Don’t limit yourself to one flavoring company. Ever. This is just my .02 and you can take it for what it’s worth.
This is a very vital part in learning and understanding your flavors. The chemicals and flavoring that are in the flavor you are about to test is what is called OBJECTIVE taste. It IS. Period. Those flavorings were put in there to taste a certain way by the manufacturer. What you taste from that or how your brain and taste buds interpret those chemicals; that’s SUBJECTIVE taste. EVERYONE has this. Think of it in food terms. Apple pie is meant to taste like apple pie. It has apples, crust, etc… That’s OBJECTIVE. It IS… Period. But not everyone likes apple pie, now do they? That’s the SUBJECTIVE.
Ok now that we have that out of the way, always try to check the manufacturer of your flavoring and see what notes they may have. You can check ELR for some general notes of the flavors that you should be getting from the flavoring used. This is the OBJECTIVE part. It is what the manufacturer intended the flavor to taste like.
There are general percents for each manufacturer based on their strength. I have juices with 2% total flavoring and they are full of flavor because the manufacturer made them so strong. Since each manufacturer has their really strong and somewhat weak flavors, I recommend doing a little bit of homework on the flavor before attempting the standalone. Some FlavourArt/Medicine Flower/Flavorah etc. flavors can be extremely strong and are not very forgiving if you don’t take 5 minutes and look up some percents. You wouldn’t want to take a trip to another city without looking at a map right? Right.
So here’s in general what I like to mix:
Capella and TFA: On average I mix 3%, 4% and 5% to get a feel for how they taste. I’ve had my Cap and TFA as high as 9% on a few standalones (strawberry ripe test) and as low as .5% (TFA dulce de leche). This does not include creams. Cap and TFA Creams on average I use a maximum of 2, but have gone as high as 4% with Bavarian cream and vanilla swirl.
Flavour Art: This is one that can and will be very strong on average. I ALWAYS check my recommended percent directly from the manufacturer themselves. This will ensure you generally start at the correct percent. I mix these at 1-5% on average, though there are some that are so strong that you only need 1 drop per 30 mil. (FA Blackberry). I use the creams around .4-2% maximum. Many times, you will not taste the fa creams at the beginning and they will come into the flavor at around 2 weeks. I’ve also noticed that at lower percents, the flavor art creams provide more texture and at the higher percents; more of the intended flavor. Be careful as FA creams are not very forgiving and can and will take over your recipe.
Inawera is going to be as strong as FA if not stronger. Again, check your recommended percents and work accordingly.
There are countless of flavoring manufacturers, so check with them before you just up and waste flavoring.
Ok. So you’ve got your flavors in and you sit there and look at them thinking, “now what can I make?”. Well, you are only limited to what your brain can come up with, but if you don’t understand your flavor, then what good is it? So here’s what I do. I like to mix 3-5 testers for each flavor. Fruits, generally test at a 30/70 pg/vg ratio, bakery items at 35/65 and creams around 20/80. Mix a low percent, medium percent and high percent based on the research that YOU did on the flavor.
Taste each one right away. Make a few notes on how it tastes. What kind of texture does it have? Is it a full flavor? Does it have body? Is it really bright? Really dull? Write all of these down on your flavoring so you know what’s going on.
Check your single flavor testers every 5-7 days and do the same thing. I normally use a notebook and scratch my notes down in that and when I’m done it usually ends up something like this:
Flavour Art: Zeppola 2-5% used.
Description: Nice fried dough. Not too sweet. Noticing two distinct tastes. Inside is light, very slightly sweet and VERY lightly fluffy. Outside is fried dough. No added sugar or cinnamon. The taste is spot on flavor-wise of the fried dough the little Italian lady up the way makes.
2% Light fried dough, use here as texture or a good dough/blender.
3% Blended around here with fruit and other lighter volatiles. A strawberry doughnut for example.
4% Seems to be the sweet spot as the main flavor.
5% Heavy dough. Serves it’s intended purpose very well. A strong fried dough.
Mixes with: Anything you need fried dough for?
Vanillas (depending on application)
Creams: Custard v1, FA Custard, Vanilla bean ice cream, vienna, FA meringue, fresh cream, bavarian cream. Pretty much any cream that is smooth and delicious. I would avoid spicier creams unless the whole recipe calls for something spicy (like a fried pumpkin doughnut, or eggnog latte with a fried dough top.)
Cakes/ pastry/ texture: Definitely could use a bit more texture depending on application. Boost inner doughnut with another bread/ to increase texture itself. Mix with acetyl pyrazine, cereal 27, doughnut flavors, yellow cake (any depending on end goal), nonna’s cake (a really big plus if you use the FA Custard), fudge brownie, biscotto (fa), vanilla cupcake, joy, bread pudding, biscuit… you get the idea.
Fruits: Any sweet fruit. Blueberry, strawberry, banana, jams, oba oba, raspberry etc… I’d probably stay away from citrus as the fried outside flavor can give you the misinterpretation of citrus if you have a very sensitive palate. The only citrus I’d probably insert here is the lemon in nonna or fa custard.
Chocolates can be used in pretty much any form depending on the intended effect. Bready chocolates are nice for a doughnut and creamy chocolates are going to be good for an outside coating.
Nuts: almond, pistachio, mixed nuts, cashews. Pretty much any nut will go well depending on application.
Solid flavor. If you want fried dough with very little sweetness, this is the way to go. Very versatile and fun.
Or at least end up with a short version so you know what’s going on like:
FA SUMMER CLOUDS 3%
Peach can be taken to Rings or Natural Peach.
Light Citrus Note.
Slightly floral - Rose - Can be manipulated to increase the fuzziness of the added peach.
Can be used as building block or standalone.
Juicy peach, apricot, white peach
strawberries (bright), Banana?, Golden pineapple
Fa: Orange, Citrus Mix, Lemon (lightly), Lime Tahiti cold pressed
Almond, N.E.T. (light shags)
Creams: Bavarian, Fresh, Vienna, Marshmallow, Sweet Cream
Could be used just for the peach but kind of pointless if you have other peaches unless you are just using this for a building block.
As you go through your flavors you will begin to taste flavorings that will go together, your notes will get better and you will understand your flavors more.