The basic way to make Swedish snus at lower temperature and longer time

After many years of making snus at 90ºC (194ºF), I decided to go back to the original method I used when I started to use the slow cooker. From what I remember and what I have read on different forums, lower temperature and longer time make snus less bitter and richer in flavor.

The basic way to make Swedish snus at lower temperature and longer time

After many years of making snus at 90ºC (194ºF), I decided to go back to the original method I used when I started to use the slow cooker. From what I remember and what I have read on different forums, lower temperature and longer time make snus less bitter and richer in flavor.

Back to basic

Tobacco, water and salt

I decided to make this snus batch as I did when I first began to use a slow cooker to make snus. I start the batch with only water and salt and add the potassium carbonate after the heat treatment. The recipe I have used from the beginning differs a bit from the recipe in Medusa. I use a bit more of everything and I am so far satisfied with the result regarding moisture, pH, and salt. So that is what I use here too.

This is my recipe

The recipe I use for this batch is as follows:

  • Kungssnus Medusa tobacco 800 g (28.22 oz)
  • Water 1.2 l (1.27 qt)
  • Salt 136 g (4.8 oz)
  • Potassium carbonate 50 g (1.76 oz)
  • Kungssnus Base aroma 1 bottle
  • Roasted French oak powder 20 g (0.71 oz)

This is how I do

  • Add the salt to the water and heat it to a rolling boil.
  • Stir the solution until the salt has dissolved in the water.
  • Add the tobacco in a bowl and pour the hot water over it.
  • Add the oak powder.
  • Mix thoroughly until all tobacco is moist. No dry lumps should remain.
  • Put the roasting bag in the slow cooker and add the tobacco in the bag.
  • Heat treat the tobacco for 7 days.
  • Add the potassium carbonate and the base aroma.
  • Knead the snus for 5 minutes to mix it thoroughly.
  • Let it mature in a fridge for 5 to 10 days.
  • Knead the cold snus until you get the right consistency.
  • Flavor the snus to your liking.

Heat treatment

Kungssnus recommend heat treatment for 4 hours in a pressure cooker or 24 hours in an oven. But for this batch, I decided to pasteurize the snus for 7 days. When I started to use the slow cooker I heat treated the batch for 5 days, and if my memory is correct the taste was better back then. I have also read on snus-forums that longer pasteurization at a lower temperature makes a better tasting and less bitter snus. And as I have said before, I don't like bitter snus.

My Crock Pot heat source

My Crock Pot heat source

I don't cover the Crock-pot with my “cozy” as I use to do to keep the temperature lower, between 60º-70ºC (140-158ºF) without cover. With the “cozy” the temperature rises to 90ºC (194ºF) and for that temperature, 36 hours is enough. So hopefully my memory is correct and I get wonderful snus after the heat treatment and 2 weeks in the fridge.

The Kungssnus Medusa by the blender Magnus Bauer

On Snusfabriken.com you can read the following about the Medusa snus tobacco by the blender Magnus Bauer. This is the snus I decided to use for this low-temperature back-to-basic-test.

“A balanced mix of tobacco

Medusa is a well-balanced mix of different coarse grind tobacco of highest quality. With this, you get a batch if 2 kg snus when it's pasteurized and ready. The tobacco is delivered in a plastic bag inside a heat resistant plastic box. You can use the plastic box to pasteurize the snus in an oven if you don't have a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. You also get an empty can with the Medusa logo and a roosting bag to use in the pasteurization and a manual. The roosting bag help keep the moisture and the flavor in the tobacco.

The Kungssnus Medusa box

The Kungssnus Medusa box

Medusa is a new member in the Kungssnus family

According to Snusfabriken the taste is good, even with only base aroma. The development of Medusa has taken some time to get the perfect result. This is no scribble or low price product according to Snusfabriken.

After several tries

After several tries and pasteurization tests Magnus nailed it. The result is a mix of carefully selected tobacco, among others Oriental and Burley tobacco. The mix is carefully assembled and controlled with a large focus on smell and taste.

The taste of the tobacco

The taste can be described as a seductive woman, sufficiently sweet, a deep taste and a smell hard to pinpoint. Just as snus should be, that's Medusa. I want everything to be perfect, not only for me but for all customers and all my colleagues. I hope you agree and appreciate my work” writes Magnus on Snusfabriken.

If you follow the Kungssnus recipe

If you follow the manual for Medusa you will get snus with

  • Moisture content of 47,5%
  • Nicotine content of 0,78%
  • pH content of 8,0

Recommendations by Snusfabriken

Snusfabriken recommends pasteurizing for 4 hours if you use a pressure cooker, or 24 hours if you use an oven or slow cooker.

The mythology of Medusa

In Greek mythology, Medusa was one of the Gorgons, that is, one of three female monsters whose hair was of poisonous snakes. The three gorgons were sisters and were named Medusa, Stheno and Euryale and the three were daughters of the gods Forkys and Keto.

