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Making truffle oil and other trufflish R&D

r
RicRios Dec 9, 2006 03:46 PM

We got a batch of wonderful fresh white truffles, and are about to do a bit of R&D at home.
For starters, truffle oil.
Tradition dictates the use of olive oil. We're thinking a less-flavorful oil (corn, perhaps?) will bring forward more of the truffle component.
We'll also play a little with taboos, such as: freezing them.
Any other suggestions?

  1. malarkey Dec 9, 2006 03:58 PM

    My initial reaction to the corn oil is NOOOO!! The oil will lose its 'truffley-ness' over time, and its nice to be left with a nice olive oil rather than a blah corn oil. And, if you are going to experiment with a flavorless oil, I think I'd use canola or maybe safflower.

    I certainly hope you plan on eating some of them freshly shaven over some fantastic dish...

    1 Reply
    1. re: malarkey
      r
      RicRios Dec 9, 2006 04:21 PM

      As far as eating them fresh, we're very orthodox: just plain pasta, polenta or eggs, shave on top. Bliss. And needless to say, a good Barolo (although yesterday, a low profile 2000 Monthelie stood up to the task).

    2. Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2006 04:44 PM

      I don't think it's possible to make good truffle oil at home, if it were the Piemontesi would have a tradition of doing so. Truffle oil is only about 20 years old and I believe manufacturing it takes expensive equipment.

      When I was a production assistant on a documentary film crew we visited a tartufaio who kept his stock in a deep freezer. He wrapped the truffles individually and then put them in Ziploc-type bags.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        r
        RicRios Dec 9, 2006 05:11 PM

        This recipe sounds easy enough, we'll try it (and report back, if results are worth to...)

        You can make your own truffle oil by storing pieces of fresh truffle in clean, sweet, mild tasting oil. The more finely chopped the truffle is, the more of its essence it will give up into the oil and the less flavor the pieces themselves will retain. Make sure all liquid is drained off from the truffles before adding them to the oil; reserve the liquid for later use. Any kind of truffle may be used to make truffle oil. Light olive oil and grapeseed oil are good, neutral flavored oils.

        Store truffle oil in a cool, dark place away from heat, light and oxygen. Some methods of excluding oxygen include sealing wax or plastic wrap on the surface of the oil as well as nitrogen gas dispensers, sold commercially for wine enthusiasts under the name Private Preserve.

        Truffle oil that is kept very cold in your refrigerator will whiten and solidify, but this is not necessarily harmful to the flavor. Truffle oil is tolerant of cold, and can even be frozen, but like fine wine it is less tolerant of temperature fluctuations and may lose quality if it is allowed to solidify and liquefy repeatedly. Remove from cold storage only the amount you intend to immediately use, and leave the rest at temperature.

        http://members.tripod.com/~BayGourmet...

        1. re: RicRios
          Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2006 05:16 PM

          Given the insanely high price of fresh white Alba truffles (tuber magnatum Pico), the relatively low price of good commercial truffle oil, and the much less intense aroma of homemade truffle oil, that doesn't make sense to me.

          If you're talking about tuber gibbosum or some other inferior cheap truffle, that's another story.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            r
            RicRios Dec 9, 2006 05:36 PM

            Magnatum Pico. Commercial truffle oil is 99% artificial flavoring agents, 1% truffle, best case scenario. That's precisely why it's so cheap.

            1. re: RicRios
              Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2006 06:00 PM

              There are no artificial ingredients in Urbani white truffle oil, which at $4-5 an ounce is cheap only compared with fresh Alba truffles.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                r
                RicRios Dec 9, 2006 06:19 PM

                I'm holding in my hands a bottle of White Truffle Oil from Savini Tartufi (Forcoli, Pisa, Italy). The label reads "Ingredients: Olive Oil, White Truffle aroma (Tuber magnatum Pico)". I met in Parma a member of the Savini family. He acknowledged the use of artificial agents. Please note the word "aroma" in the description above. In fact, he mentioned they are about to release a "Deluxe" version of their truffle line, deluxe referring to the fact that they'll use a higher percentage of truffle in the mix, but still with a strong chemical component. I agree this is Savini, not Urbani, but I bet you 2 cts the story is exactly the same.

                1. re: RicRios
                  Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2006 06:27 PM

                  I've spent a couple grand on fresh white truffles over the years, and once spent a week in Barolo during truffle season. If Urbani's cheating, they're doing a good enough job to fool me.

                  I can't say the same about most of the cheaper truffle oils I've tried.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston
                  s
                  splbrad Mar 9, 2008 06:37 PM

                  Federico Balestra at Sabatino Tartufi that its oil is now “100 percent organic,” made from dried truffles and other ingredients with flavors “similar to truffle.” Vittorio Giordano of Urbani Tartufi called its manufacturing method, though conducted in a laboratory, a “natural process.” He described the essence that his company uses as “something from the truffle that is not the truffle.”

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/din...

