Dried bay leaves are most commonly used in stocks, soups and stews because they release their flavour so slowly. One bay leaf should be used for every two people – too many leaves will give too strong a flavour. Stale leaves have no flavour at all, so if your bay leaves have been sitting in the cupboard for a more than a year it’s time to replace them. Always remove the leaves from your dish before serving. Any leaves that are brittle and totally dry should be replaced – fresh bay leaves should be flexible and when snapped in half should release a eucalyptus-like scent.