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Substituting Vanilla Extract for Vanilla Bean

Substituting Vanilla Extract for Vanilla Bean
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  • Substituting Vanilla Extract for Vanilla Bean

    Post #1 - March 18th, 2011, 3:02 pm
    Post #1 - March 18th, 2011, 3:02 pm Post #1 - March 18th, 2011, 3:02 pm
    Hi,

    I've been told by well respected bakers that this can be done.

    So how much vanilla extract does one need to replace a recipe calling for the scraping of 2 vanilla beans?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #2 - March 18th, 2011, 3:06 pm
    Post #2 - March 18th, 2011, 3:06 pm Post #2 - March 18th, 2011, 3:06 pm
    A couple of teaspoons, probably. Vanilla extract use is not that exact in my book. It's something that can easily be eyeballed. A little bit more or less doesn't make a whole lot of difference. I've found that vanilla extract's potency varies batch to batch and brand to brand.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    Post #3 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm Post #3 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    It's about 2 teaspoons per bean, but there are factors that could affect this up or down. That's a decent starting point though.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #4 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    Post #4 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm Post #4 - March 18th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    From Cook's Thesaurus:

    vanilla bean = vanilla pod Notes: Vanilla is used to flavor everything from baked goods to ice cream. Most recipes call for vanilla extract, but some argue that vanilla beans lend a more potent flavor. Select beans that are shiny, moist, and pliable--dried out beans aren't nearly as potent. If a recipe calls for just for the seeds, split the bean open and scrape the seeds out, and save the outer pod to flavor sugar or hot drinks. Substitutes: vanilla extract (One inch of vanilla bean = 1 teaspoon extract)
  • Post #5 - March 18th, 2011, 4:10 pm
    Post #5 - March 18th, 2011, 4:10 pm Post #5 - March 18th, 2011, 4:10 pm
    Thanks All,

    I like vanilla, so I'm going to be generous in the use of extract. It is the good stuff from Spice House. :)
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #6 - March 19th, 2011, 7:19 am
    Post #6 - March 19th, 2011, 7:19 am Post #6 - March 19th, 2011, 7:19 am
    pairs4life wrote:Hi,

    I've been told by well respected bakers that this can be done.


    They were right. I baked the lovely pignoli & almond cake discussed here for last night's Girl's Night In (GNI) with boudreaulicious, happy stomach, mbh, petite_ gourmande, & a host of others. It was even better than I recall it being before and I didn't have the tedious work of splitting and scraping the vanilla beans.

    I went with 2 teaspoons of Spice House's Tahitian Vanilla Extract for each vanilla bean.

    Thanks,
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #7 - March 19th, 2011, 8:32 am
    Post #7 - March 19th, 2011, 8:32 am Post #7 - March 19th, 2011, 8:32 am
    pairs4life wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:Hi,

    I've been told by well respected bakers that this can be done.


    They were right. I baked the lovely pignoli & almond cake discussed here for last night's Girl's Night In (GNI) with boudreaulicious, happy stomach, mbh, petite_ gourmande, & a host of others. It was even better than I recall it being before and I didn't have the tedious work of splitting and scraping the vanilla beans.

    I went with 2 teaspoons of Spice House's Tahitian Vanilla Extract for each vanilla bean.

    Thanks,


    And it was completely delicious!!! Thanks P4L :D
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #8 - March 19th, 2011, 1:16 pm
    Post #8 - March 19th, 2011, 1:16 pm Post #8 - March 19th, 2011, 1:16 pm
    BTW - when I do split and scrape beans, I always put the remaining pod in the bottom of a jar I reserve for vanilla sugar. I've found this to intensely flavor the sugar enough that if I use it to replace the sugar in a recipe, I don't need either the beans or the extract. It's amazing how long you can reuse them for this purpose, too.
  • Post #9 - March 20th, 2011, 10:42 am
    Post #9 - March 20th, 2011, 10:42 am Post #9 - March 20th, 2011, 10:42 am
    HI,

    Spice House's vanilla is from Nielsen Massey of Waukegan.

