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Bay leaf

What's the point of it? Does it really add much flavor?

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by Anonymousreply 10111 hours ago

i wonder this too.

by Anonymousreply 1Last Saturday at 2:25 PM

Yes, it does ... very subtle

by Anonymousreply 2Last Saturday at 2:27 PM

Mild umami for white people.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Saturday at 2:27 PM

Scam spice. Spice scam. Adds nothing. Who started this bullshit?

by Anonymousreply 4Last Saturday at 2:27 PM

So they say

by Anonymousreply 5Last Saturday at 2:28 PM

i have also wondered about this, but always add them in when called for, At least now i wrap them in gauze packets (what;s the term in French) to easily fish them out

by Anonymousreply 6Last Saturday at 2:28 PM

You're doing it wrong, OP. You're supposed to chew on it like coca leaves, and then it becomes mildly hallucinogenic.

by Anonymousreply 7Last Saturday at 2:30 PM

I always use it - don't know how it can be so effective. I don't like adding garlic to everything either, I do fine without it and I do fine without home made stock, good quality cubes are fine.

by Anonymousreply 8Last Saturday at 2:30 PM

I can tell in my spaghetti sauce when it is left out. I have planted out just in case I need one, no dried crap for me.

by Anonymousreply 9Last Saturday at 2:30 PM

Let Bon Appetit's Alex give the details.

The Illuminati. The Loch Ness Monster. Bay leaves. All phenomena that inspire controversy and skepticism. And while we can’t speak to the existence of Nessie or secret societies hell bent on controlling world events (if you are real, please contact us.), we can most certainly say this: Bay leaves are 100% legit.

There are a lot of haters out there who think that bay leaves are pointless, a flavorless addition to soups and sauces. And those people are wrong. Bay leaves have flavor. We promise.

Sure: If you smell a dried bay leaf, you might not get as much aroma as you would with a pinch of dried basil or thyme. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t flavor there. When the herb is infused into water, broth, or another cooking liquid, an almost minty flavor (somewhere between spearmint and menthol) develops, with subtle hints of black pepper and Christmas tree pine. They add a subtle bitterness that keeps heavy soups and stews from being so, well, heavy. Are you going to be able to pick that flavor out of all the other complex flavors present in a bite of beef stew? Probably not. But would you miss it if it wasn't there? Yes. While the flavor of things like chiles, dried spices, and browned meat shout, the flavor of the bay leaf whispers. Listen for a change, why don't you! Image may contain Dish Food Meal and Plant

That said, not all bay leaves are created equally. Fresh bay leaves, which you can sometimes find in the produce section of the grocery store alongside the other fresh herbs, are going to be a lot more pungent than the dried ones you'll find in the aisle with all the spices. And the dried ones you'll find at the store are probably going to be a whole lot more flavorful than the five-year-old ones that are kicking around in your spice drawer. The moral of this story? If a recipe calls for dried bay leaves, and you happen upon some freshies, you can use fewer of them and get the same impact. That, and if you can't remember when you bought the jar you have at home right now, go ahead and throw those guys out and buy some new ones—they aren't going to taste like much, and we don't need them giving the elegant bay leaf a bad name.

People are stubborn. We are too. If you still have your doubts, take some (not ancient) bay leaves and boil them in a bit of water. Let the water cool, remove the bay leaves, and take a sip of that brew. You’ll get that bay leaf flavor. And guess what. That flavor doesn’t go away when the water changes to stock or broth. Just because you can’t see the foundation of a building, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Same goes for bay leaves. But don’t try to build a skyscraper on a foundation of herbs. That won’t work. Now that you're a believer, let's make some chicken adobo:

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by Anonymousreply 10Last Saturday at 2:31 PM

Not that subtle if you use too much.

by Anonymousreply 11Last Saturday at 2:31 PM

Yes. It's lovely.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Saturday at 2:31 PM

They are better fresh, I have a big 20 year old Bay tree in my garden.

by Anonymousreply 13Last Saturday at 2:32 PM

Op must have never used bay leaf.

by Anonymousreply 14Last Saturday at 2:32 PM

Grew a plant this summer. The fresh leaves smell great and are actually nice in sweets and drinks.

by Anonymousreply 15Last Saturday at 2:36 PM

If you have a decent sized tree there is no need to dry them (unlike Basil etc) as they can survive anything.

by Anonymousreply 16Last Saturday at 2:37 PM

Bay trees are originally from the Mediterranean so unless you are too, you better not use them because that would be culinary cultural appropriation.

