Baking With Cannabis? Here Are 7 Important Considerations for Home Bakers
As edibles become the preferred method of cannabis ingestion, learning to bake with them is key.
To get the most out of home baking, grow your own organic cannabis plants if you can. This is the best and cheapest way. Cure some for smoking, if you’re into that, dry everything else for baking. Remove any twigs, stalks, or fibrous material, and grind up all the rest in a high-powered blender.
Run it through a tight mesh sifter, then store shake flour in an airtight container in your fridge or freezer. Take out when ready to bake and keep a point scale in your kitchen. Once that is done, follow these eight tips to be a better home baker.
Consider Your Source
Indoor plants are stronger than outdoor as they have a denser trichome profile. You will use approximately half of the required amount from outdoor shake flour when using indoor grown plants for your recipes. Home bakers don’t need to use high-end cannabis. You can use lower-grade plants or leaves trimmed off the buds. Also, are your flowers free from pesticides? Bugs? Mold? You will not want to bake with moldy weed.
Consider Your Fats
Some oils’ smoking points are better for converting your cannabis than others. Some have flavors that are stronger. Butter is always a good source, but you could use any oil or fat. Olive oil. Grape seed oil. Coconut oil. Sesame oil. Peanut oil. Animal fats (bacon). Playing around with different fats is where all the fun happens. Consider crumbling some hash or kief on top of a pizza and watch the conversion with the cheese or pepperoni while it bakes.
Consider Your Temperature
There are no hard and fast rules for temperature when converting. The delta is somewhere between 200-350°F depending on what you are trying to achieve and your preferred fat. Low and slow was the failsafe method for decades, but we’ve learned you can get a very good conversion at higher temperatures even though you may lose some terpenes in the process. Conversely, other terpenes require higher temperatures in order to be released.
Consider Converting in Alcohol
I have made dozens of cannabis infusions by converting in alcohol first then adding that to my recipes. You don’t need a lab coat, ethanol, or a Bunsen burner. We home bakers need an oven and we can use any alcohol we like. Rum? Tequila? Black sambuca? Simply place some dried cannabis flowers and leaves on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes without burning it. Then, stuff a mason jar with those toasted plants and pour in your favorite booze. Seal with a tight-fitting lid and put away for a week, maybe two. Then strain and… voila! You can also put uncooked dried cannabis in a mason jar with your alcohol of choice, then double boil on the stovetop for a few minutes. This technique reduces some alcohol content while increasing cannabis conversion. Pay attention. You can simply put non-cooked cannabis in a jar with alcohol, too, but it won’t be as strong.
Consider Shelf Life
Let’s face it, cannabis is expensive. Making edibles that have a long shelf life will protect against waste. I prefer recipes that improve with age like rum balls or ginger snaps and avoid things like pastries and puddings that may not all be eaten right away. Oxygen and light are enemies of long-lasting food items. Think back to those old cookie tins with the super tight-fitting lids, designed to keep your cookies in the dark and without atmosphere. Get yourself a quality cookie tin. Sometimes, if you are lucky, those big, old-fashioned cookie tins can be found in a thrift store. Do your self a favor and buy one next time you see one. Also, you can freeze any uneaten edibles for a later date. By the way, it doesn’t have to always be sweets.
Marijuana is such a vibrant green color when fresh and sometimes even dry. After it is cooked, however, it can turn an ugly, cat puke, greenish-brown. Home bakers using raw plant material need to consider this in the final product. For example, shortbread versus gingersnap. The gingersnap will hide the color but shortbread… not so much, unless you are using a clear tincture. Home bakers use fresh or dried flowers. Adding tincture to foods is not home baking. Pick ingredients that will mask, complement, or enhance the cannabis color like spinach, lime zest, or creme de menthe.
Consider Potency Goals
A little, properly converted, cannabis can be very potent. The amount required for low-dose edibles is less than 0.25 grams of outdoor-grown marijuana and 0.12 grams converted yields around 10-15 mg, which means you could potentially make nine low-dose edibles with one gram. A little goes a long way.