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ALTAF

Vanilla with no alcohol?

51 posts in this topic

regardless of artificial vanilla tasting like real vanilla, it's the way it's made that bothers me.  i was told in school, that alot of artificial vanilla is a byproduct of wood pulp used for making paper.

Alot of the aroma in good aged whiskeys is from the vanillan extracted from the wood barrels....just found that out last week :smile:

T


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theabroma have you tried doing a pure double blind? Maybe a lot of the difference is psychological.

Yes, I have. And that's why I said it may be something biochemically with me. In fact, I think that is the biggest unknown of any taste test - we all agree that what we are tasting is what we have named 'vanilla', but the likelihood that we are all tasting the 'same' is not very likely. Whatever the chemical signature(s) is/are of the constellation of compounds we call 'vanilla flavor', I know that they appear 'naturally' in other plants. But whether that exact array of flavor compounds is also what is present in cured orchid seedpods and wood, and whatever else, I don't know.

For example, cilantro is native to Asia, not Mesoamerica, yet it is difficult to imagine Mexican food w/out that flavor. Same with oregano. Turns out that there were at least two plants, indigenous to Mesoamerica - culantro (Eringium foetidum and Lippia mexicana) which contain many of the principal flavor/aroma compounds, but not all, of their Asian and European counterparts.

But of course, whether we all taste the same thing, or would taste a difference between the Old/New World plants, and any artificial flavors mimicking them, is anyone's guess.

THeabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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I can certainly tell the difference between real vanilla and artificial vanilla in some foods, particularly in delicate custards.

The artificial stuff has a bitter tone to it that is not pleasant and one of the worst examples was when I was served a lovely peach dessert topped with whipped cream in which the person who made it had used artificial vanilla.

I would rather spend the extra amount and have a flavor on which I can depend.

Also, the imitation stuff can change over time, partidularly if exposed to prolonged heat. The chemicals can change to compounds that have really putrid flavors.

Here is a good explanation of the differences.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Theres how many manufactors of vanillan in this world? And is all vanillan exactly the same from one company to the next?

Lets face it, theres some crap vanillan out of the markets and theres also some crappy "fresh" vanilla beans too. You can't condemn all until you've tried many. I too have tasted some nasty vanillan, but I've also tasted some that I don't believe anyone could detect was vanillan and not real vanilla.

Now when you talk about vanilla beans, your totally right Patrick. It is a shame that no one can unlock the exact copy of a vanilla bean. Nelson Massey's vanilla bean paste comes the closest I've taste and smelled to a real bean. Have you tried that?

Also, you have to watch brands when you buy vanilla powder. They are not all the same from company to company either. Nelson Masseys version is an off white powder, with good flavor and smell. Albert Usters version looks like dried vanilla seeds and no other substances (but it has no real flavor inspite of it's looks).

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Nelson Massey's vanilla bean paste comes the closest I've taste and smelled to a real bean. Have you tried that?

Oh, my goodness, Yes!!! On sliced, toasted brioche, unsalted butter, a powdering of sugar and a smear of vanilla paste, run in the oven to heat a bit. Eat that while waiting for the cookies, or cake layers, or scones, or what have you to get done! I have to have someone lock it away from me.

Theabroma

PS: it also works rather well in the products I bake for sale :rolleyes:

T.


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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"Vanilla beans or powder would taste best, but they are pricey"

I beg to differ on this.  I just won an organic vanilla auction on ebay.  I paid 8.96 for 30 beans( 1/4lb)  I've won other auctions for even less.  I make my own extract with the beans.

I should have specified "good vanilla beans." The Tahitensis beans from New Guinea that I bought for a similar price on Ebay were absolute garbage, fragrant and plump and . . . practically devoid of vanilla flavor. Are you getting Planifolia beans for this price? If so, thats a very good deal and I'm very interested.


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"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 can certainly tell the difference between real vanilla and artificial vanilla in some foods, particularly in delicate custards.

