Batch Mixing

Recipe development can vary wildly on a scale anywhere from throwing stuff together and hoping it works, to meticulously testing each flavor used at varying degrees. While I have been known to mix on any part of the spectrum, depending on my mood or what I am mixing for, I tend to gravitate to the more detail oriented side of things. That is where batch mixing really comes in handy. If I am working on a recipe for a commercial client, or really want to hit a profile out of the park for the DIY community, I will take my time and be as thorough as possible with the development. Batch mixing, in its simplest form, is mixing up several versions of a recipe at once. It saves a bunch of time and is useful for comparing ingredients when you want to make your recipe pure perfection.

There are two types of batch mixing methods that are commonly used.  I use both at different parts of my development process. You can use batch mixing to compare similar ingredients or you can use it to, once all the ingredients are decided upon, dial in the correct %. For the example of this article we will make a strawberry and cream recipe. Depending on how deep I want to go with it, I will normally start by breaking the profile I want to mix into separate layers. So for the strawberry cream, I want it to have the following layers:

  • Strawberry
  • Cream
  • Malt
  • Vanilla
  • Sweetness

Once I have separated the mix into separate layer, I will mix up a super quick recipe that will be known as the control recipe, keeping these layers in mind, and then list all the possible ingredients or combination of ingredients I might want to try. So a control recipe may look something like this:

  • Strawberry: 3% FA Juicy Strawberry
  • Cream: 2% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: .5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% TFA Vanilla Swirl
  • Sweetness: 1% CAP Vanilla Cupcake
StrawberryFA Juicy StrawberryCAP Sweet StrawberryTFA Strawberry RipeReal Flavors SC StrawberryDaveberry Trinity
CreamOOO CreamFA Fresh CreamFA Vienna CreamTFA Vanilla Bean Ice CreaPUR Condensed Milk
MaltFW HazelnutTFA Graham Cracker ClearTFA Cheesecake Graham CrustWF Hazelnut and CreamFW Graham CrackerJF Biscut
VanillaTFA Vanilla SwirlINW Vanilla ShishaWF Vanilla CreamCAP French VanillaDIYFS Holy VanillaFA Vanilla Classic
SweetnessTFA White ChocolateCAP Vanilla CupcakeFW White ChocolateFA MeringueFA MarshmallowFA Butterscotch

Now that I have broken down my profile like this or “blueprinted” it if you will, I can start mixing my first round of batches. I would take my control recipe and mix it exactly how I thought of it, so it is a good idea to spend a little bit of time creating a decent control recipe. This means use flavors you have used before and know how they would work at the percentages you planning in the recipe. This is not the time to be experimenting or trying weird things, think simple and accessible. For the first round, I would mix up the control recipe and then every other version I would keep everything the same as the control recipe but just switch out the layer I was working on for the different ingredient or combo of ingredients so for example, the first round of the Strawberry Cream would be changing the strawberries.

V1.1 (control)

  • Strawberry: 3% FA Juicy Strawberry
  • Cream: 2% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: .5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% TFA Vanilla Swirl
  • Sweetness: 1% CAP Vanilla Cupcake

V1.2

  • Strawberry: 3% Cap Sweet Stb and 4% TFA Stb Ripe
  • Cream: 2% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: .5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% TFA Vanilla Swirl
  • Sweetness: 1% CAP Vanilla Cupcake

V1.3

  • Strawberry: 2% RFSC Strawberry
  • Cream: 2% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: .5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% TFA Vanilla Swirl
  • Sweetness: 1% CAP Vanilla Cupcake

Once I have mixed the different versions with the several combinations of varying ingredients; I would test these at different stages of the steeping process and take notes. After I pick the wining version of this round, I then testing the next layer of the profile. The new control recipe would have the strawberry layer that won the last round. I would continue this process until I have picked the best ingredients for all the layers in my mix. Mixing like this can have surprises when one layer doesn’t work once you’ve moved on to another layer that is why keeping your control recipe as simple and familiar as possible is important. Once you have picked all of your layers you can batch mix in a similar fashion adjusting percentages and keeping in mind to just change one layer at a time. This makes it easy to recognize what works and what doesn’t. If one recipe has all high percentages and one all low percentages neither may work and you won’t know which ingredient or combination of ingredients is throwing the mix off.  If you take your new recipes with all the layer winners and create you’re new control recipe, then change one layer at a time you’re next round of batches may look like this:

V 6.1 (control)

  • Strawberry: 3% Inw Shisha Strawberry — 1.5% Fa Red Touch — 0.75% JF Stb Sweet
  • Cream: 2% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: 0.5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% Inw Vanilla Shisha
  • Sweetness: 1% FA Butterscotch

 

V 6.2

  • Strawberry: 3% Inw Shisha Strawberry — 1.5% Fa Red Touch — 0.75% JF Stb Sweet
  • Cream: 1% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: 0.5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% Inw Vanilla Shisha
  • Sweetness: 1% FA Butterscotch

V 6.3

  • Strawberry: 3% Inw Shisha strawberry – 1.5% Fa Red Touch – 0.75% JF Stb Sweet
  • Cream: 1.5% OOO Creamy (milky undertone)
  • Malt: 0.5% FW Hazelnut
  • Vanilla: 1% Inw Vanilla Shisha
  • Sweetness: 1% FA Butterscotch

This is a rather in depth way to test flavors in a recipe and some people not be looking to go to these lengths to create a recipe. I wanted to demonstrate a method I sometimes use, so you can pick any part of this to help you with your recipe development. Sometimes I use it to test out new to me flavors, using a basic recipe I am familiar with swapping out only one layer with the new  untested flavors.  For example, if I am creating a Strawberry Cream and have a couple of new cream flavors, I will do a round of batches changing up the cream layer with each of my new creams.  I know crafting your own recipes can be confusing sometimes and this process is definitely not necessary for every recipe, but if you have a profile you have been working on and can’t get it to where you want it, this method is a great way to leave no stone unturned or flavor untried.

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