Bay leaves are a fragrant addition to soups and sauces. The leaves release flavor slowly and are removed after cooking.
Bay leaves are one of the few herbs that are used dried instead of fresh. Because of this, the leaves don't break down when cooking, so if you're serving dinner to children (or really anyone who isn't keeping a watchful eye on what they eat), it's important to remove the bay leaf from the pot lest its sharper edges pose a choking hazard. Bay leaves are interesting-- a novice cook might be tempted to not even include bay leaves because their flavor impact is so subtle, but the moment you add one too many bay leaves to the pot, your savory soup tastes more like a medicinal tea than dinner. Despite all these tricks and twists, bay laurel leaves flavor soups in a way that can't be replicated with other herbs. Bay leaves are an important part of the French "bouquet garni" bundle of herbs and have been used in Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years.
Recipes with Bay Leaf