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Whole Leaf Tobacco

steaming up some leaf today

Smokin Harley

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#1
so far the steamer pot is full of mostly Pa Red tips , about 6-7 nice dark Madole tips and very sweet aroma'd mudlugs from Criollo 98 .
Its only been going for 1/2 hour but the kitchen smells like honey . For me this is a big batch . I have one of those airline sized bottles of Peach Birddog Whiskey I plan to top case with since I didn't like it to drink . I might add a couple drops of vanilla for a Peaches and cream flavor/aroma and apply it with a spray bottle.
Should I add anything else to the casing sauce- glycerine ,honey , etc.?
 

Jitterbugdude

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#2
Is this for pipe tobacco?
I really like Chinavoodoo's method using mason jars and a pressure cooker. It yields very sweet leaf without having to add anything.
 

Smokin Harley

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#3
yes, it is for pipe tobacco. I'm aiming toward a mixed variety of cavendish . I don't have a pressure cooker or mason jars. I'm just doing it in the steamer top over a "spaghetti" pot. double foil covered the lid . as per my last steaming I added a gallon of water at about 3 hour mark and within minutes it began to steam again. This time however the water in the pot was completely colorless .
This morning I'm reading more and more about various pipe tobacco methods and I suppose since it is the easiest and with fewest store bought items , I go the cavendish route. I do own a vintage Snap-on 6 ton hydraulic bottle ram set but lack the frame to turn it into a full stand alone shop press for pressing cake (but thats another project I hope to fulfill sometime in the next few months. )
I've looked through the liquor cabinet past the peach birddog whiskey (besides the famous Tennessee and Irish whiskeys and various rums and such) and see my wifes mini bottle of Jaegermeister and so I put a few drops of that into the peach mixture to add the sweetness otherwise told added by liquorice of another form without actually adding too much sugar for sweetness and possible tongue bite later on. Chillardbees post on his pipe tobacco recipe he added some bicarbonate of(baking) soda , would this buffer the pH down from the alkalinity that gives tongue bite or for another reason? Should I add glycerin or is that mainly for chew?
I have about 2 ounces of sauce to add when this is done steaming . It smells wonderful . I'm hoping it will add the flavor and intensity I'm looking to achieve.
 

Smokin Harley

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#4
so , yesterday I had the steamer pot very full . I left it stem-intact so I could handle the leaf easier and keep it separated varietally (< I think I just made up a new word) At the end of 8 hours of nearly non stop heavy steaming (as little non-steam time as possible due to refilling the water level in the bottom pot and it coming back up to temperature) The leaf turned out very dark , some black. I then put it out on a baking sheet and put it in the oven set at 220*F and periodically turned it until it was damp with very few spots (just a couple leaf tips actually) drying fully and crispy. It seemed to get even darker and smell even better. While it was still warm and moist to the touch I put the processed leaf into a vapor proof bag, squeezed out as much air as I could ,folded the bag over a few times and left it overnight. Just opening the bag a minute ago and take a whiff...very fruity and sweet aroma. Today I am destemming and pressing . Should I add my flavor sauce ,or at least some of it, before I press or wait until I get to the cutting ?
 

Jitterbugdude

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#5
As for adding your sauce: I've added sauce then pressed and watched all the juice ooze out. Maybe just sprtiz it some before pressing, then add more after it comes out of the press.
 

Smokin Harley

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#6
Cool , thanks JB. I've just finished stemming and have it all nicely stacked in an oblong rectangular "tupperware ", got a block of 2 x 4 cut to fit the bottom snug and wrapped in plastic wrap. I think for now ,I'm just going to press it as is ,no flavoring, then once I shred I'll add the special sauce. So far though this morning while stemming it I couldn't help but notice how sweet and fruity it is. So far by aroma it seems to be even better than the first or second batch I did . Not overly moist either, so it stemmed nicely . I started out picking out the stem from the tip end and trying the wrist wrap thing but that didn't go very well . but then ended up grabbing the heavier stalk end with thumb and forefinger of my right hand and lightly slipping it between the first finger joint crease and some light thumb nail of my left hand...lickety split all the heavy stem strips right out. I'll press it here in a minute . I'll leave it until Monday then see where I'm at for slicing it up.
 

Smokin Harley

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#7
22 ounce plastic container, full to the top (2+ inches?)patted down. tobacco cake is in a sandwich bag so I dont lose the sweet brown black tobacco nectar that came out. 1 2x4 wrapped in plastic in case the sandwich bag springs a leak . a block on top of that and a block on the bottom and 4 trigger grip style clamps touching each other pressing it flat , came out to about 3/4 inch pressed and I can't budge the clamps anymore.
 

