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Bay Leaf Question

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Bill Spohn

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Bay Leaf Question

by Bill Spohn » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:31 pm

No, I don't mean Bayleaf's Irish Cream! I mean those pesky leaves you have to hunt for to try and take them out so they don't end up on someone's plate.

I have removed the main leaf rib and powdered the leaves in an old Braun coffee mill repurposed to use exclusively for spices (grinding spices in the same mill you use for coffee can result in interesting but not always good tasting coffee). If the leaves are quite dry (only those harvesting and drying their own need worry about this as store bought are always tinder dry) the powder is fairly fine and no removal chores before service is the pay off.

Do others ever do this, or are you all leaf-fisher outers?
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Carl Eppig » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:58 pm

I used to get powdered bay leaves in small quantites from Penseys', but alas they no longer provide it. Am currenty looking for another reputable source. I believe that a quarter teaspoon of fresh powdered bay does more for a dish that a whole one.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:28 pm

I like the whole leaves because they stay potent longer than the powdered version.
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Bill Spohn » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:37 pm

Jeff, I agree that any spice will stay fresher in large form and I'm not suggesting one keep powdered bay on hand, just that powdering it yourself is no big effort and gets excellent results, so I wonder why I rarely see any recipes doing anything but telling you to just chuck the whole leaves in and go fishing later.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:36 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Jeff, I agree that any spice will stay fresher in large form and I'm not suggesting one keep powdered bay on hand, just that powdering it yourself is no big effort and gets excellent results, so I wonder why I rarely see any recipes doing anything but telling you to just chuck the whole leaves in and go fishing later.

Your point is well-taken. Perhaps it is simply the case that electric spice grinders are still kinda new-fangled for recipe writers? (I see plenty of recipes call for a food processor and a few that call for an immersion blender but the rest of them call only for very traditional tooling.)
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:06 pm

Since a recipe usually calls for one or two at the most, It is simple to fish them out. You can tie them with a string and leave a short piece hanging out of the pot, or put it in cheese cloth. I have a bay leaf tree, so I just go out and pluck what I need. I also have a few in a glass jar that I dried for those wet and muddy days.
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Jenise » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:39 pm

I'm a convert to fresh bay leaves. Never considered it a problem to fish out a leaf!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Mark Lipton » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:05 pm

two words: bouquet garni :mrgreen:

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Bill Spohn

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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Bill Spohn » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:12 am

Jenise wrote:I'm a convert to fresh bay leaves. Never considered it a problem to fish out a leaf!



Yeah, but the amount of flavour you get is far more from freshly powdered than from chucking any number of whole leaves in there...
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Jenise » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:10 pm

You're not wrong about that, in dry ground vs. dry whole, but fresh has a unique and special flavor that I love. And I have an endless supply from my own tree.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Bill Spohn » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:11 pm

No question that is the way to go, but for those of us that are lacking a laurel bush...
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Re: Bay Leaf Question

by Jenise » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:18 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:No question that is the way to go, but for those of us that are lacking a laurel bush...


Not everyone likes fresh, though! David N., for instance, prefers dried.

In your case, you could always "borrow" a few from the Gav bush. That spindly thing in their driveway?--that's bay laurel. Rob must be caring for it though, as I noticed last month that it's not nearly as spindly as it has been in the past. Someone who cares has been pruning it right.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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