by Anonymousreply 17Last Saturday at 2:38 PM

[quote]At least now i wrap them in gauze packets (what;s the term in French)

bouquet garni

by Anonymousreply 18Last Saturday at 2:39 PM

There are bay laurel trees all over Southern California in parks and yards and lining streets, so it amuses me to see locals buying bay leaves in tins at the supermarket. When I asked a neighbor why she had bay leaves in a McCormick tin, she said she likes having them on hand. I pointed out that there was a large bay laurel tree in another neighbor's front yard, and that when I needed bay leaves I'd just go over and grab a few from that tree. She had no idea.

by Anonymousreply 19Last Saturday at 2:40 PM

They have a dull somewhat bitter taste that works in spicy dishes like chili or spaghetti sauce. One bay leaf works, two is too much.

by Anonymousreply 20Last Saturday at 2:42 PM

I just did a one pot stew with lamb, potatoes, carrots, green beans, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, white wine and a bay leave.


by Anonymousreply 21Last Saturday at 2:43 PM

it does add some flavor but it exudes a chemical that helps us digest fat as well

by Anonymousreply 22Last Saturday at 2:45 PM

You're eating my HAIR!

by Anonymousreply 23Last Saturday at 2:45 PM

Very nice in any stew.

by Anonymousreply 24Last Saturday at 2:45 PM


well you ran away like a bitch... you deserve it

by Anonymousreply 25Last Saturday at 2:46 PM

R6 R18 a bouquet garni is a bundle tied together with string, where as a sachet d’espices are herbs and aromatics put inside a cheesecloth.

by Anonymousreply 26Last Saturday at 2:46 PM

For many cooks, it's the most adventurous herb they'll ever use.

by Anonymousreply 27Last Saturday at 2:47 PM

R20 Dried and Fresh taste pretty different, you need at least 2 fresh to replace 1 dried, fresh also don't have the 'dull' taste.

by Anonymousreply 28Last Saturday at 2:48 PM

R27 Yes! I started with bay leaf and graduated to basil, oregano and parsley. I was a babe in the, garden.

by Anonymousreply 29Last Saturday at 2:51 PM

r15, what plant did you grow? I thought they were from trees and would very much like to grow a plant of them! tia

by Anonymousreply 30Last Saturday at 2:51 PM

It's not hard to grow.

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by Anonymousreply 31Last Saturday at 2:55 PM

It was one of my grandmother's favorite herbs. She told me that when she was growing up in Italy, there was a huge potted bay tree that flanked the gate to the courtyard on their property(there was a corresponding pot of rosemary on the opposite side)

As noted above bay is a subtle spice, and takes long cooking, or cooking with an acid, to bring out the flavor. Penzeys used to offer ground bay leaves for sale, but the last time I looked it was missing from their catalogue. Bay releases its flavor readily in long-cooked or fairly liquid dishes: gravies, soups, stews, béchamel sauce, when cooking rice, etc. Good with baked fish, especially if tomatoes are present, or if vinegar is one of the ingredients in the dish.

I remember it being used in a recipe for poundcake, not added to the batter, but a few placed on the bottom of the baking pan(before the batter is poured in), so as to perfume the cake as it bakes( this can also be done with rose geranium or lemon geranium leaves) I believe they were also used in rice pudding.

r26 You can also wrap up the spices and herbs in some leek leaves, just make sure to securely tie them with kitchen twine. A little extra added flavor that way.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Saturday at 3:01 PM

I'm very disappointed in you, OP. And even moreso in the philistine who never adds garlic.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Saturday at 3:01 PM

Ah, yes. "White people chili-pepper"

by Anonymousreply 34Last Saturday at 3:04 PM

I grew my 10ft high and 4ft wide Bay from a 4' inch cutting from a neighbour. I live in Manchester UK, which is the same latitude as Alberta in Canada (though admittedly it never gets much below 24f here in Winter).

by Anonymousreply 35Last Saturday at 3:05 PM

I started a basil plant thread. Now I feel awful. Sorry, OP. I wasn't thinking properly. Anyway more people are responding to bay leaf.

by Anonymousreply 36Last Saturday at 3:06 PM

Its aroma and oils helped hide the flavor and aroma of meat that wasn't exactly fresh. It's added to a lot of stews and soups because it gives those dishes a "bottom," as it were. It's a background flavor and it's slightly menthol flavor enhances big flavors like carrots, onions, garlic, etc.