    Years ago, I used to buy vanilla by the pint in brown bottles at Gsell's Pharmacy in Highland Park. They stopped offering it, because the manufacturer had stopped. They gave the impression this vanilla came from a pharmaceutical company. For years, I was disappointed at having lost my favorite vanilla source.

    I learned several years ago, Nielsen Massey used to supply vanilla to drug stores to flavor medicine. I inquired did these druggists also sell their vanilla to the public. They affirmed they did in pharmaceutical brown bottles. It appears my long lost source was Nielsen Massey's vanilla.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - March 21st, 2011, 10:04 am
    Post #10 - March 21st, 2011, 10:04 am Post #10 - March 21st, 2011, 10:04 am
    A week ago I needed a last minute creme anglaise. I had no time to purchase a vanilla bean and used extract. It tasted just fine.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #11 - March 21st, 2011, 11:12 am
    Post #11 - March 21st, 2011, 11:12 am Post #11 - March 21st, 2011, 11:12 am
    I made my first batch of vanilla extract and it was pretty easy to do. It turned out very great. I went to The Spice House and bought a few fresh vanilla beans and immersed them in about a pint of vodka (many recipes recommend using grain alcohol, but the vodka worked out just fine). I put the container of vodka and beans in a cool, dark place for around 4 months and now I have a nice supply of great vanilla extract which will see us through the summer until we can get back to Mexico to pick up more of our favorite brand.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - March 21st, 2011, 11:22 am
    Post #12 - March 21st, 2011, 11:22 am Post #12 - March 21st, 2011, 11:22 am
    stevez wrote:I made my first batch of vanilla extract and it was pretty easy to do. It turned out very great. I went to The Spice House and bought a few fresh vanilla beans and immersed them in about a pint of vodka (many recipes recommend using grain alcohol, but the vodka worked out just fine). I put the container of vodka and beans in a cool, dark place for around 4 months and now I have a nice supply of great vanilla extract which will see us through the summer until we can get back to Mexico to pick up more of our favorite brand.


    How does the homemade stuff compare to the stuff you buy?
  • Post #13 - March 21st, 2011, 2:40 pm
    Post #13 - March 21st, 2011, 2:40 pm Post #13 - March 21st, 2011, 2:40 pm
    Darren72 wrote:
    stevez wrote:I made my first batch of vanilla extract and it was pretty easy to do. It turned out very great. I went to The Spice House and bought a few fresh vanilla beans and immersed them in about a pint of vodka (many recipes recommend using grain alcohol, but the vodka worked out just fine). I put the container of vodka and beans in a cool, dark place for around 4 months and now I have a nice supply of great vanilla extract which will see us through the summer until we can get back to Mexico to pick up more of our favorite brand.


    How does the homemade stuff compare to the stuff you buy?


    At first, it was a little weaker in strength, but identical in flavor. Now that it's had a little longer to age, it's gotten much darker and the flavor is stronger, so I don't use as much. You have to really read the label when you buy extract. Even the ones that say "natural" flavor sometimes include other additives like corn syrup or sugar (or worse). The stuff we buy in Mexico is organic and pure extract with nothing else added and is very similar to the stuff I just made at home.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - March 21st, 2011, 3:22 pm
    Post #14 - March 21st, 2011, 3:22 pm Post #14 - March 21st, 2011, 3:22 pm
    SteveZ,

    What is the brand you get in Mexico? Going in a few weeks... :)
  • Post #15 - March 21st, 2011, 3:24 pm
    Post #15 - March 21st, 2011, 3:24 pm Post #15 - March 21st, 2011, 3:24 pm
    stevez wrote:I made my first batch of vanilla extract and it was pretty easy to do. It turned out very great. I went to The Spice House and bought a few fresh vanilla beans and immersed them in about a pint of vodka (many recipes recommend using grain alcohol, but the vodka worked out just fine). I put the container of vodka and beans in a cool, dark place for around 4 months and now I have a nice supply of great vanilla extract which will see us through the summer until we can get back to Mexico to pick up more of our favorite brand.