The artificial stuff has a bitter tone to it that is not pleasant and one of the worst examples was when I was served a lovely peach dessert topped with whipped cream in which the person who made it had used artificial vanilla. 

A long time ago, when I first started baking, I was also turned off by some store-brand artificial vanilla that I tried. I assumed that all artificial extract tasted that way, and didn't try it again for a long time. It was only years later, after I read that in blind comparisons people can't even tell the difference and do not express a preference for real extract, that I tried other brands of the artificial stuff and found that some of it tasted just fine.


"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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One additional comment.

Four or five years ago, here in soCalif., many of the smaller Mexican markets were selling "Natural Vanillin powder" - It was indeed, a "natural" product but it contained coumarin (a blood thinner) and was pulled from market shelves by FDA agents and the distributors were enjoined from continuing to distribute it in the US.

It had been around for several years but apparently the FDA had just gotten around to testing it and found it had dangerous levels of the coumarin.

It is possible to get good quality products made in Mexico but you have to deal with a reputable dealer. The true Mexican vanilla is very good - I prefer the Madagascar Bourbon but not by much.

If I had my "druthers" - I would use Hawaiian vanilla exclusively but it is very, very expensive. A friend who lives on the Big Island and has an 'in" with the owners, sent me some and it is extraordinary, but not if one is on a tight budget.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Wow, a very important topic. But still one question left: if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon pure vanilla exrtact, and i would like to use vanillin instead. Shell i use the same amount or less?

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Wow, a very important topic. But still one question left: if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon pure vanilla exrtact, and i would like to use vanillin instead. Shell i use the same amount or less?

This topic always generates lots of interest and many opinions.

I wanted to add a couple of comments. I just checked the ingredients in several different brands of artificial vanilla carried by one of my suppliers and I noticed that one brand includes alcohol. So whatever you decide to buy, double check the ingredients. You can substitute in equal amounts, adjusting to suit your tastes. (If you were using "double strength" or "triple strength" products, available to the trade, you'd use less, but I don't think that's the case here.) Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :smile:


Ilene

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Don't forget that if you are cooking the recipe, any alcohol will evaporate

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Not really. For the proportions of alcohol, it's likely very little will actually evaporate. And if it's for religious reasons, then I assume that even 1 drop of alcohol is one too many.


PS: I am a guy.

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Two related questions:

1) If a recipe calls for vanilla sugar and I want to substitute vanilla extract and regular sugar, does anyone know how I would calculate how much of the extract to use?

2) Standing on a chair, I discovered a very, very old vanilla pod in the back of a high shelf in my cabinet. I have no idea when I made the purchase. It might even be more than a decade old. Will it still have flavor? Should I try pouring boiling water over it to resusitate it? Or stick it in a small jar of sugar and see if flavor seeps out into the crystals eventually, if not in time to meet immediate needs?

Thanks.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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For recipes that call for vanilla sugar as a flavoring agent, then I substitute it with 1 tsp of vanilla. If it calls for only vanilla sugar, then I would regular sugar for the vanilla sugar and add 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla.

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For recipes that call for vanilla sugar as a flavoring agent, then I substitute it with 1 tsp of vanilla. If it calls for only vanilla sugar, then I would regular sugar for the vanilla sugar and add 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla.

Thank you for responding, Michelle!

I should have asked about proportions.

If there's 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla?

It's okay to speak in terms of weight in grams since I have a scale.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Not really. For the proportions of alcohol, it's likely very little will actually evaporate. And if it's for religious reasons, then I assume that even 1 drop of alcohol is one too many.

Boiling point of alcohol - 78.8 C

Boiling point of water - 100 C

cooking above 78.8 will eveporate the tiny quantity of alcohol needed to add a vanilla flavour very quickly indeed.

That said, the Quran prohibits drunkenness/intoxication, not consumption

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According to this and this, this is not true. Both list primary sources but I'm too tired to try and dig for them.

