Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So Simple, So Elegant- Why Didn't Anybody Think of This Before? Banish the Bain Marie! Plus, a giveaway for helping name this new process.

Sometimes students say the darnedest things, and sometimes those gems turn your head around when you think about the process of making thick, pasty aromatics pourable.

Michael Singels, a student from California, and a longtime member of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group I host, posted about a new, simple process in the student chat group for my perfumery course that literally made my mouth drop open.  I have read every post on the NP group for almost nine years, and I've been on many other forums, and I've never seen this.

Ready for this?  What to do instead of using a bain marie process to warm up thick aromatics so they can become liquid and mobile for use, or transfer from one bottle to another? First, for those who don't know what a bain marie is, it's a water bath. It can be as simple as heating some water in a cup and placing the bottle with the thick stuff in it, or as complex as a true "double boiler" type of set up for a large bottle or container.  The idea is to immerse the (closed) bottle up to about the neck until the aromatic is fluid, then remove it and pour it as needed.  Problem? If you heat the water too much, the bottle may burst.  Never happened to me, but I have heard of it. Second, it's messy, with water dripping - hot water - plus, some may get into the receptacle you're pouring into if you're not careful.  Not good. But the absolute worst problem is that the water usually destroys the label of the bottle.

So what did Michael devise?

He heated rice, put the rice in a mug, inserted the bottle into the hot rice. Simple. Elegant. Clean.

Here's Michael's description in detail:
I basically just cooked the rice at low temp in the oven to dry it out, maybe 200F for about 20-30 minutes.  I tried microwaving it once before heating in the oven and it clumped together a bit because of some of the moisture left in the rice.  
 
After it had been heated in the oven, I just popped it in a mug and heat it for a minute on normal setting for the microwave, stir it up, and set the bottle or jar in it until it is gently heated and more fluid.  If the rice isn't warm enough after a minute, I will stir and pop back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.  I haven't had to dry it in the oven again, the one time was enough.
 
Also worth noting, it will burn if you cook it in the microwave too long!  

I got the idea from the old pillows filled with rice that you heat to apply to back, joints, etc.  There may be a better material than rice to use, but it is what I could think of that I had on hand.
 
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OK, I think we need to come up with a name for this new method.  Bain michael? That suggests bath.  Well, it's a "dry" bath. I'm stumped.  Can somebody help by suggesting a name for this? Leave your comments before May 27 noon and you'll be in a random draw for a mini of one of my perfumes, your choice. 
 
And the winner is, chosen by random.org is ruhkewda who suggested "Mike's Rice Device", LOL.  I love it. Of course, with the randomness of human nature, the French will use their choice, there's the nod to Maria the Jewess, and just a lot of fun stuff in the mix.  I hope everyone had a good time, and Ruh, you have to post here to claim it.  If it isn't claimed by Sunday, it'll go to somebody else.  But Mike's Rice Device will be enshrined as the first, most random name of all for the discovery ;-)

35 comments:

  1. I am thinking "Bain Singels"

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  2. Or maybe "Singels Riz Chaud" process

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  3. Or "Singels Dry Heat" process

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  4. That is very cool. I've also used wheat packs in the microwave to wrap around viscous bottles of oil for the same effect. The optimum design would be a wheat pack shaped to fit a bottle in the middle - a sort of cup shape. The closest I've got is the Wondercap (www.wondercap.co.nz) which I've heated in the microwave and then placed into a large cup or small bowl. The bottle sits in the middle of that to loosen / warm the contents. A wheat pack shaped to fit a bottle would indeed be a specialised invention for perfumers, then it is re-usable, and inspired by Michael's simple solution!

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  5. Is this Aba from Ghana? ;-)

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  6. Simply fantastic - brings the term "rice warmer" to a new level :)

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  7. Well that was the last thing I expected when I got home! I'm flattered by the mention, blushing a little bit even. Thank you Anya!

    I hope others find that method helpful. I know it has come in handy for me several times over the last few years.

    Best wishes,
    Michael

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  8. Dry Bain Michael.

    There's my entry.

    Best,
    Sylvee

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  9. now all we need is a small cottage industry creating "rice socks" for frustrated natural perfumers to heat their little bottles in, grin!

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  10. The Marie of bain-marie was Maria the Jew, one of the earliest alchemists, perhaps the first Western alchemist. The word bain-marie is a mis-translation of one of her alchemical inventions, the kaminos maria (Maria's furnace.) Wouldn't it be great to move away from the culinary connotations of bain marie back to its alchemical roots? How about kaminos-michael? (Or translate it from Greek to English: simply Michael's heater or Michael's furnace.)

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  11. How about

    méthode de riz chaude

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  12. How about méthode de riz chaude?

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  13. Method riz-seche

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  14. Or, sillier, Michael's mug.

    Mug-Michael.

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  15. Hi Anya, Yes its Aba from Ghana

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  16. I really liked this tip from Michael. How about calling it The Singel's Method?

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  17. Ambrosia, your mental image makes me laugh and smile! :)

    Hmm, a name, a name... Singels Method.

    Tracy

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  18. rice for resin...

    ...like tears for fears.

    *grin*

    einsof

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  19. How about Mike's Rice Devise?
    -RuhKewda

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  20. I'm just cracking up at all of these suggestions!

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  21. I love it, simple and brilliant. How many times have I heated my rice-and-lavender-filled neck pillow for short bursts in the microwave? A lot.

    I'd just call it "Dry heat warming method" because the two key components are that it's dry heat and a slow gentle warming method.

    I also love how you're calling attention to it and acknowledging Michael for his brilliant innovation!

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  22. You can call it a rice pack, or a hot-rice pack. That sounds nice....

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  23. how clever, practical and elegant!

    Ragna

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  24. Ok, we have a winner, drawn by random.org. Ruhkewda, you have until Sunday to claim your prize.

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  25. The randomizer chose wisely! You can't say Mike's Rice Device without smiling.

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  26. This is a great notion...I wonder if my wrist warmers will work? Off to try it on some very sweet and sticky Labdanum.

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  27. Hi Anya,

    I was following the responses with great interest, and love the names that were offered up. What a fun post to follow!

    Thank you so much for gifting me with a mini as well, that is very sweet of you. I would love to say Blue Temple, but I know that one was a very special edition. ;-) I would like to choose Temple if I can, I fell in love with it all over again after revisiting it during the CaFleureBon Buddah blog.

    Thanks again, I hope the Mike's Rice Device comes in handy for any folks inclined to try it.

    Michael

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  28. Oh,my...this is actually thrilling for me; I think it's the very first time I have EVER won anything! I'm almost speechless, actually. Anya, I honestly cannot decide on which of your jewel perfumes, so I will ask that you pick whatever you think I may like or which is your favorite. That will be an honor for me and I will be surprized. Thank you so very much!
    -Ruhkewda

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  29. Ruh, glad you saw that you won! Maybe you'd like my sampler pack of my 10 perfumes instead? Hint: two have pandanus/kewda as topnotes! ;-)

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  30. Anya:
    Oh, that would be lovely! ANYTHING with Pandanus I will surely love. I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself. A million thank yous!

    -Ruhkewda

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