    Steve,

    That's a great trick which I first learned of from reading James Beard. I have in my cabinet a pint of homemade extract which I made with Presidente brandy, but my go to vanilla is Nielsen Massey which we get by the quart from King Arthur. Has anyone tried the (heavier) extract at at Spice House which is a bit thicker and contains the seeds? We tried it once, it has very good flavor, but I didn't love that it contained added gums, etc... Wouldn't get it again just for the specks.

    MHays, the vanilla sugar trick is an old pastry chef trick. My vanilla sugar dates back to the nineties. Tou talk about strong. Oughta' think about using some...maybe for my first blueberry pie this year.

    Evil
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #16 - March 21st, 2011, 4:08 pm
    Post #16 - March 21st, 2011, 4:08 pm Post #16 - March 21st, 2011, 4:08 pm
    CrazyC wrote:SteveZ,

    What is the brand you get in Mexico? Going in a few weeks... :)


    The brand is Orlando Vainilla Natural. It's made just outside of Puerto Vallarta. http://www.orlandomx.com/homeing.html
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #17 - March 27th, 2011, 10:06 pm
    Post #17 - March 27th, 2011, 10:06 pm Post #17 - March 27th, 2011, 10:06 pm
    stevez wrote:I made my first batch of vanilla extract and it was pretty easy to do. It turned out very great. I went to The Spice House and bought a few fresh vanilla beans and immersed them in about a pint of vodka (many recipes recommend using grain alcohol, but the vodka worked out just fine). I put the container of vodka and beans in a cool, dark place for around 4 months and now I have a nice supply of great vanilla extract which will see us through the summer until we can get back to Mexico to pick up more of our favorite brand.

    Are there major advantages, other than the satisfaction of doing it yourself, to making your own extract over buying a high-quality commercial US product (made from imported beans of course) such as Nielsen-Massey? It's possible you might save a buck or two but what you describe has to be at least several-fold more dilute than standard single strength vanilla extract. No big deal, just use several times as much.

    stevez wrote:The stuff we buy in Mexico is organic and pure extract with nothing else added and is very similar to the stuff I just made at home.

    stevez wrote:The brand is Orlando Vainilla Natural. It's made just outside of Puerto Vallarta. http://www.orlandomx.com/homeing.html

    I see the label describes Orlando Vainilla Natural as "blended." Their website explains the blending process (they seem to use the term two different ways).

    The Orlando website wrote:Our proprietary aging process starts with the selection of our own prime vanilla beans which contain over 150 flavor components. In order for these flavor components to blend together they require over one year of aging. Once the flavor components have blended with the added vanillin [emphasis added] (the major flavor found in the bean), we prepare the liquid and place it in the bottles.

    It certainly sounds like they start with pure vanilla extract and supplement it with vanillin, the chemical compound most responsible for vanilla's flavor. Might the wording on their website be misleading? Does the label have a list of ingredients?

    Even though I don't use a lot of vanilla, I've become a bit of a vanilla snob in recent years. I use several products from Nielsen-Massey (a very old Chicago company, still run by the founding family, but now located in Waukegan) and couldn't be happier with them. Absolutely top quality.
  • Post #18 - March 28th, 2011, 6:39 am
    Post #18 - March 28th, 2011, 6:39 am Post #18 - March 28th, 2011, 6:39 am
    Rene G wrote:Even though I don't use a lot of vanilla, I've become a bit of a vanilla snob in recent years. I use several products from Nielsen-Massey (a very old Chicago company, still run by the founding family, but now located in Waukegan) and couldn't be happier with them. Absolutely top quality.

    agreed, and a tour of the N-M plant should be a must for anyone living in our area if they can find a way to get in. It's an interesting company, and you walk out of that plant smelling the sweet perfume of high-quality vanilla for days to come. I have a friend who was doing some work for the company when she arranged a tour a few years ago, but I'm told that a simple phone call can sometimes garner a stranger a date if the timing works out.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #19 - March 28th, 2011, 7:46 am
    Post #19 - March 28th, 2011, 7:46 am Post #19 - March 28th, 2011, 7:46 am
    Rene G wrote:Might the wording on their website be misleading? Does the label have a list of ingredients?