        2. C. Hamster Dec 9, 2006 05:20 PM

          I'd think you'd run the risk of botulism just as you do with other fresh thing stored in oil. Particularly because of truffle's contact with soil.

          1 Reply
          1. re: C. Hamster
            k
            keepyourfork Oct 31, 2007 05:21 PM

            So, how did it hold up?

          2. c
            crispychef Dec 18, 2006 08:46 PM

            Recently, I got a gift from one of my purveyors... three black truffles, about 1/2 ounce each.... I gave them the once over with a magnifying glass and verified that they are italians, not chinese... my sous chefs were very excited to see these and immediately began to debate what to do with them... I suggested we make 2 gallons of infused oil out of them. This sparked another debate about the best way to make the oil... After many ideas, we decided to try out three methods:

            1) our production cook had the most obvious and apparently successful idea. We simply shaved the truffle very thin and immersed it in a pure olive oil and raised the temperature to 210 degrees and held it for 5 minutes, then let it stand for 10, then poured it off into bottles. This is the same method that we use for making our "herb" infused oils. It produced a very clean and clear truffle taste and a strong aroma. How it holds up is another question, but we'll find out....

            2) we pureed a the truffle in a very small amount of oil with an immersion blender, then added this to a half gallon of cold oil, plugged the bottle and evacuated the air with a "wine" sealing pump... we'll stick it on a shelf for a week and see what happens...

            3) the final method was the simplest.. we split the truffle in half, dropped into a bottle of oil, capped it, shook it like crazy and then stuck it on the shelf... we'll try that one in a week, too and report the results....

            The first method seems to work very well, I would just think its important to control the temperature and not allow the slices to "fry"... just to release their "essence" (oil)...

            hope this helps, and I'll post the results of our experiments next week.

            4 Replies
            1. re: crispychef
              r
              RicRios Dec 19, 2006 01:00 PM

              How do you recognize chinese vs italian?

              1. re: RicRios
                g
                gizmoprof Sep 2, 2012 08:17 AM

                Only the Chinese truffles have "Ah-so"s

                1. re: gizmoprof
                  r
                  RicRios Sep 2, 2012 06:27 PM

                  It's a little more subtle than that:
                  http://www.aseanbiodiversity.info/Abs...

              2. re: crispychef
                k
                keepyourfork Oct 29, 2007 12:22 PM

                Dear crispychef,
                I am a truffle farmer in North Carolina (www.keepyourforkfarm.com) and want to make my own truffle oil. Can't wait to hear how your experimentation worked out. I ;have heard that it is now impossible to import truffle oil due to FDA since all the Chinese imports found to be poisonous. Thanks for your help.
                JMS

              3. h
                happy_macomb Dec 30, 2006 09:19 AM

                Any word on the results of your experiment?

                8 Replies
                1. re: happy_macomb
                  r
                  RicRios Dec 31, 2006 04:34 PM

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/354195

                  1. re: RicRios
                    r
                    RicRios Jan 2, 2007 03:36 PM

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356276

                    1. re: RicRios
                      h
                      happy_macomb Jan 3, 2007 01:09 PM

                      Thanks. Sounds as if freezing in butter is the way to go, but I was hoping there was a way to make truffle oil.

                      1. re: happy_macomb
                        r
                        RicRios Jan 3, 2007 03:08 PM

                        I only kept the butter in the fridge (40 F?), not sure how butter fares at lower temps. If you read crispychef's suggestion # 1 above, that's pretty much the same procedure, with oil instead of butter, that is: chop the truffle, heat the fat, mix, save. I'll surely try it next season. BTW, difference btw natural home made product and commercial stuff w/chemical flavors is -as was expected- abysmal. Not sure though if the natural way is commercially viable. Cost of 1 oz white truffles is U$S 100 wholesale ($1,600 / lb), which means the COST of a 10 oz jar of truffle butter as in my experiment whould be around $200. That would mean... $400 retail? No way. Only doable, I assume, for restaurant use.

                        1. re: RicRios
                          Robert Lauriston Jan 3, 2007 03:28 PM

                          As noted above, Urbani makes excellent natural truffle oil. It costs around $5 an ounce.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            h
                            happy_macomb Jan 4, 2007 12:17 PM

                            What is going on with Urbani? Based on other suggestions, I ordered some of their truffle oil from Amazon. But their own web site doesn't allow you to order truffle oil, for some reason, and I can't get through to them on the email address they provide. Are they going out of business?

                          2. re: RicRios
                            h
                            happy_macomb Jan 4, 2007 12:15 PM

                            Just FYI, butter freezes perfectly; we do it all the time. Works great for basil butter, for example, which is wonderful on steak.

                            1. re: happy_macomb
                              pitu Jan 4, 2007 02:51 PM

                              just be sure you do it in a freezer where it won't pick up "off" flavors
                              I had a few Xmas cookies this year where it was easy to taste that the butter had been sitting in the baker's freezer for awhile...discreet enquiries confirmed this...

