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Sep 14, 2007 01:56 PM

Ground bay leaf - why not?

I bought a 59 cent package of laurel molido or ground bay leaf in the Mexican spice section of a market.

This seems like such a good idea. No fishing those bay leaves out of dishes. The conversion is 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground bay leaf = 1 whole bay leaf.

Seems to be mainly used for rubs or in Indian recipes. The ground version allows for bay leaf in dishes where the whole wouldn't work. It gives warmth to a salad when sprinkled on tomatoes. The Chow ingrediant page suggests adding a pinch to a bloody mary.

There were a few odd recipes out there like the one for cicadas. A less unusual recipe


Does anyone use ground rather than whole leaves. Any different uses or do you just substitute in any recipe that calls for bay leaves?

The only down side seems to be to use sparingly because too much can be bitter.

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  1. The leaves do not break down too easily and can get stuck in your teeth. It has a very strong flavor and can smarten up a sauce or make it bold. The thing about ground Bay leaf is that you can not take it away if too much is added. A whole bay leaf can be omitted when the sauce/ stew is just right.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CHEFBUCK

      Was just going to second the picking it out of your teeth. Unless you have a kick butt blender, I'd buy bay in powdered form!

    2. I've been using it for a few years, but as you mention too much can be bitter, and as chefbuck says you can't take it out if you add too much. I have found that it is much stronger in powdered form and I use literally a tiny pinch at a time, and then taste it in a while and maybe add just a tiny bit more if needed. That said, I find it much more effective than whole leaf, which some times doesn't seem to add enough bay flavor, and you can use it in uncooked recipes like the salad and Bloody Mary you mention. It will add in a whole new range of foods you can use bay in.

      1. Penzey's makes it and it's quite good.