Monday, December 21, 2015

A Baker’s Guide to Tahitian Vanilla

Bakers have dozens of choices, which vanilla is right for your recipe?

When flavoring your baked creations with vanilla, you could use a bean, extract, powder, or paste. You could use vanilla sugar, salt, syrup, or infusions as well. With so many choices, what is a baker to do?

Many professional pastry chefs, as well as home bakers, swear by using the real thing: vanilla seeds scraped from a fresh Tahitian Vanilla Bean. The trick is finding vanilla bean pods that are not dried out. Plump, shiny beans are much easier to split and will yield more seeds. In addition to the wonderful aroma and flavor, vanilla beans have the added bonus of the beautiful visual effect of thousands of minuscule vanilla seeds no bigger than a tiny speck.

When flavoring wet ingredients, Tahitian Vanilla Extract is the thing to use. The big plus with extract is that it is widely available. As with most things, you get what you pay for. Avoid cheap vanilla, which is not single origin, as it often has added sugars or sweeteners and leaves a metallic aftertaste. In some places, cheap vanilla extract is made with a toxic substance called coumarin, or it could contain castoreum from the scent glands of beaver derrières (really, no joke!). Neither is very appetizing. Tip: Make sure the products you buy are FDA approved (ours is!).

When adding vanilla to dry ingredients, ground Tahitian Vanilla Bean Powder works great. We freeze-dry whole beans, then grind them to a fine powder. So you get the flavorful pod as well as the seeds all in one powder. Be sure to read labels carefully, many brands sell what looks like it might be powder but include sugars that could unknowingly alter your recipe.

Triple Strength Tahitian Vanilla Bean Paste is our newest product and offers the best of all worlds. We take our pure triple strength vanilla extract and add vanilla bean seeds for a stunning visual effect. A little bit of this rich, creamy paste will go a long way, and it's very convenient—especially if you’re not comfortable splitting a vanilla bean, don’t have plans to use the spent vanilla bean pod, or are short on time.

A note on Vanilla From Tahiti’s products:
All of our products contain pure, 100% natural Tahitian vanilla. We never use artificial color, flavors or preservatives. Most importantly, we do not add sugars or sweeteners. If you want to avoid sugar, gluten, or grains, we’ve got you covered. Check out our labels and compare the ingredients with our competitors.

But the real reason to choose Tahitian vanilla is for the heady floral aroma and flavors. The most common descriptors for Tahitian vanilla are: floral, fruity, chocolate, cherry, aromatic and complex. This is what distinguishes Tahitian vanilla from other vanilla. This is what will distinguish your desserts as well.

Still can't decide? Try a Tahitian vanilla sampler of 2 beans, 2 oz of extract and 7 g of ground powder in one convenient package.

Bake with love. Bake with Vanilla From Tahiti.
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Related articles:
How to split a Tahitian vanilla bean
What is pure Tahitian vanilla extract?
Vanilla From Tahiti grain-free vanilla extract is allergy-free and safe.
15 things to do with spent vanilla bean pods
Ground Tahitian vanilla beans have a smooth complex taste that is more flavorful than extract
How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Salt or Sugar
How to make Tahitian Vanilla Syrup

How To Make Tahitian Vanilla Honey

Substitute any of the following for each other with confidence:
  • 2 inches Tahitian of a vanilla bean 
  • 1 tablespoon Tahitian vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Tahitian vanilla bean powder