Back in the old days if you found the bay leaf in your bowl of soup at a restaurant you got to kiss the chef. Funny tradition as bay leaves should always be taken out before serving. Those sharp edges can do some damage.

by Anonymousreply 37Last Saturday at 3:13 PM

^^its slightly menthol^^

by Anonymousreply 38Last Saturday at 3:14 PM

R36 Too much mint or Rosemary can make food taste like soap. I grow about 20 herbs.

I should have added to R35 that mine is at the shadiest position in the garden and I haven't encountered a problem with over watering (it rains 150+ days a year in Manchester). It gets a little Grow-more over the summer (when we have any) and I have cut it back twice a year with hedge trimmers. Other than that I ignore it.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Saturday at 3:29 PM

[quote] [R36] Too much mint or Rosemary can make food taste like soap.

That is definitely also true of lavender.

by Anonymousreply 40Last Saturday at 3:34 PM

Bay leaf in marinara, and other tomato based stews, is an essential ingredient. however, it is an ingredient that needs time to release it's flavor, as others have said. i wouldn't consider making marinara without it.

by Anonymousreply 41Last Saturday at 3:35 PM

or stews or pea soup.

by Anonymousreply 42Last Saturday at 3:43 PM

Used it in beef stew. It has a nice aroma but it leaves a bitter aftertaste.

by Anonymousreply 43Last Saturday at 3:43 PM

R3 is the closet racist here. Never misses a chance to shit on people.

by Anonymousreply 44Last Saturday at 3:56 PM


by Anonymousreply 45Last Saturday at 4:03 PM

R43 Dried - Slightly Bitter use less. Fresh - No Bitterness, you may need more to add flavour.

by Anonymousreply 46Last Saturday at 4:03 PM

I went from basil to bay leaf to HEROIN!

by Anonymousreply 47Last Saturday at 4:12 PM

r47 Consider yourself lucky, at least your head didn't wind up in a pot of basil.

by Anonymousreply 48Last Saturday at 4:22 PM

My mother always used bay leaves in sauces and pot roasts. I love the aroma. I hike where there are bay trees and sometimes nab a few leaves for roasts.

by Anonymousreply 49Last Saturday at 4:30 PM

I am ordering a bay laurel plant because of this thread

by Anonymousreply 50Last Saturday at 4:43 PM

I use them for petitions. I write my wishes/intentions on them before burning.

by Anonymousreply 51Last Saturday at 4:44 PM

R41 You should make any tomato based sauce 24 hours in advance and leave the bay in to infuse.

Even more true with the Indian (Bangladeshi) curries that we all eat.

by Anonymousreply 52Last Saturday at 5:08 PM

R52, that is 10000% true.

Always better the next day.. always better the next day.. always always.

by Anonymousreply 53Last Saturday at 5:13 PM

This thread gets my vote for most boring thread.

Someone throw a bay leaf in here. Might make it more flavorful.

by Anonymousreply 54Last Saturday at 5:14 PM

For those in northern climates, Bay is easy to grow in a very sunny window. It grows fairly fast, too.

by Anonymousreply 55Last Saturday at 5:15 PM

I use it in soups, stews and chili that require a long, slow simmer. My Mom taught me to cook with it, and I definitely notice it if I forget it and leave it out. It's not really winter-hardy where I live (Midwest), so I just buy the packaged, dried leaves for cooking. The classic bay tree (Laurus nobilis) is native to the Mediterranean region, while the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica) is native to the Western US, and is supposed to be stronger-flavored than the classic species.

by Anonymousreply 56Last Saturday at 5:19 PM

Those claiming that fresh bay leaves are far superior to the dried variety are absolutely correct. I can usually find fresh leaves at Whole Foods and they make a world of difference in Christ God dammit Jesus fucking whores

by Anonymousreply 57Last Saturday at 5:27 PM

Mike—you okay, guy?

by Anonymousreply 58Last Saturday at 5:29 PM

Okay, MikeinAustin.

I grow it in California and I'm sure it's the regular California kind but I'd like to try growing the Mediterranean variety. This part of California is right for it.

by Anonymousreply 59Last Saturday at 5:31 PM

u write ur wish on it then burn it and then wish come true

by Anonymousreply 60Last Saturday at 5:32 PM

Isn't there a native bay?

by Anonymousreply 61Last Saturday at 5:40 PM

r61 — I'm not sure. The ones we have all over Southern California I've just heard called bay laurels. I'm not sure where they're originally from, although coastal SoCal has a Mediterranean climate, so I wouldn't be surprised if they came from that region.

by Anonymousreply 62Last Saturday at 5:46 PM

It's a must for chicken soup. Subtle note underlying the flavors of chicken and onion.

by Anonymousreply 63Last Saturday at 5:50 PM

I viewed it as a passive aggressive sociopath cook trick.