Smokin Harley

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#8
20151204_113447.jpg
My current situation. Black gold. Texas tea....oh that's jed clampetts oil.
Good thing I bagged the baccy before pressing. Its juicy. I feel like I'm almost making a micro mini batch of perique. Now... To you experienced ( at least cavendish anyway)pipe tobacco makers,should I let this press a few days then open it up , fluff it up again and restack or mix the leaf and re-press it a couple more times ,or is once enough?
 

Smokin Harley

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#9
Silly question which I'm sure has been answered before, I just can't find it.
When pressing the tobacco cake for cavendish , what to do with the juice that presses out ?
1-Toss it out
2-Save it for casing up the tobacco (with or without optional other flavorings)after the cut/rub
3-work it back in while drying?
4- something else.
 

Matty

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#10
Been there done that. If it where me I would have dried the steamed cavendish, as you did, but I would have spritzed the special sauce on the leaves, before pressing, and allowing the leaf to dry to medium to low case at room temperature before pressing. That way the special sauce has time to soak in and change with the leaf as it presses, also it would allow most if not all of any alcohol to evaporate from the special sauce, but the biggest reason would be that if it where dry enough none of that precious "Texas Tea" would be lost during pressing. What you have so far sounds great anyway, good luck.
 

Smokin Harley

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#11
well, JBD said the juice (and special sauce) would end up pressing out anyway , so as not to waste either,I'm waiting until the pressing it done.
 

Smokin Harley

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#12
Cutting the cavendish ... I ended up with a 1/2 inch flat pancake about 3 inches by 5 inches of pressed leaf which consisted of (all air cured and kilned )-Madole , PA Red tips ,Criollo 98 mudlugs, and Va Gold . Steamed 8 hours . Pressed 4 days. Juice poured off (but saved !)
I hand cut the cake lengthwise with my chaveta into 1/3's then across the short way at 1/8" or smaller slices, let them dry a little bit before rubbing it out. It rather balls up loosely then it will fall into the short ribbons while rubbing. I laid out the loose cut on a piece of aluminum foil and let it sit under a lamp to speed drying. The first 1/3 I left as unflavored and my wife says it smells great.

The second 1/3 I added a casing or top flavoring consisting of (rough measures) -
1 oz + 1 tsp Birddog Whiskey (Peach) ,
1/2 tsp Jaegermeister (for the licorice flavor and adding sweetness)
1/4 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp P.G.
so far what I added smells about right but may add more after a test bowl and see if the flavor or aroma is strong enough -then also I will see about the nicotine and if need be , I'll add a little of the black juice back in .

The last 1/3 I don't know what to add as flavorings yet...I'd like to figure out how to get to a Creme brulee'....any ideas?
 

Planter

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#13
I found if it has just the right amount of moisture, pressing will not squeeze much juice out. One of the reasons I stove/bake in jars in the oven. (Another one is that after it cooled down the jar is practically vacuum-sealed, so I can store it as it is for long).


I had a batch recently which was for some reason too moist - lost quite a bit of liquid already in the oven (the jar boiled over), then more during pressing, but the flavour wasn't negatively affected.


Did you test the cased batch already? How's it?


I normally stove mine from sun-cured or flue-cured Oriental, which contains a lot of sugar to start with, and since I'm more into the cigarish-side of the spectrum, I find the result right sweet. Actually very similar to the best commercial examples of stoved Virginia.


I also prepared some from a mixture of aged cigar leaf (mostly Havana Corojo), fire-cured and kilned leaf plus various Orientals (all leftovers from previous experiments and several years old). I again did not add any sugar. It came out less sweet than the other, but still sweet enough and smooth, and the Havana spice is still there.


For the last 1/3 I would say keep it for the moment unflavoured as well, smoke a few bowls of the whisky/sugar/honey batch and see how much you like it, take your notes, than you have enough if you suddenly feel like you want to make adjustments.


Also, allow the flavours to mend for a while. I re-moistened some dry Oriental a year ago with rum (just added about 10% of tobacco weight to the jar with the ribbon cut), when I opened it a while ago I was astonished how much the rum aroma had penetrated the leaf - it's really dominating the smoke's flavour and smell now.
 

Smokin Harley

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#14
I haven't tried it yet. Letting it sit for a few days . Its supposed to be very nice out this weekend and a sunny 60 degree day on the front porch should be perfect for a test smoke.
I pressed BigBonner's perique sample I've had for a few months now. Been saving it for this point in time . I will cut that up today and maybe do a one or 2 bowl pinch for some of the unflavored portion of the batch .
Now is the fun time and enjoyment for all the hard work growing this leaf all summer. I can't wait until late April-early May to get the seed flats going again.
 

rustycase

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#15
sh, I've steamed leaf in a trout steamer, with a bunch of eucalyptus leaves tossed into the water.
A bunch will give the baccy a definite menthol note... half that, well, it seems to just mellow the burley, without a notice-able menthol flavor.
Takes the edge off my burley.
YMMV
rc

Bigbonner's perique styled leaf is really good in a blend ! My guess is you'll like it, in some selected amount.
 
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