    Even though I don't use a lot of vanilla, I've become a bit of a vanilla snob in recent years. I use several products from Nielsen-Massey (a very old Chicago company, still run by the founding family, but now located in Waukegan) and couldn't be happier with them. Absolutely top quality.



    I agree the N-M stuff is a good substitute in a pinch, but I prefer the taste of the Mexican stuff. The ingredient list on the Orlando bottle is vanilla extract, water and alcohol. I could be misrembering, but I seem to recall corn syrup as an ingredient in N-M.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - March 28th, 2011, 9:54 am
    Post #20 - March 28th, 2011, 9:54 am Post #20 - March 28th, 2011, 9:54 am
    There is a NM vanilla product I believe referred to as vanilla paste, which does seem like vanilla seeds blended with corn syrup. I'd be pretty certain the regular extract does not contain corn syrup, or it it does, it's an infinitesimal amount.
  • Post #21 - March 28th, 2011, 1:07 pm
    Post #21 - March 28th, 2011, 1:07 pm Post #21 - March 28th, 2011, 1:07 pm
    No corn syrup in either the extract or the paste. Both do have a thickening gum, which I appreciate because it makes it easier to get from bottle to measuring spoon to mixing bowl without spilling.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #22 - March 28th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    Post #22 - March 28th, 2011, 2:18 pm Post #22 - March 28th, 2011, 2:18 pm
    Kennyz wrote:No corn syrup in either the extract or the paste. Both do have a thickening gum, which I appreciate because it makes it easier to get from bottle to measuring spoon to mixing bowl without spilling.


    Blech. :evil:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #23 - March 28th, 2011, 7:38 pm
    Post #23 - March 28th, 2011, 7:38 pm Post #23 - March 28th, 2011, 7:38 pm
    No corn syrup in either the extract or the paste. Both do have a thickening gum, which I appreciate because it makes it easier to get from bottle to measuring spoon to mixing bowl without spilling.


    Maybe they've changed the formula, since my older bottle of extract has ingredients of water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla extracts. No gums. I've got extract from a California company with the same, excluding the sugar.
  • Post #24 - March 28th, 2011, 8:44 pm
    Post #24 - March 28th, 2011, 8:44 pm Post #24 - March 28th, 2011, 8:44 pm
    rickster wrote:
    No corn syrup in either the extract or the paste. Both do have a thickening gum, which I appreciate because it makes it easier to get from bottle to measuring spoon to mixing bowl without spilling.

    Maybe they've changed the formula, since my older bottle of extract has ingredients of water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla extracts. No gums.

    The standard Nielsen-Massey vanilla extracts (at least the Madagascar, Mexican and Tahitian ones that I have at home) contain water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla bean extractives. As it's been explained to me, the sugar improves extraction efficiency and helps keep the extractives in solution/suspension. A sugar-free version is available (only the Madagascar I think) but it can be cloudy. It's available retail but I don't remember seeing it. As far as I know none of the Nielsen-Massey extracts contain corn syrup or thickening gums. I don't recall what thickener is used in the paste to keep the seeds in suspension.

    Rene G wrote:
    The Orlando website wrote:Our proprietary aging process starts with the selection of our own prime vanilla beans which contain over 150 flavor components. In order for these flavor components to blend together they require over one year of aging. Once the flavor components have blended with the added vanillin [emphasis added] (the major flavor found in the bean), we prepare the liquid and place it in the bottles.

    It certainly sounds like they start with pure vanilla extract and supplement it with vanillin, the chemical compound most responsible for vanilla's flavor. Might the wording on their website be misleading?

    I thought maybe it was simply a problem with English but looking at the Spanish version it seems equally clear that Orlando is saying they add vanillin (vainillina) to their extracts. I just don't see any other way to read it.

