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All cooked flavors present creative challenges, and this is especially true of meat flavors. Complexity is part of the problem because all cooked flavors are intrinsically much more complex than their uncooked brethren, although the biggest challenge is often the lack of a natural balance within the flavor.

All too often, meat flavors are hollowed out caricatures of the real thing; bright, often fiercely pungent sulfur top notes underpinned by a slothfully heavy lactonic base. The missing middle notes are always the hardest part to recreate. 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran-3-one (FEMA# 3373, CAS# 3188-00- 9) has a deceptively light and simple aroma, distinctly like fresh-baked bread, with nutty, brown and almost ethereal undertones. However, it can be used to good effect as a middle note in almost any cooked flavor category.

Higher levels of this ingredient tend to confer a distinctly more roasted profile and blend especially well with other roasted and meaty notes such as pyrazines and 2-methyl-3-tetrahydrofuranthiol (FEMA# 3787, CAS# 57124-87-5), but lower levels can find many different avenues of use. The dose rates given in this article are levels to be used in flavors that are intended to be dosed at 0.05% in a ready-to-drink taster, beverage or bouillon.

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