or any of a number of foods or refined ingredients that help keep the dispersed molecules from finding each other, glomming together, and separating. For an emulsifier, we look for an ingredient that has a kind of tensioactive molecule that attracts both oils and water. There are actually a number of different ways emulsifiers work, but the details are unimportant.

When water is the continuous phase, we call the emulsion an oil-in-water emulsion. Like mayonaise. This is the reason it isn't greasy; the oil is in the dispersed phase so all the oil moleculse are surrounded by water.

This explains the mixing method: you take the lemon juice (water based) and yolk (emulsifier, and another source of water) and then gradually whisk in the oil. Even though the recipes call for significantly more oil than water, the water remains the continuous phase, with the oil broken up into segregated droplets within the water.

Other oil-in-water emulsion include hollandaise and bearnaise sauces, cream, milk, beurre blanc, and beurre monté (melted, unbroken butter).

Water-in-oil emulsions include butter, chocolate, traditional vinnaigrettes (although non traditional ones are often made oil-in-water).

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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Nice paraphrasing of McGee but I don't think that's the emulsion they're referring to here. I think they're discussing flavoring compounds. :raz::biggrin:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I beg to disagree with the "chocolate being an oil-in water emulsion" Chocoalte contains virtually NO water, at most less than 1/2 of one percent, cocoa solids particles are suspended in cocoa butter, not emulsified.

Compounds.....

Schneich, I also have to beg to disagree with Sucrea/Doehler/Dreidoppel being the worst. True, they put in natural and natural-identical flavourings. In my humble opion it's Braun that makes the worst compounds.

I made the mistake of ordering a "Williams Christ pear" Compound. Should have read the label before I opened it. Label stated: Von Zundquellen entfernen" Or, roughly translated in Englisch, "Keep away from open flame and spark". Nasty stuff, lots of pure alcohol in there..Not Williams, a pear eau-de-vie, but pure alcoholv, and looking at Braun's website I see they have the same alcohol in most of their flavourings.

MEC3 is avialble her, but ONLY in icecream/gelatto format. These pastes are far too strong and assertive to use in general pastry work (Mousses, creams, etc.)

Canadin bakin, You might try Far-met importers for ammoretti brand compounds. I remember now thumbing thorugh their catalouge and seeing Ammoretti, but be warned, it is expensive.

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You're right, you said water in oil emulsion.

And I still beg to disagree. Like I said, chocolate has virtually no water in it--most literature gives this value as less than 1/2 of 1%. Most literature therefore, describes chocolate as cocoa solids and sugar suspended in fat.

Which brings me to my second point: Oil, by it's very nature is liquid at room temperature, and fat solid at room temperature. The cocoa bean contains naturally around 52% cocoa fat (or butter), couverture has addtional cocoa butter added, no oil though....

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Then there are oils like Loranne oils, where they seem to be adding artical flavorings to oil (not oil from the fruit) and you can taste that unnatural artifical taste. Like the bottles of extract you find in the grocery stores from McCormick.

LorAnn does have a few natural flavors - pure oil of peppermint, lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit. I have used these and they are decent, have added a few drops to tempered chocolate for flavor.

The rest of the product line does seem to be artificially flavored, apparently oranges are easier to get oil from than root beer or butterscotch :raz:

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Where's the "happy dance" icon when you need it?! I talked to Amoretti late last week and FedEx brought me 17 little bottles of extracts and compounds today! So excited and where to begin? You guys are the only ones who understand this kind of geekiness :wub:.

edited to add: Oh, and my MEC3 supplier brought me two samples today as well. They said European companies aren't big on samples.

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Feel free to browse and ask for anything. They call me about every two weeks and say the same thing, "Just checking to see if you need any order items or samples." I always ask for samples with my orders and I always receive. Lately I've been asking for colors instead of flavors.

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