Now i have to invest in cheesecloth. I always picture the stem puncturing the back of my throat and just sticking there while some moron says,”Don’t bite down!”

by Anonymousreply 64Last Saturday at 5:54 PM

Just throw it in and fish it out later. It won't disintegrate. It's big enough to easily find.

by Anonymousreply 65Last Saturday at 5:56 PM

R57 how do I add bay leaves to Christ God dammit Jesus fucking whores? Julia Child always greased the Pope's nose to insert.

by Anonymousreply 66Last Saturday at 5:58 PM

If eaten whole, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. As with many spices and flavourings, the fragrance of the bay leaf is more noticeable than its taste. When dried, the fragrance is herbal, slightly floral, and somewhat similar to oregano and thyme. Myrcene, which is a component of many essential oils used in perfumery, can be extracted from the bay leaf.

by Anonymousreply 67Last Saturday at 6:01 PM

I prefer it dried, the fragance is more sutil and the taste is less bitter and minty.

by Anonymousreply 68Last Saturday at 6:34 PM

Any real cooks here?

The California bay trees are a different species than the Mediterranean bays.

I’ve heard cooks say the native trees are more pungent and to use less.

by Anonymousreply 69Last Saturday at 6:50 PM


[quote] the fragance is more sutil and the taste is less bitter and minty.

Oh dear.

by Anonymousreply 70Last Saturday at 6:51 PM

It is used in Asian cooking, so not a white people spice. Good for fevers too. My mother’s remedy for a fever was to boil herbs in a huge pot of water, then put it under the bed, mattress removed. We kids would sit over the wooden slats of the bed frame, with a towel over our heads and breathe in the steam coming from the pot. I remember the wonderful aroma, mostly of bay leaves, was such a balm to my congested nose and achy body.

by Anonymousreply 71Last Saturday at 7:03 PM

R71, it’s not a WHITE PEOPLE HERB?

by Anonymousreply 72Last Saturday at 7:45 PM

Is it karmically legal though, to write a wish on a bayleaf and burn it? Are you not hacking the will of the universe.

Not spiritual or religious, just always been curious about things like that.

by Anonymousreply 73Last Saturday at 8:00 PM

If the universe isn't into your bayleaf wish, the universe will say no.

by Anonymousreply 74Last Saturday at 8:26 PM

R9 Your presence is request in the thread below.

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by Anonymousreply 75Last Saturday at 8:30 PM

Bay trees grow great in the ground to zone 8 if anybody is wondering. And basil is useless to me dried, it loses it's flavor. But you can strip the leaves and lay out on a cookie sheet and freeze, it looks like shit but still has the flavor, take it out frozen and throw it in after it's off the heat.

by Anonymousreply 76Last Saturday at 8:33 PM

R74, then what's the point?

by Anonymousreply 77Last Saturday at 8:37 PM

I don't know, R77, I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask.

by Anonymousreply 78Last Saturday at 8:52 PM

Now here’s something I didn’t know—bay leaf differences explained.

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by Anonymousreply 79Last Saturday at 8:59 PM

I often throw a couple of bay leaves into a pot of rice. The flavour is subtle, but delicious.

by Anonymousreply 80Last Saturday at 11:44 PM

It's time for a little bay leaf education.

REAL bay leaves ONLY grow in southern Italy, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. This is a block of countries in the north eastern Mediterranean area.

What is being sold as bay leaves in the USA are FAKE. They only LOOK like bay leaves.

Go on eBay and order your bay leaves from one of the four countries listed above.

You will have to wait as shipping can take up to 2 months.

