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What is Double-Fold Vanilla Extract?

Double-fold vanilla extract is the penultimate extract for delicious vanilla-infused sweet and savoury dishes. It contains almost twice the quantity of vanilla beans used for the same volume of single-fold extract. What you get is a vanilla flavour and aroma profile that is doubly delicious and decadent.

The double-fold extract has long been a secret of the finest bakers and chefs in the world. Double the vanilla bean content makes it twice as strong. Double-fold vanilla extract is particularly revered for spicing up fine dining desserts and the highest-grade ice-creams.

Bakers and chefs typically used the same amount of single-fold extract specified in a recipe to boost a dish’s exotic flavour or they may use a little less, trusting the fact that the double-fold extract packs a more powerful flavor punch.

Single-fold versus Double-fold vanilla extract: What is the difference?

We hate to state the obvious but the difference between single-fold and double-fold vanilla extract is one is pure and delicious and the other one is pure and packs a more powerful punch. They’re both made using only the finest-quality vanilla beans and meet the strict criteria of the FDA to be labeled a pure product.

Single-fold vanilla extract

Single-fold vanilla extract contains a minimum of 35% alcohol and 100 grams of vanilla beans per litre of alcohol (or 25 grams per 1 cup/250 ml). The Imperial measurement is 13 ounces per gallon or 1 ounce per cup.

Most pure vanilla extract found in shops is single-fold extract. It’s the most popular type of pure vanilla extract used by home bakers and cooks. Be sure to check the label on the brand of extract you buy to ensure it’s pure and not factory-made imitation vanilla extract.

Single-fold imitation vanilla extract is a much cheaper product and is made using synthetic vanillin derived from the residue of sapwood and charcoal.

Double-fold vanilla extract

Double-fold vanilla extract exceeds the Food and Drug Administrator’s (FDA) criteria of a pure vanilla extract because it contains 38.5% alcohol, where the Standard of Identity stipulates a minimum of 35% alcohol content.

To double the flavour profile, the double-fold extract uses approximately 180 grams of vanilla beans per litre of alcohol (45 grams per 1 cup/250 ml). The Imperial measurement is 23 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon or 1.5 ounces per cup.

Bakers prefer using double-fold vanilla extract in desserts, cakes and ice-cream anglaise because it gives off a powerful aromatic vanilla flavour. To match the flavour and aroma profile of double-fold extract, you quite literally have to double-up the quantity of single-fold extract specified in a recipe.

Most supermarkets do not stock double-fold vanilla extract and fans of the product usually order it online. You can also make your own double-fold vanilla extract for home use.

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What is ten-fold vanilla extract?

As the name implies, ten-fold vanilla extract is ten times more potent than single-fold vanilla extract. The highly concentrated solution is used most often as an essential oil in soaps, skincare lotions, pharmaceuticals and perfumes. Ten-fold vanilla extract is also used in tobacco products, in particular the liquid used for vape cigarettes.

Ten-fold vanilla extract can only be bought online from suppliers of high-grade essential oils. If you use ten-fold vanilla extract in baking or cooking, be very careful. The potent extract packs the biggest punch of all vanilla extracts.

It’s not a recommended substitute for single- or double-fold vanilla extract because some 10-fold extract products contain ingredients that should not be consumed.

How to make your own homemade double-fold vanilla extract

You’ll battle to find double-fold vanilla extract in the shops so why don’t you make your own? The simplest recipe for homemade vanilla extract only calls for two ingredients; quality Bourbon vanilla beans and any alcohol of your choice.

To work out your quantities to double-up the flavour punch, follow these guideline:

For homemade single-fold vanilla extract, you would use 2 or 3 beans per cup of vodka or 45 grams per 1 cup/250 ml.

For homemade double-fold vanilla extract, you would use between 4 to 5 beans per cup of vodka or 45 grams per 1 cup/250 ml.

Method

Split the vanilla beans lengthways to open them up to release the seeds. Place the whole split vanilla beans in an air-tight container with the right quantity of alcohol. Splitting or chopping up the vanilla beans helps with the infusion process.

Let the vanilla beans infuse in the vodka (bourbon or rum) for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Remember to shake the container every few days to swirl around the pods that settle on the bottom. The longer your vanilla beans are left to infuse, the more flavour you’ll extract from them.

Vanilla bean extract can last up to 12 months, sometimes longer, as long as it’s stored in an air-tight container in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

With double-folded vanilla extract, you can use the same amount of extract specified in the recipe for single-fold extract to double up on flavour. Or you can use less extract than the recipe requires.

What alcohol is used to make double-fold vanilla extract?