If intoxication was the problem, then normal vanilla paste would be fine anyway. I assume it's some other religious prohibition.


PS: I am a guy.

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Early in this thread I posted this link to Alcohol and Gluten-free Vanilla, Cooks which is an excellent product.

I can use regular vanilla in baked goods, or in anything that is going to be cooked for enough time for the alcohol esthers to vaporize.

My problem is not religious. I have a severe allergy to alcohol or ethanol, no matter the medium in which it exists. It causes laryngeal edema which, if it proceeds, shuts off my airway, along with circulatory collapse and etc. It is life-threatening.

I can't use alcohol-based flavorings in whipped cream, ice cream (unless it is cooked custard based) or any similar type of preparation.

Over the years I have learned that there are many flavorings that have a glycerine base, which I can tolerate, some have an oil base, some may be produced by steam distillation to concentrate them and stabilized by non-ethanol compounds.

In any event, there are commercial products that are very good and some are made to a standard that insures they will not offend religious strictures. The package will have a clear indication of this.

Wine, or any other kind of alcohol cannot be used in cooking, even minute amounts are forbidden. This means that foods processed with alcohol, even if all the alcohol has been removed, is not halal. I have known and cooked with and for many Muslim friends and have always been very careful to observe their dietary preferences.

Halal.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Boiling point of alcohol - 78.8 C

Boiling point of water - 100 C

cooking above 78.8 will eveporate the tiny quantity of alcohol needed to add a vanilla flavour very quickly indeed.

That said, the Quran prohibits drunkenness/intoxication, not consumption

Interesting point, but you have to read THIS to understand why muslims cannot use alcohol.

I have a knowledge that cream of tartar is made from an agent left in wine barrels, then it is chemically trasformed into powder. But the finished product does not containe alcohol. Correct me if i'm wronge.?

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I spotted alcohol-free vanilla flavoring at Trader Joe's the other day, in the baking section next to the vanilla. I didn't look at the label to see what the actual ingredients are but it's worth a look for those looking for the alcohol-free vanilla solution.

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For recipes that call for vanilla sugar as a flavoring agent, then I substitute it with 1 tsp of vanilla. If it calls for only vanilla sugar, then I would regular sugar for the vanilla sugar and add 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla.

Thank you for responding, Michelle!

I should have asked about proportions.

If there's 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla?

It's okay to speak in terms of weight in grams since I have a scale.

Sorry Pontormo. I only saw your question now. The proportions I gave you were for your question about 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar.

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Boiling point of alcohol - 78.8 C

Boiling point of water - 100 C

cooking above 78.8 will eveporate the tiny quantity of alcohol needed to add a vanilla flavour very quickly indeed.

That said, the Quran prohibits drunkenness/intoxication, not consumption

Interesting point, but you have to read THIS to understand why muslims cannot use alcohol.

I have a knowledge that cream of tartar is made from an agent left in wine barrels, then it is chemically trasformed into powder. But the finished product does not containe alcohol. Correct me if i'm wronge.?

Thank you for the above link. It is very interesting.

I did a Google search and found this web site for a description of cream of tartar and this web site regarding permissibility.


Ilene

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Depending on the recipe, rose water or orange blossom water can be used instead of the vanilla extract. Orange blossom water works particularly well in desserts with citrus zest. For this substitution, I usually use twice the suggested amount of vanilla extract.

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Boiling point of alcohol - 78.8 C

Boiling point of water - 100 C

cooking above 78.8 will eveporate the tiny quantity of alcohol needed to add a vanilla flavour very quickly indeed.

That said, the Quran prohibits drunkenness/intoxication, not consumption

Interesting point, but you have to read THIS to understand why muslims cannot use alcohol.

.?

I apologise wholeheartedly for my ignorance. Would I be right to say that this is a direct application of the exact word from original text, or is it based on later interpretation by scholars?


Edited by fatmat (log)

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