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by Dessert Professional | The Magazine Online

Hi everyone,

I was raised on extracts and even taught on them when I went to culinary school.  However, earlier this year I was told of Emulsions.  I've never used them but in the little that I've heard, they're recommended by people.

Can you all tell me why Emulsions are/are not better than extracts. 

What are your experiences with them.

I look forward to your answers.  Thanks.


T. Jones






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Replies to This Discussion

I'm not sure what you mean by emulsions, unless you are referring to compounds. Compounds are more concentrated and tend to not add to the liquid content as much as extracts. I use both a peach and pear William compound in my peach and pear mousses. These fruits are so subtle in mousses that I like to beef up their flavor. I add liquors, but the amount I would have to add to elevate their flavor enough is prohibitive unless I monkey with more gelatin to handle the extra liquid. A bit of compound solves that problem for me beautifully.

Hi Judy,

I've heard of compounds as well.  I never studied what to do with them.  I think that I've look them up soon.  Emulsions are in bottles just as extracts are.  They are in 4 oz. bottles.  Some people say they prefer them to extracts but (as mentioned), I only heard of them.  I looked them up recently and saw that they were "naturally and artificially" flavored and that turned me off.  I am shooting for more natural ingredients in my baked goods.


I'm right there with you on natural ingredients and natural flavors. I stick to a bare minimum on these things - it's most notably the peach and pear examples I gave you. But I also use them to flavor marshmallows. Where are you seeing these emulsions? Amoretti is a well known compound and extract manufacturer and you can order direct from them though a lot of their stuff tasted artificial and chemical to me. I have had better luck with compounds I've ordered through Marque Foods in San Francisco.. 

Do you make fresh marshmallows or marshmallow fondant?  I'm gonna do that marshmallow fondant really soon.  I even have a recipe to make natural marshmallows. 

I initially saw it in a little cake shop when I took a fondant class.  The teacher spoke so highly of them as did the students.  I didn't think anything about it until someone mentioned it again about a week and a half ago.

I'm gonna look up the compounds.

I make fresh marshmallows


Hi Judy,

Emulsions are usually a combination of ingredients where pure extracts are simply the flavor.

A lot of times, emulsions are "created" to help the flavoring be more fat soluble and disperse better in things like buttercream, but I personally prefer to use natural flavor oils for these applications. They have a truer flavor and are not chemically altered as many emulsions can be. Though emulsions are not always chemically created flavorings, many of them fall far from being natural flavors.  So, if you are going to use them be aware of that as chemically created flavors are sometimes not as robust and can have a chemical taste.  Though I am sure there are some exceptions :)

I personally love flavor oils because they play well in lots of applications, pack a ton of flavor punch and require very small amounts giving you a bit more bang for the money.  My only complaint, many of them come in glass bottles.  You'll understand the first time someone drops the bottle of lemon makes pledge seem unscented and getting the oil slick off the floor was difficult :)

Anyway, I hope that helps demystify the emulsion question a little bit.  I know there are undoubtedly a lot of different aspects between the two, but this is what I've learned about flavor emulsions so far!




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