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Old 03-15-2017, 02:50 PM   #1
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Do you cook with Bay?

I cam across this interesting article about bay leaves.. Do Bay Leaves Even Do Anything?

and have to say that it sounded like a page from my cookbook...
The take away was that fresh bay leaves are the way to go (if you are going to use bay). Does anyone use fresh bay leaves? I'm not sure I've ever seen them except on holiday wreaths....

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Old 03-15-2017, 03:16 PM   #2
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Hard do find in Sweden so I go for dry and yes I notice when I forget to add it. Some curries just fall flat without bay leaf and beef stews and boiling sausages..
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:29 PM   #3
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I also notice when it is not in there.
I use fresh leaves in the summer/ fall when I have it readily available, and the dry at other times. I find the fresh tastes different than the dry. Not necessarily better, just a different taste. Im not sure if its because its fresh, or if its because maybe its a different variety that is used.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:35 PM   #4
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I have a bay tree - it's growing like a shrub now lol - so I use bay leaves frequently. I like them dried rather than fresh; like other woody herbs, drying intensifies the flavor. I cut a few stems every fall to replenish the jar I keep in the kitchen. I agree that they add a subtle but noticeable flavor.

I have a recipe for chicken enchiladas that starts with poaching chicken breasts in water with salt and bay leaves. They get a wonderful flavor that permeates the dish.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I have a bay tree - it's growing like a shrub now lol - so I use bay leaves frequently. I like them dried rather than fresh; like other woody herbs, drying intensifies the flavor. I cut a few stems every fall to replenish the jar I keep in the kitchen. I agree that they add a subtle but noticeable flavor.

I have a recipe for chicken enchiladas that starts with poaching chicken breasts in water with salt and bay leaves. They get a wonderful flavor that permeates the dish.
I like them better dried too. fresh bay can be bitter
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:12 PM   #6
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I use dry bay leaves. They're good in stews and braises.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:30 PM   #7
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Oh dear, remind me not to cook with Bay during the next full moon. "In addition to being shrouded in mystery, these leaves also have a bit of a reputation as trouble makers. Not only do they cause severe mental distress to a certain subset of the population..."

I once bought a pkg of fresh bay leaves at the store, paid an arm and half a leg. Couldn't tell any difference in whatever I cooked. Dried the remainder of the package for future uses, so that part worked out.

I use bay leaves in lots of things, pot roasts, soups, tomatoey sauces, chilli, etc. I like seeing the leaves in the sauce, makes whatever look better. I try to use whole leaves. I feel the magic is lost if the leaves are broken.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:16 PM   #8
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I've never seen or cooked with fresh bay leaves, but I sure do love dried in soups and stews. I bought a bag of dried Turkish bay leaves from Penzeys a year or so ago and there were so many that I gave half of them to my daughter. I love the flavor of bay leaves in a long simmering dish.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:49 PM   #9
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Kenji, from Serious Eats has some interesting info on bay leaves.

Ask the Food Lab: What's the Point of Bay Leaves? | Serious Eats
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:10 PM   #10
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Good article, Kay. I've never cooked with fresh bay leaves. If I had a laurel, I'd probably dry the leaves, or make a crown out of the branches (Hail Caeserdawg!). I have a jar of elderly Penzys bay leaves that's still going strong. I use the leaves in stews, soups, etc.

One of our fave Mexican restaurant chefs, classically trained in Spain, leaves his bay leaves in the finished dishes. I did mention that they can be a choking hazard. He'd never heard of taking them out (!!)
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