Using honey instead of sugar when baking and cooking
Cooking with honey seems like the most natural way to go. After all, honey is super healthy and contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But cooking and baking with honey are a lot harder than you may think.
Table sugar and honey have two different structures.
Honey retains moisture, gets a beautiful brown crust during baking, and imparts unique flavours. Honey is sweeter than sugar, so if the incorrect ratio is used, your baking will be too sweet, have a strange chewy texture, and the cooking time will be different.
Let's explore more on the intricacies of cooking with honey.
Why substitute honey for sugar?
Honey is superior to sugar because it has more vitamins and minerals, is sweeter, and raises blood sugar more slowly. It is unrefined and natural. It also will keep your baked goods moist longer. However, note these things:
- Honey adds moisture that table sugar does not have.
- Honey is much denser (weighs more per cup)
- Honey adds its flavour to the finished product
- Honey adds acid to a recipe,
- And honey can cause baked foods to be brown more quickly.
Baking with honey: Some tips
Loosen it up. Raw honey crystallizes, and that's a good thing. But measurements matter to bakers, and all those tasty lumps and crystals can be... confusing. So the first step? Loosen it up. The tried and true method is to remove the container's lid and warm the container in hot water, stirring every five minutes.
If time gets away from you or you don’t have that kind of patience, the microwave can be your friend. Microwaves and raw honey might not seem like a wise pairing, but don't be afraid to use technology to your advantage. Just take it slow; a mere 10-15 seconds at a time will do. (Stir to check consistency between each zap.)
Oil the cup. Make sure all of your carefully measured honey gets into the recipe with this trick. Just brush or spray the liquid measuring cup with oil before measuring, and the honey will slide out with no problem.
Balance your liquid and dry ingredients. Baking is a balancing act. When substituting honey in recipes calling for 1 cup or more of sugar, reduce the other liquids by ¼ cup for every 1 cup of honey. In cookie recipes using eggs, or in recipes with no other liquids, increase the flour by two tablespoons for each cup of honey.
You can use a one-to-one substitution of honey for sugar in most yeast breads, muffins, pancakes and waffles.
Add baking soda. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda for every 1 cup of honey used. (For the chemistry-inclined, this reduces the acidity of the honey, which averages 3.9 on the pH scale.)
Watch the sweetness. Because of its high fructose content, honey is sweeter than sugar. If a one-to-one substitution makes the finished product too sweet, reduce the amount of honey, using ½ to ¾ as much honey as white sugar in the recipe.
Take it low and slow. Go low. For recipes not designed for honey as an ingredient, reduce the oven temperature by 25ºF to avoid over-browning.
Go slow. In some recipes, granulated sugar may play a critical role (creaming, holding air in a batter). If you suspect this is the case, substitute only half the sugar for honey in the first batch, then adjust as needed.
If you’re ready to start baking with honey, here are two recipes to flex your muscles courtesy of allrecipes.com. They have an extensive collection of dishes that contain honey, and two of our favourites are Honey Wheat Bread and Honey Ribs. We think you should definitely try them.
Where to buy honey in Canada?
Are you looking to buy honey in Canada? Look no further! Here at OneRoot, we strive to provide the best-tasting, cleanest products to you and your loved ones. We also strive to provide the best care for our planet and all its beings.
Shop OneRoot for your premium organic honey.