                              but I love compound butters, and if anyone ever gives me excess truffles that's how I'm doing it!

                  2. k
                    karinamaria Dec 30, 2006 03:43 PM

                    Hi Crispychef,
                    This is my first post on these boards. I am English but live in SW France. I was directed here by a kind person off the BBC food boards in the the UK.

                    I am lucky enough to have recieved 4 black Quercy truffles as a gift. I have really enjoyed some wonderful recipes, but really interested in making some Truffle oil.

                    So please let us know the results of your experiments.
                    Many thanks in advance..

                    1. pikawicca Oct 31, 2007 05:26 PM

                      If you try to do homemade truffle oil, you run a serious risk of botulism poisoning. Use them up fresh, and leave the processed items to the professionals.

                      1. s
                        soleluna Jun 16, 2008 02:12 PM

                        Dear Ricrios, I've read all the comments below and doing by yourself truffle oil can be very dangerous because the botulism. Freezing them is very common in Italy (I'm from Tuscany but my mom is from Umbria and I used to eat truffle since I was 1 y.o.). All the truffle oil you can find are with chemical aroma the difference is between syntetic and identic aroma. The first is very strong, too strong and It's difficult to digest It. The second one is delicate and It's easier to digest It. There is only one company wich studied the natural extraction of the aroma and It isn't Urbani or the other mentioned. The company is Boscovivo and 24 years ago studied this extraction with an Italian University (I know this because friend of mine worked there few years ago).
                        About the cinese truffles I know It's very hard recognize It even the expert has problems I've read the only way is with the microscope. With this truffle few years ago Urbani had many problems because in Italy It's nod allowed buy/sell them.
                        My suggestion is don't do anything by yourself could be dangerous. If you buy truffles eat Them as soon as possible and if you want I can send you a family tradition.

                        1. n
                          newlymarried May 9, 2011 11:04 AM

                          HELP!
                          I hope someone can help me...
                          I just purchased black truffles to make truffle olive oil and butter.
                          When I cut into the truffle, it has the appearance of fudge. I thought that it was to have an off white color looking a lot like a fossil. Can you tell me what type of truffle I purchased and if it would be good to make the items that I mentioned.
                          Thank you,
                          newlymarried :)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: newlymarried
                            Robert Lauriston May 9, 2011 01:16 PM

                            How did you purchase it? Fresh or canned?

                            Here are a bunch of good pictures:

                            http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&am...

                            To me, black truffles taste better cooked. Scrambled eggs are a good way to enjoy the flavor. Making oil or butter with them seems like a waste of money.

                          2. C. Hamster Sep 2, 2012 06:49 PM

                            People, botulism is serious. It can kill you or put you on the kidney transplant list.

                            So educate yourself on methods to make it safely.

                            1. d
                              DiannetheCookieZ Mar 19, 2013 01:20 AM

                              This truffle oil craze has caused me to lose sleep ever since I saw Emeril prepare an outrageous crab-stuffed brie with truffle oil!
                              Locally, I've only been able to find mushroom infused oils, so I ordered some black truffle oil online. I was surprised me that it was only a 1% fusion. I like it, but it's not strong enough for me and due to its poor research/find reputation, I surrendered my sleep to think of a way to make one's own. (Also from many of the comments here, I wasn't aware of the botulism possibility.)

                              From a practical, safer, and thriftier standpoint, why not purchase a mix of sun-dried portobellos or black trumpet and various dark mushrooms from an Asian grocer and simply add them to an extra light olive/canola oil ( I agree with RicRios re: flavor confliction w/ evoo!). http://mushroom-collecting.com/mushro...

                              Though it isn't black truffle, the quantity of regular mushrooms might make up for the essence, and the shelf-life much safer. Refrigeration seems logical for the duration, taking a portion out at a timie and letting it sit prior to use.

                              Now, I got up at 2:30 am to share this. Think I've been heavenly inspired on this brain storm. What do you think?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: DiannetheCookieZ
                                Robert Lauriston Mar 19, 2013 08:26 AM

                                Why not just rehydrate the mushrooms, mince them, and use both the mushrooms and their soaking liquid?

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  d
                                  DiannetheCookieZ Mar 19, 2013 02:44 PM

                                  Yes, Robert. Another chorus to a new song! Let's just break through this ol' barrier and put everything the room's got to offer in our oils. Can't get anything better than that, eh?

                                  Let's do it!!!

                                  1. re: DiannetheCookieZ
                                    r
                                    RicRios Mar 19, 2013 03:21 PM

                                    Well, the bad news is... don't do this with truffles ( who, by the way, are also mushrooms ).They entirely loose all of their organoleptic properties when dehydrated.

                              2. paulj Mar 19, 2013 08:47 AM

                                Last night's Bizarre Foods America, Chicago episode featured lobster and truffle warm milk

                                http://www.travelchannel.com/video/ch...

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