The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

DIY vanilla

metropical's picture

DIY vanilla

I'm about to make another batch.

Does anyone leave the last batch beans in the new batch?

Or start anew?

dom1972's picture

I usually start new and put used beans in mother jar

metropical's picture

mother jar?

dom1972's picture

A mother jar is simply a jar usually half gallon or gallon ( I use a gallon jar) that you put your used beans from extract making or pods you scraped to use the caviar out of or any bean you haven’t got around to using and maybe getting a little dried out. It’s a catch all for vanilla beans so nothing gets wasted since it’s expensive. Just put the beans in and cover with whatever spirits you want. I use vodka in my mother jar since it’s neutral in flavor. The beans can be any variety and can be from any extract made from different spirits. Just make sure you only use one type of spirit in the mother jar. You will end up with your own unique extract over time since different varieties of beans and ratios are being used. You can also pull some out and dehydrate them to grind into powder. 

samson's picture

I've got my first batch going now almost 6 months so can't really answer the question. I think I would leave the beans and any liquid, add more beans and liquid to hopefully end up with a stronger vanilla or other. I say it that way because I've got some orange and lemon going also.

metropical's picture

are your orange and lemon just pithless cleaned skins in booze?

clazar123's picture

I would like to hear the beginning of this conversation!

How do you make your own vanilla?

Where do you source vanilla beans?

Does anyone grow their own?

dom1972-tell us more about your method!

metropical's picture

I have found a couple of good sources for beans, even ebay.  There are also the $$$ versions of bean sellers on the interwebs.  And CostCo once a year.
Here's some other sources.
Amadeus Vanilla Beans Vanilla Queen Vanilla Saffron VanillaNice

Growing you own would be extremely difficult, though I have read of some experiments.  Vanilla is a picky orchid grown in a few tropical areas.

I make mine in drink quality bourbon.  Angels, Basil, Four Rose etc.

I've made it with rhum, cachaca and vodka, but bourbon is my fave.

Here's one method.

dom1972's picture

Vanilla extract making isn’t hard at all. The hardest part is choosing the combinations of what spirit and what variety of vanilla beans you want to use because every combination will give different results. Just like sourdough baking different combinations of flours and fermentation times yields something a little different. If you’re new to it I would start with a basic vodka/madagascar bean extract. Unlike some recipes on the internet I found that using inexpensive spirits gives a harsh finished extract so I use as top shelf as feasible. As far as the beans I use to use grade A but have switched to grade B or extract grade because I found no difference in finished product just more expense for the beans. I would rather spend the extra money on better quality spirits.

Basic Recipe 

1oz of vanilla beans per 8oz of spirits 

Split or cut the beans (I just split mine)

Place in jar and submerge in spirits making sure they are all under ( I just use a wide mouth glass jar with a rubber seal)

Now just wait (I go for 1 year)

After it’s done to your liking (You can taste it along the way) I take the beans out and put them in my mother jar and put the extract in smaller prettier jars to be used or gifted 

My combinations now are





This is where I source my beans from