@tjbray (and anyone else following the story
- So I got my shellac flakes...as soon as I got home, I put them into ever-clear (190 proof grain alcohol, in case you were raised by teetotalers like I was). It's FULLY dissolved and I can't wait for my daughter's boyfriend to wake up (he sleeps in the basement where I'll be doing the work).
For my first batch, I went with a little less than a cup of alcohol (everything in the little $5 bottle) and an ounce of flakes. Very near a 1lb cut.
I will probably up it to a 1.5 cut for the next batch.
@40hz: (re vanilla) - So, I gave out little 1oz bottles of vanilla to my co-workers (wife did the same). So I think I'm on to something. Here's my recipe:
* Vanilla beans - I buy from Vanilla Products USA via Amazon (1/2 lb for around $35 ... I'm gonna email them and see if I can get a return customer discount...maybe even a referral discount. Tell 'em I sent you and deserve it
- the batch that did so well was "Madagascar grade B"
* 80 proof vodka (around $13 for the really cheap stuff, here in Utah)
* Clean 2 quart bottle (6 for $15 at the local wal-mart)
I used roughly 3 inches of bean for every tablespoon of vodka. Didn't split them, just cut them into 1-inch (or less) chunks. (this next time, I will put them in a food processor with the vodka and chop them up that way...not puree, just lots faster and a bit finer chopping). I put that in the bottle - and *CLOSED THE BOTTLE* (maybe that last is obvious to everybody but me...my first batch I wasn't sure, so I put cheesecloth over top of it ... just didn't taste the same).
Wait a year or so. Shake a LOT the first couple of weeks...then shake it whenever you remember about it.
When I was dishing it into the 1oz bottles, it smelled like alcohol instead of vanilla. But the next day when a co-worker opened the bottle? Oh, YUM!!!!
My wife said "Let's do that again...triple batch this time."
One last note: I put a couple of chunks of bean into each of the 1oz bottles so it would keep ?fermenting? ?proofing? ?steeping? Whatever it's called...as I was doing so, I noticed a couple of them actually had vanilla *syrup* dripping out the ends. So I "squished" the beans as best I could into the remaining extract, added an extra $5 bottle of ever-clear (see above) and this time I put the cheesecloth on it (figuring the overdose of alcohol would really need to burn off). This was a week ago, and even in the big bottle it's starting to smell really really good.