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Old 01-13-2008, 01:05 AM   #1
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How long does it take to dissolve saffron threads in milk?

I'm trying to follow an Indian recipe for Lucknow Mixed Vegetable Biryani (Indian) from the Cookbook "The Dance of Spices: Classic Indian Cooking For Today's Home Kitchen" (A GREAT cookbook BTW!).

The last step is to dissolve 1/4 tsp saffron threads in 2 Tbsp warm milk. I've only used saffron once before many, many years ago but it was saffron powder. So I bought some saffron threads from the Indian market and put 2 Tbsp milk in a tiny little bowl. I've been trying for about 30 minutes to dissolve the threads, nuking it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time every time it cools, stirring constantly, but they just won't dissolve. Not all of them anyway. The milk is turning a nice golden yellow, but they won't dissolve completely.

Are they not supposed to dissolve completely? Did I buy some low quality saffron threads or something? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,
Skye.

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Old 01-13-2008, 01:41 AM   #2
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Ok, so it was a silly question! It sure was a surprise and a royal pain in the .... you know what ... though! They finally all dissolved but it took over an hour (about 1 hour 10 minutes I think) and I constantly stirred them and nuked them every few minutes for 10 - 15 seconds to keep the milk warm. Sheees! There's got to be a better way! Maybe I could let them sit in lukewarm milk all day or something? Anybody have any ideas? Anybody care? Maybe I could substitute saffron powder?

Sincerely,
Skye.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:56 AM   #3
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I think it might have been easier to dissolve the saffron if you had heated the milk in a pan. Not sure why, but I have not had that problem. I've never used the microwave with saffron.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
I think it might have been easier to dissolve the saffron if you had heated the milk in a pan. Not sure why, but I have not had that problem. I've never used the microwave with saffron.
When you dissolve it, do you heat the milk to boiling? Or close to it? It seems like 2 Tbsp is too small an amount to heat in a pan. Maybe I should make a little extra and save it for later? I don't suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that I live at high altitude where the boiling point of water is lower?

About how long does it take you to dissolve the saffron?

Thanks for the reply!

Skye.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:19 AM   #5
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the saffron itself Doesn`t dissolve, all that happens is that the Color leeches out, you`re still left with the particulate matter though.

even if you Boiled it such as in a rice dish, you still have saffron bits left :)
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:06 AM   #6
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YT is right, the threads don't dissolve. You soak them to extract their flavor and color. It's like putting a tea bag into hot water. You get the flavor without dissolving the tea.

Next time, heat the liquid and stir in the saffron. Let it steep for no more than 30 minutes and you are all set.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skydancer View Post
When you dissolve it, do you heat the milk to boiling? Or close to it? It seems like 2 Tbsp is too small an amount to heat in a pan. Maybe I should make a little extra and save it for later? I don't suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that I live at high altitude where the boiling point of water is lower?

About how long does it take you to dissolve the saffron?

Thanks for the reply!

Skye.
You don't need to boil the milk, you just need to heat it to say, 170 F, then remove it from the heat and let it steep. It will take some time for the color from the saffron to leech out so this is something that you would do in the very beginning, and then prep everything else while you're waiting for the proper color to come out.
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Old 01-13-2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies!

After over an hour it did actually dissolve most of the threads though there was still some particulate matter left over.

It sounds like I don't need to go that far though, so next time I'll take you guys' advice.

Thanks again!
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