Rodelle Baker’s Extract

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With the price of vanilla likely to get much higher before it gets lower, the market has responded in some interesting ways. Many retailers and food manufacturers will have no other option than turn to an imitation vanilla or another alternative to flavor their products and meet consumer demand. Imitation vanilla is very common, and was the number one alternative to pure vanilla extract 13 years ago when a tropical storm destroyed half the vanilla crop. Unlike its natural counterpart, imitation vanilla is easily derived from multiple resources – including petroleum and clove oil. Imitation vanilla extract will give you the initial hints of vanilla flavor that you are used to, but it won’t have the robust, intricate, well-rounded flavor that is really needed to make simple recipes (like french toast, ice cream, and vanilla cookies) shine. Furthermore, since more and more consumers are active label-readers, imitation vanilla has fallen out of favor.

We’ve seen a number of factors at play in the vanilla market and we summarized our initial thoughts and plans for the 2017 vanilla market in this report. Then, in early March, we heard about Tropical Cyclone Enawo. It became clear that Enawo would definitely make land fall on Madagascar in early March and we made the necessary precautions to make sure our team on the ground was safe and bracing for the storm. We have summarized all of the effects of Enawo and the state of the vanilla market on our website. As we help with the humanitarian efforts on clean up and recovery, we’re also looking into what we can do to help weather the ongoing, worsening storm of price increases that are impending.

With Rodelle’s high commitment to quality and natural products, we’re introducing a couple of vanilla extract alternatives that we are proud of, and confident in. We created this natural “Baker’s Extract” with pure vanilla extract as a lower cost option for shoppers during this turbulent time in the vanilla market. It can be used 1:1 in recipes where you would normally use vanilla extract. We like it because it has a smooth, natural flavor with hints of vanilla and chocolate. This extract is currently available at H-E-B stores in Texas and we’re hoping to get it on our Amazon store soon. If you’re interested in buying online, H-E-B ships to most states through their website. We will continue to share new vanilla alternatives on our website and our blog, and we always love to hear from our readers. Send us your questions to contact@rodelleinc.com.

Top 10 Baking Tips for Colorado

It’s no secret that we love baking! With recipes to get you through almost every day of the year, we’re often busy in the kitchen whipping up a treat of some kind. In Fort Collins, Colorado, our home base, we’re at about 5,000 feet above sea level. Some of our friends up in the mountains live well above 8,500 feet though!

If you have a recipe that you are baking for the first time, there’s a chance that it will come out perfectly baked at altitude. There is also a chance that some adjustments might be necessary to make that recipe a home-run! We recommend trying a recipe as written the first time you make it. If it doesn’t turn out, then you can start experimenting!

With so many great resources online, we’re sharing our top 10 favorite baking tips for Colorado that we’ve pulled from other sites and from our Executive Chef’s notes:

  1. Extra flour helps! Starting at 3,500 feet above sea level, add 1 more tablespoon per recipe – scale that increase up as your altitude increases. Additional flour helps strengthen the structure of baked goods.
  2. Adjust your leavening agents – rising happens quicker at altitude and a lower amount of baking powder or baking soda can help maintain the level you are looking for.
  3. Dipped centers on your quick breads? Try decreasing the fat, leavener, and sugar.
  4. Bake your brownies at a decreased oven temperature (about 25 degrees) to prevent overbaked sides and a soupy middle.
  5. If your pie crusts don’t have the right texture, slightly more liquid could help.
  6. Making a yeast bread (yay!)? Try covering your dough and place it in the refrigerator for the first rise. It will take a little longer, but that will give your dough more flavor and allow the yeast to develop over time.
  7. Cookies on your horizon? Increase oven temperature to keep your cookies from overexpanding and drying out!
  8. Got a cake recipe with shortening? You might have to reduce the shortening by 1-2 tablespoons to prevent the cake from falling.
  9. Angel food cake? Beat your egg whites only to soft-peak stage to keep the texture light and fluffy.
  10. When you’re baking cakes, prevent an overly moist layer by increasing flour.

Happy baking and enjoy!