I order mine from a seller in Albania. I would go with Albania as they grow in ALL of Albania, whereas they grow in parts of Italy and the other countries.

by Anonymousreply 81Last Sunday at 4:15 AM

No wonder the bay leaves I buy at the supermarket in California taste like nothing. I will be ordering from an Albanian eBay seller if I can find them on eBay, now that I know that the real thing only comes from the Mediterranean.

by Anonymousreply 82Last Sunday at 5:56 AM

Yes, agreed on that one.

by Anonymousreply 83Last Sunday at 5:57 AM

My college roommate’s mother used to make sure he got a bay leaf in his serving whenever she was upset with him.

by Anonymousreply 84Last Sunday at 6:00 AM

[quote]I don't like adding garlic to everything either

You are a dreadful cook.

by Anonymousreply 85Last Sunday at 6:13 AM

[quote]REAL bay leaves ONLY grow in southern Italy, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. This is a block of countries in the north eastern Mediterranean area.

Yes, and Italy is NOTORIOUS for accurately labeling food.

by Anonymousreply 86Last Sunday at 6:14 AM

[quote] REAL bay leaves ONLY grow in southern Italy, Albania, Greece, and Turkey.

Pretty much anything that grows in that region can grow in California.

by Anonymousreply 87Last Sunday at 6:18 AM

The scientific name for real bay leaves is "Laurus nobilis".

In "Italy" ONLY real bay leaves grow, so there is no "labeling problem".

In California real bay leaves MAY grow, BUT the the fake ones do also!

by Anonymousreply 88Last Sunday at 7:09 AM

Laurus nobilis grows all over Europe, in terms of getting large plants to grow outside (and survive) The British Isles are about as far north as you can go because of our weird weather patterns (Gulf Stream etc). They grow more slowly here because of the much reduced daylight in Winter (sunrise 8am - sunset 3:30pm).

You can even grow Australian plants in England because we don't get sustained periods of freezing weather.

by Anonymousreply 89Last Sunday at 7:22 AM

I'm still trying to figure out what fake bay is, the dried ones smell like bay to me but only weaker.

On the same subject kind of, I now have read that most avocado oil is not genuine just like the olive oil. The tested several brands and two had NO avocado oil at all! Crooks and grifters everywhere. We're going back to California Olive Ranch for sauteeing, should have stuck with the good if more expensive in the first place.

by Anonymousreply 90Last Sunday at 7:44 AM

The worst oil for being fake is Argan Oil which is used in cosmetics. It only grows in Morocco and current estimates are the 10,000 times more is sold than is produced.

by Anonymousreply 91Last Sunday at 8:09 AM

Crooks and liars everywhere, and California garlic is not always from California

The biggest importer of Chinese garlic is the California garlic growers association Hundreds of tons a year The chairman whined "sometimes we run out" So that CA garlic very likely is from China Just label it dammit.

by Anonymousreply 92Last Sunday at 8:58 AM

I've been eating California-grown bay leaves my entire life, and have no complaints with them whatsoever. I have this feeling that the Mediterranean bay leaf purists are the same people who think they can actually tell a finely chopped courgette from a minced pickle in a recipe. I see no difference at all. I've been served food containing bay leaves in both Greece and Italy, and to me, the bay flavor is pretty much identical to that that I get from local SoCal bay leaves.

by Anonymousreply 93Last Sunday at 9:47 AM

From what I've read you just need to add one or two more leaves of the Californian variety to achieve the same taste..

by Anonymousreply 94Last Monday at 5:13 PM

This thread will be better the next day.

by Anonymousreply 95Last Monday at 5:22 PM

Oh FFS. The bay leaves in mediterranean cooking have veins that run outward from the center of the leaf.

The Indian bay leaves have veins which run up and down parallel to the central vein.

That's how you tell the difference. Use the ones with the veins that come out from the center for euro stuff and ones that have veins that run the length of the leaf for asian stuff unless it's filipino food in which case you use the euro kind.

by Anonymousreply 96Last Monday at 6:51 PM

Oh FFS, you’ve added a dozen new rules, Fucko @ R96. Helpful, so thank you. Cunt.

by Anonymousreply 97Last Monday at 7:50 PM

Lick my asshole, OP.

by Anonymousreply 98Last Monday at 8:12 PM

Bay leaf is great for getting rid of ants. If you have ants in the house, just lay a bay leaf in the area and - poof- they're gone.

by Anonymousreply 99Last Tuesday at 3:35 AM

R96 who the hell mentioned indian bay leaf? Go take your meds asswipe, ffs.

by Anonymousreply 100Last Tuesday at 4:19 AM

[quote]It is used in Asian cooking, so not a white people spice.

This racist fucktard mentioned it, mongoloid R100.

Unless he's talking about the bay leaf appropriated by the Philippines, which is in fact a "white people HERB".

by Anonymousreply 10111 hours ago
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