alcohol free vanilla
Posted: 19 September 2011 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Dear all

Does anyone do alcohol-free baking, and what do you use for vanilla extract?  Do you use alcohol-free vanilla for the buttercream?

I am scheduled to do a baking demo for some friends next month, and some are Muslim and cannot take alcohol.  I am wondering if I should go to the trouble of getting some alcohol-free vanillla extract, or just use some of the cheap artificial stuff we have available here.  Since it’s a one-off demo, I’m kind of leaning to the latter, but just wondering if anyone’s had good results for the buttercream (specifically mousseline) with alcohol-free vanilla or artificial stuff. 

I was thinking of doing a lemon or otherwise flavoured buttercream so I won’t be relying completely on the vanilla flavour for the buttercream.  But it also means I can’t finish off the mousseline with some sort of liqueur either - I normally use flavoured vodka or vanilla-infused cognac.  Since it’s a demo obviously I want to make sure everyone is impressed with the mousseline buttercream as well!

Anyone have any opinions?

Thanks in advance!

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Posted: 19 September 2011 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I never use alcohol in baking. Normally for vanilla, I buy the cheap extract and add lots of vanilla beans to the bottle. Since I buy a big bottle, there aren’t any problems with the beans being too big/long. This way I avoid the alcohol and still get a nice vanilla flavor.

It flavors the mousseline nicely. I don’t add any alcohol to mousseLine either. As it always so hot here, I want the mousseline to be on the stiff side anyway. The citrus or passionfruit curd or the fruit purees don’t soften it too much. I LOVE the lemon mousseline!

P/S It’s nice to be back after a long absence. Everyone is as friendly and helpful as ever! Now off to read up on old posts - I have 18 months of catching up to do!

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Posted: 19 September 2011 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Have you thought of just using vanilla beans?  The specs are very pretty, but maybe your clients don’t want to see them?

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Posted: 19 September 2011 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Little Island, how about white chocolate mousseline?  It’s very tasty, even better than vanilla, although it tastes best with good chocolate and that can be pricey if you’re looking to keep costs down.

Shimi, welcome back! smile

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Posted: 19 September 2011 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I would lean toward the vanilla beans. You have time to make some vanilla sugar. Just put some beans in a sealed container with about a cup of sugar. I do this with beans I have used to flavor sauces etc. The beans have a lot of life left in them.

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Posted: 19 September 2011 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Also, if the liquid the cake calls for can be heated (water, milk, whatever) you can bring it to a boil, put the vanilla bean(s) in it, cover it to prevent evaporation and then cool to room temp.  If you want the beans, scrape them out.  If not, it will still have a lot of flavor from the steeping.

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Posted: 19 September 2011 11:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks for the advice everyone, and especially Shimi - welcome back!  - it’s not the cake so much as the mousseline, that I am glad to know will not really suffer too much from being sans alcohol.  I think I will try Shimi’s method of adding a vanilla bean to some artificial vanilla “extract” (the fake stuff is labelled “vanilla essence”), and probably do a lemon or passionfruit version, and for the actual cupcakes, will boost the vanilla with ground vanilla, which I have (I had forgotten about that!)

Since this is a demo for friends who have requested it of me, rather than their attending some highly overpriced classes, I don’t want to go to too much extra expense for sourcing stuff grin

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Posted: 20 September 2011 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi shimi!

I am new at the blog, but I love the alternative you gave to use cheap vainilla flavoring and add vainilla beans. As I have 3 pods here, and also a cheap flavoring, can you (or anyone) detail to me how to do it? Do I have to open and scrape them, or just throw them in the flavouring? No risk of getting any molds or bacterias?

Thank you so much!

Alva

shimi - 19 September 2011 10:30 AM

I never use alcohol in baking. Normally for vanilla, I buy the cheap extract and add lots of vanilla beans to the bottle. Since I buy a big bottle, there aren’t any problems with the beans being too big/long. This way I avoid the alcohol and still get a nice vanilla flavor.

It flavors the mousseline nicely. I don’t add any alcohol to mousseLine either. As it always so hot here, I want the mousseline to be on the stiff side anyway. The citrus or passionfruit curd or the fruit purees don’t soften it too much. I LOVE the lemon mousseline!

P/S It’s nice to be back after a long absence. Everyone is as friendly and helpful as ever! Now off to read up on old posts - I have 18 months of catching up to do!

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Posted: 21 September 2011 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi Alva,

I usually buy a very large bottle of vanilla essence (about 1 liter) and add roughly 8-10 vanilla beans. I split some and leave the rest whole. No need to scrape the seeds as they eventually get into the liquid themselves. Just give the bottle a good shake every now and then to dislodge the seeds. When I’ve used up about 3/4 of the bottle I buy a new one and transfer the beans from the old bottle. I take out the split beans, split some of the remaining ones and add some new beans. The old ones don’t go to waste as I rinse and dry them thoroughly, then toss them in a container of sugar. So far there have been no problems with mold, but the bottle usually only lasts about 4 months for me. I don’t know how longer storage will affect it.

Thanks for the welcome! And welcome to the forum Alva!

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Posted: 21 September 2011 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hi again, Shimi:

I really appreciate your reply. I am really grateful on your idea, because here where I live is very difficult to find a real vainilla extract. I will try your idea, and I know will be just great! One more thing…you keep it room temp, or keep it in the fridge?

Thank you for the welcoming! I’been baking at home for 1 year now, and I feel i want to improve and go a bit beyond what I’ve done now. I am experimenting with bread as well, but my second attempt to frech bread is just a dissaster! hard as a rock, and I think is because I have not used bread flour, and also, a lack of a more accurate recipe hmmm .

Thank you again, and God bless!

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Posted: 21 September 2011 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I just keep it at room temperature. But if you are storing it for a really long time, it might be safer to keep it in the fridge because the flavoring doesn’t have any alcohol to help preserve it.

If your bottle is a lot smaller, just cut up the beans to fit, as not everyone buys liter bottles of vanilla smile

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Posted: 22 September 2011 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thank you a lot!!
grin God bless!!

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