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Sous Vide Vanilla Extract

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Use your sous vide to speed up the process of vanilla extract making. This customizable, handmade vanilla extract is perfect for baking, making, and gift-giving.

For Christmas 2019, my mom and I decided we'd do "Homemade Christmas". The only rule was that whatever was gifted must be homemade. This is OBV my kind of Christmas.

Kevy and I deliberated for days. What does everyone love? In the end, we included smoked cheese, homemade bacon, and this incredible sous vide vanilla extract.

It's now 4 months later, my sister has claimed while sighing a lot, that she's out of her homemade vanilla extract. I promised her I'd finally post this tutorial for her!

This sous vide vanilla extract recipe is dedicated to vodka and vanilla - a match made in heaven.

Sous vide vanilla extract with vanilla beans in the amber jar.
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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Use as fresh as possible vanilla beans.

No. 2 --> Don't worry about using super good vodka. Your baking won't notice if you use Grey Goose or Smirnoff.

No. 3 --> You don't have to use vodka. Use bourbon, use rum, use whatever your heart desires! Just ensure your alcohol content is 40% alcohol or above.

No. 4 --> The alcohol burn will mellow out. After the first couple weeks, you extract will be much smoother. This does not mean you extract isn't ready to use immediately, it is. It just means the burn will taper off. Besides we're cooking with it, not sipping it!

No. 5 --> Keep the split vanilla beans and seeds in the vodka after processing - this will only strengthen the flavour.

Ingredients required for sous vide vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • vodka
  • vanilla beans

How to make

  1. Prepare a water bath: Fill your desired sous vide container with water, and set to 130f.
  2. Split the beans: Halve, then slice the vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape out all the seeds.
  3. Add to jars: Add the equivalent of 1 - 2 vanilla beans per jar. I used 1.5 beans + their seeds for each half pint-sized jar.
  4. Fill with liquor: Using your desired alcohol, add 1 cup to each mason jar. Close the jars, leaving the rings finger-tight.
  5. Sous Vide: Use a jar lifter, carefully add your mason jars to the water bath and sous vide for 6-8 hours.
  6. Remove: Take the jars out of the water bath with a jar lifter, and set aside to cool.
  7. Store: Store your vanilla extract for future use in a cool, dark cupboard. OR pour into small amber jars for gift giving!
  8. Don't forget: Keep the pods and seeds in the alcohol. You'll be tempted to strain them out, but save yourself the work and the vanilla will thank you for it.
Pouring vodka into a measuring cup.

Why make homemade vanilla extract?

Well, firstly, why not?!?

Beyond that, there are a lot of reasons to make your own vanilla extract.

Ingredients

Making your own vanilla ensures that you can use premium or specific ingredients. You can use bourbon or vodka. You can use Tahitian or Madagascar vanilla, fair trade or organic beans.

Cost

Homemade vanilla is much cheaper than purchasing the extract in-store. I am *always* down with getting the best bang for my buck. My bottle of vodka was around $40 for 1.14L, and my vanilla was $25 for 5 beans. This gave me a cost of $65 for 1L (33 oz) of extract.

Quick math shows I produced awesome vanilla extract for $1.97 per oz! I pay, regularly between $4 & $6 per oz. That's savings of at least 50%!

Clear vodka in a mason jar with vanilla beans in it.

Convenience

If you bake a lot, having a litre of vanilla extract around the house is super convenient. Making a large batch and leaving the jars in the back of a cupboard in case you run out is simply awesome.

Gift Giving

I LOVE handmade gifts. There's something about the thought and the work that goes into them that makes me so grateful. This bulk vanilla extract is a great gift to give teachers, friends, and family, any time of the year. Here's a link to the amazing little amber bottles I used!

Putting the extract into a sous vide bath.

The best alcohol for making vanilla extract

DIY Vanilla is pretty open to different using different alcohols, and it's something to think about because different alcohols have different flavour profiles. Regardless of if you choose rum, bourbon, or go with the standard vodka, the alcohol must be 80 proof or 40% ABV.

Vodka

Vodka is the standard because it's generally tasteless and odourless, and will take on the flavour of the vanilla beans without changing the profile.

Rum

Rum is distilled from sugar cane or sugar can by products and can enhance the inherent sweetness of vanilla extracts in baked goods.

Bourbon

Bourbon has a clean palate like vodka, but is slightly sweeter and more smoky. It can enhance the sweetness of the vanilla without overpowering like rum.

Where to use sous vide vanilla extract

It's great in any baking, but I recommend baking Vanilla Biscotti, or using it in the icing for these Homemade Oreos, or as the flavour base in these homemade Maple Vanilla Marshmallows.

Let me know in the comments your favourite recipe to use vanilla bean extract in?

How to store homemade vanilla extract

Once "brewed" in the sous vide, store your vanilla extract at room temperature in a dark cupboard indefinitely. If you find yourself running low, you can top up your extract bottle with more split vanilla beans and more vodka!

This sous vide extract recipe owes it's quickness to the sous vide. You can make vanilla extract at home without a sous vide, it just takes longer. MUCH longer.

This Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide is the one I bought myself - it's an affordable entry-level sous vide circulator. It's been so fun to have and to experiment with sous vide infusions and sous vide extracts.

Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide

Love sous vide recipes? Check these out!

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📖 Printable Recipe

Sous vide vanilla extract with vanilla beans in the amber jar.
Yield: 4 cups

Sous Vide Vanilla Extract Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes

Harness the power of the sous vide to speed up the brew time of your vanilla extract. This is such a great and easy homemade ingredient for all your baking needs.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 vanilla beans
  • 4 cups vodka

Instructions

  1. Prepare sous vide water bath at 130f.
  2. Slice the vanilla bean in half, then halve lengthwise.
  3. Scrape the beans out of the vanilla pod.
  4. Place 1 - 2 beans and their seeds in each half-pint jar, i used 1.5 per jar.
  5. Add 1 cup of vodka, or chosen alcohol base to each jar.
  6. Screw the lids on finger-tight.
  7. Use a jar lifter to place the jars in the water bath.
  8. Sous vide at 130f for 6-8 hours.
  9. Cool before using. Leave the pods and seeds in the extract!
  10. Store in a dark cupboard.

Notes

Process Time:


This is up to personal preference, BUT I like to process mine in the sous vide for 8 hours. I find it gives a richer colour, and stronger extract right away.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

100

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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Two bottles of vanilla extract with vanilla beans in them.

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