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Oct 26, 2010 08:31 AM

Bay Leaves

i have used them in 1-3 hour braises before but was wondering if only simmering for 15-20 minutes, if it enough time for them to impart any of their flavour

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  1. sure. you can also saute them in the fat if you are starting with a fried element (onions or meat) to impart more flavor that way.

    1. Would love to answer you honestly but don't know the answer as I'm a novice in bay leaves.
      I never knew the importance of them in a recipe. Although I've always had them in my possession and in the kitchen just in case. I got a huge envelope mailed to me a few years ago from a nice person off their tree. Although I don't know long or short cooking times, I do know I like them a lot in a chicken pilaf.

      Sorry I can't be more helpful with your question.

      2 Replies
      1. re: iL Divo

        me too, i have used them but have always been a bit skeptical as to how much difference in flavour they make, anyone??

        1. re: vandan

          yea, really me too.
          I think I'll try the fat cooking method to see if they make a flavor change.
          either way, I'll use them when asked to add to a recipe.
          they are strong or unpleasant any way to either of us.
          like rosemary my husband can always tell when it's in a recipe and doesn't like much.
          but bay he never says anything about, like, "hey wait, did you put bay leaves in there?"

      2. Assuming you are talking about dried bay leaves and not fresh...

        I always add one to the water when making a quick-cooking polenta, so that means a maximum of ten minutes, and it always imparts a nice flavor. I guess it depends on the quality of the dried bay leaf.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          +1. Quality is huge. Many grocery store bay leaves have zero scent when you open the bottle. Can they possibly impart much of a flavour? Get the bay leaves from Penzey's, or better yet, get a friend in California to score you some fresh bay leaves. These have a strong, delicious scent, and impart a lovely flavour.

          1. re: Indirect Heat

            Bay is fairly easy to grow and will stand a few degrees of frost.

          2. re: ttoommyy

            I'm talking dried or fresh, used and have had both.
            still don't know the flavor they add.
            is it minty or sharp or floral or sweet, no clue and smelling them doesn't help.

            1. re: iL Divo

              I LOVE bay. It imparts an earthy herbal background note to food. I often grind them in a spice grinder for blends and such - if you want to, grind a few up to smell and taste. Grinding really brings out their flavour and aroma.

          3. Recently, there was a very revealing bay leaf thread. Perhaps somebody'll dig it up for you.

            1. Here's a link to the bay leaf thread Perilagu Khan mentioned:


              1 Reply
              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                here is some additional info on bay leaves tho not cooking methods.