    The Orlando website wrote:Una vez que los componentes de sabor han sido mezclados con la vainillina agregada (el mayor sabor encontrado en las vainas), nosotros preparamos el líquido y lo envasamos.
  • Post #25 - March 29th, 2011, 6:37 am
    Post #25 - March 29th, 2011, 6:37 am Post #25 - March 29th, 2011, 6:37 am
    Rickster wrote:Maybe they've changed the formula, since my older bottle of extract has ingredients of water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla extracts. No gums.

    Rene G wrote:The standard Nielsen-Massey vanilla extracts (at least the Madagascar, Mexican and Tahitian ones that I have at home) contain water, alcohol, sugar and vanilla bean extractives. As it's been explained to me, the sugar improves extraction efficiency and helps keep the extractives in solution/suspension. A sugar-free version is available (only the Madagascar I think) but it can be cloudy. It's available retail but I don't remember seeing it. As far as I know none of the Nielsen-Massey extracts contain corn syrup or thickening gums. I don't recall what thickener is used in the paste to keep the seeds in suspension.


    I guess we have different interpretations of what pure vanilla extract means, but to my way of thinking, adding sugar is a deal breaker.

    Rene G wrote:I thought maybe it was simply a problem with English but looking at the Spanish version it seems equally clear that Orlando is saying they add vanillin (vainillina) to their extracts. I just don't see any other way to read it.


    As I said upthread, vanillin is not listed as an ingredient on the label. Now I know that this stuff comes from Mexico and that standards may be more relaxed than here in the USA, but I'm inclined to take them at there word, considering their competitors list ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup and vanillin. In any event, I really like the taste of the Orlando stuff and highly recommend it to anyone who has the means to get their hands on a bottle.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #26 - April 7th, 2011, 11:39 am
    Post #26 - April 7th, 2011, 11:39 am Post #26 - April 7th, 2011, 11:39 am
    HI,

    The Denver Post has an article on making extracts.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #27 - April 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm
    Post #27 - April 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm Post #27 - April 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm
    Hi,

    The homemade vanilla extract is far superior to commercial extract and costs much less. Top quality Madagascar Beans should cost about $0.80 each and 80 proof vodka is the perfect liquid. Heating the vodka is well worthwhile in providing quicker extraction and faster aging.

    stevez wrote:
    Kennyz wrote:No corn syrup in either the extract or the paste. Both do have a thickening gum, which I appreciate because it makes it easier to get from bottle to measuring spoon to mixing bowl without spilling.


    Blech. :evil:


    Actually there is nothing evil! Just the ingredients that you have come to love at Alinea. Excellent vanilla bean paste may also be made at home with some specific equipment.

      Split the beans and remove the seeds. Chop the beans.
      Place the beans and seeds in a jar.
      Barely cover the beans with Xylitol Syrup Base. (http://www.naturesflavors.com/product_i ... ts_id=5586)
      Soak beans in the liquid for 4-6 weeks.
      Run the beans and the liquid through a hand cranked poppy-seed grinder.

    The real question is where to purchase brown bottles that hold 4 ounces to a pint????

    Tim
    Last edited by Tim on April 7th, 2011, 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #28 - April 7th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Post #28 - April 7th, 2011, 12:38 pm Post #28 - April 7th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Tim wrote:The real question is where to purchase brown bottles that hold 4 ounces to a pint????

    Tim


    http://www.specialtybottle.com/index.as ... Kgod9X6sEA
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #29 - April 7th, 2011, 7:27 pm
    Post #29 - April 7th, 2011, 7:27 pm Post #29 - April 7th, 2011, 7:27 pm
    American Science & Surplus...though you'll have to make do with whatever's in stock that day.
  • Post #30 - April 7th, 2011, 10:40 pm
    Post #30 - April 7th, 2011, 10:40 pm Post #30 - April 7th, 2011, 10:40 pm
    Slight side tangent here. I found a recipe today that called for ground vanilla beans. I found some online, but does anyone know of a local source? Better yet, any idea how to make it myself?

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