In the video above, I go over why substituting flavorings is not really a good idea, but sometimes how it might be necessary. I talk about times when you should and when you shouldn’t sub out flavors, and then I give you 5 simple tips to remember when choosing flavorings to sub out. Below you can read further on these tips, and how they can apply to your recipes.
1. Do Not Sub Out Main Notes
The main note is the most important aspect of any recipe. It’s the part of the recipe that everything else is built around. If you choose to substitute out this ingredient, you end up creating a completely different recipe, period. So for instance, if a recipe calls for TFA Strawberry, and the recipe is a Strawberry Milk, then you should NOT change TFA Strawberry. Either build a new recipe, or wait until you are able to attain TFA Strawberry. Once you change that top note, there is no assurance the rest of the ingredients will follow suit.
2. Make Sure to Sub Same Flavors
Now, if there are accent notes, or base notes in the recipe, and you don’t happen to have one, so you figure to sub one out, make sure you’re subbing for a flavoring that is the same type of flavor. For instance, if a recipe is using TFA Sweet Cream, but you don’t have that ingredient, don’t sub for another flavor outside Sweet Cream. Sub for FW Sweet Cream, or CAP Sweet Cream, etc. If you don’t have either, then find flavorings that match that profile. Maybe TFA Vanilla Swirl will work, or maybe TFA Malted Milk, but remember it will be much more difficult to effectively sub that ingredient in, because of how different it is.
3. Concentration is Important
The next step is concentration, or percentage. If a recipe calls for that TFA Sweet Cream at 1%, then you need to match that flavor up with your substituting flavor, at the same STRENGTH. This doesn’t mean match percentages. TFA Sweet Cream at 1% is MUCH weaker than TFA Dairy at 1%, so be sure to use the correct strength. This is a very difficult process to nail down, and one of the reasons subbing often fails. But it’s crucial.
4. Ask the Community
If you need help on finding substitutions for flavorings, the community is the best place to ask. This is because there is a collective knowledge that you can reference. Ask what flavors are viable subs, and what concentrations are best matched. Often, the community will tell you there are none, but you may get one or two answers, which can narrow down your search.
5. Don’t Sub Multiple Flavors
Finally, don’t sub more than one ingredient out. Once you start substituting 2 – 3 – 4 ingredients out of a recipe, then you might as well just build a brand new recipe. There’s no sense in trying to force flavorings into a recipe, when you can start a new. Not too mention, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money starting from scratch. If its one accent flavor, and you have a similar flavoring already in your library, then feel free to make a small substitution. If not, it’s best to just mix something else, or wait until you have all the necessary ingredients.