Of course, one of the sisters best known is Medusa. The two remaining sisters Stheno and Euryale are seen as immortal.

Medusa was once a very beautiful girl, but when Medusa had a deal with the sea god Poseidon, this did not suit the goddess Athena, after which she punished Medusa. Athena then transformed Medusa and gave her a blood-soaked look, turning her hair into winding snakes. "

/basic/medusa-by-carvaggio.jpg

Initially it smells lovely

Already when I opened the plastic bag I loved the smell of the tobacco. And when I added the boiling water this smell was further enhanced. Usually, the smell tends to change during heat treatment, but after the first day, it still smells lovely. If the result is as good as the smell I think this will be a success.

After the heat treatment

Adding potassium carbonate and base aroma

After the heat treatment it's time to add the potassium carbonate and the base aroma. If you don't have potassium carbonate you can use sodium carbonate, washing soda. Usually, I add the soda before the pasteurization but for this batch, I add it after.

I add it after to compare if it makes any difference in the taste. What I initially noticed during the heat treatment was that it did not smell as much as it usually does when I pasteurize with the soda added from the start. If it's because of the lower temperature or the lack of soda I don't know. Hopefully, the taste stays in the snus and doesn't evaporate.

The smell during the heat treatment was almost nothing. I had to put the nose close to the lid to smell any tobacco. But after the heat treatment when I added the potassium carbonate the smell filled the whole room. I don't mind the smell, I think it smells lovely. But you should be aware that it smells a lot at this stage.

The snus base aroma

The snus base aroma

A thorough stir

After I add the potassium carbonate and the base aroma I give the batch a thorough stir for 5 minuter in the dough mixer. I don't knead for consistency at this stage, I only want the carbonate and base aroma to mix well with the snus. I knead for consistency after the maturing stage after a couple of weeks.

Maturing in the fridge

You can begin using the snus right away, but I recommend to store it in a fridge for at least 5 to 10 days before you know how it's going to turn out. Usually, the snus tastes the best when it's almost consumed after a couple of months.

Plan ahead

So I advice that you always have a batch maturing in the fridge while you have another matured batch that you consume. Snus fresh out of the cooker can be a bit funky tasting. But after a couple of weeks, it's usually better tasting. I have heard of other home-makers that had to wait up to 6 months before the snus was OK to consume, so you have to be patient.

Flavoring the snus

My plan for this batch is to only use the base aroma, that's only humectant (E422 and E1520) and a bit of smoke aroma. But if I'm not satisfied with the flavor or if it is to bitter I often use:

  • Dark syrup or something sweet to balance any bitter taste.
  • Bergamot or some other citrus flavor (the General flavor) to balance any bitter taste.
  • Vanilla is always good in snus in my opinion, especially in combination with syrup and/or whiskey.
  • Whiskey is also good in snus.

My most used flavors, dark syrup, whisky, vanilla and bergamot

My most used flavors, dark syrup, whisky, vanilla and bergamot

As usual, I took a taste sample of the batch after carbonate and base aroma, and I must say I liked the taste. Usually, freshly-baked snus doesn't taste too good, but this batch was different. The taste was a bit like the smell from my grandfather's cigar boxes when I was a child. It was not at all bitter as many of my previous batches have been. So I'm looking forward to how this batch is developing during storage.

Almost anything goes

But you can use almost anything to flavor your snus. Leave the batch unflavored and try different flavors as you go, can by can. With this method, you don't ruin the whole batch if you don't like the flavor. You also will find out the amount of flavor that is right for you. If you add too much, you can't take it out again. I don't like snus that smells like a perfume bottle, less is more here.

What does the E-number in Swedish snus mean?

Only additives allowed in food may be included in Swedish snus. The letter E in front of the additive number means that the EU has deemed it safe to use the additive in food.

  • E422 Glycerol - is a humectant and consistency stabilizer. It is naturally present in vegetable and animal fat or is synthetically produced.
  • E500 Sodium carbonates - are acidity regulators and are included in baking powder, among other things.
  • E501 Potassium carbonates - are acidity regulators, also included in baking powder. Occurs naturally in plant ash but can be synthetically produced.
  • E950 Acesulfame-K - is a sweetener with 4g/kg as the maximum allowable additive.
  • E1422 Acetylate distarchdipat - is a humectant additive.
  • E1520 Propylene glycol - is a humectant additive.

Kneading for consistency

I let the batch mature for a couple of weeks before I try to knead the consistency. I also add any flavor at this stage as it's hard to tell when the batch is fresh out of the Crock-Pot. You have to come back for an update when it has matured a bit in the fridge.

Pictures

Wikipedia - Medusa by Carvaggio 1595 English: License: according to http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/about/license.html GNU-FDL or cc-by-sa-1.0 (here: PD-art)

Leave a comment

What is your favorite snus tobacco mix? Do you use it “natural” or do you add flavors? Leave a comment and let me know.

Take it easy and snus on.

Anders

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