You can use any alcohol for your homemade double-fold vanilla extract as long as it is 80 percent proof. The most popular choices are vodka, bourbon, brandy and rum. Most home bakers and cooks use vodka to infuse vanilla beans because it has a neutral flavour.

Don’t scrimp on the quality of vodka you use if you’re adding the double-fold extract to beverages such as smoothies and milkshakes. Choose a brand of vodka or the tipple of your choice that you’d drink on its own.

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You can go a little cheaper if you’re making vanilla extract for baking and cooking, mainly because the alcohol burns off with heat.

What vanilla beans are best for homemade double-fold vanilla extract?

Good quality Grade B extract vanilla beans are perfect for homemade double-fold vanilla extract. The most popular type of vanilla bean for baking and cooking is the famous Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean. This popular bean gives off a deliciously creamy, sweet and mellow flavor with long-lasting aromatic tones.

It’s a waste to use Grade A gourmet vanilla beans or the deluxe Tahitian vanilla bean to make vanilla extract but the choice is yours. Tahitian vanilla beans give off a floral aroma with cherry-like, licorice and caramel tones. The last option is the Mexican vanilla bean which gives off both sweet and woody flavour tones with a spicy hint of cloves and nutmeg.

The type of vanilla bean you choose to make homemade double-fold vanilla extract depends on what you plan on using it in. For baking, you’ll probably pick the sweeter, more floral flavour profile of the Bourbon vanilla bean. For savoury dishes, the Mexican vanilla bean packs a more robust punch.

What is the difference between single fold and double fold vanilla extract?

When you buy vanilla extract in the shops, you have a choice of single or double-fold extract – single is usually the less expensive option. Vanilla beans used for single-fold vanilla extract have been cut in half so that it takes up only half the space of a whole bean. Bean halves are halved again down the middle before being dried for around six weeks.

The leaves on the Vanilla beans are removed to give double-folded extracts its concentrated flavour kick. You can use up to 30 grams per 1 cup/250 ml so if you’re adding a small amount of vanilla powder after extracting your beans, make sure that’s how much you add.

How to make your own double-fold vanilla extract?

There are two ways to make double-fold vanilla extract:

You can buy a bottle of high-grade Bourbon or neutral alcohol, add a few split beans to the bottle and let it infuse for six weeks. You can choose between rum, vodka, brandy, cognac or whiskey but you’ll have to check the alcohol content of what you’re buying.

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And if you make your own single-fold vanilla extract instead of buying it in bottles? It takes a few weeks but is much less expensive as there’s no packaging required. You’ll probably end up with a perfume-like scent which is fine for the kitchen cupboard.

What vanilla beans do you use to make double-folded vanilla extract?

Make your own double-folded vanilla extract using Bourbon beans as they are traditionally used in this way. Or you can use any other type of vanilla bean split lengthways before letting them sit in the alcohol for between six and eight weeks but note that double-folds will take longer to infuse. Next up on the shortage list is sugar, which is used to sweeten recipes and baking, but it’s not essential so don’t worry if you can’t find it where you live.

What is two fold vanilla extract?

Two fold vanilla extract is basically a single-folded vanilla extract that has been doubled up with another bean. The beans are split lengthways and then each half dries. The double-folded beans are then placed together in a bottle so all the beans can infuse in the same liquid.

You can leave the whole beans to infuse for longer, or you can split them into halves before adding them to the bottle, remembering that each half will weigh less and you’ll need about 6 full beans for 1 cup/250ml of alcohol.

Is double fold vanilla better?

Double-fold vanilla extract can be purchased at most stores, and it’s so easy to make. It takes about eight weeks for the flavour to be infused into the alcohol but you can change that time frame if you’re looking for a more intense flavour.

The longer the beans infuse in alcohol, the more flavour they develop so it’s up to you how long you leave them before using them. Longer is better but if you don’t have time, three or four weeks should do just fine.

What does double vanilla mean?

Double vanilla extract is pretty much the same as single-folded vanilla extract. A little more of the bean has been added so you have double the flavour in your homemade vanilla extract.

It’s important to mention that double-folded flavour doesn’t mean double strength. The amount of flavouring is still only half, but it has a more intense flavour than single-folded extract, so you need to use less. It does make a difference in recipes where you want a lot of vanilla flavour, such as custard and frosting for instance.

Homemade double fold vanilla extract is easy to make and more economical than buying vanilla extract in the bottle. It will take a few weeks to infuse but it’s worth the wait as all you’ll need for this process is a bottle of alcohol and split vanilla beans. The brand of vodka, rum or whiskey that you choose doesn’t really matter, as long as it has been distilled from sugar-rich sugar cane and contains no additives, preservatives or artificial sweeteners.

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