Baking with Honey

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Measuring honey

If you want to measure exactly how much honey you are adding to a recipe, here is a neat trick.

Honey in cup

  1. Add a drop or two of oil to a measuring cup.
  2. Spread it around the cup with your finger or a paper towel so that entire inside of the cup is covered with the oil.
  3. Now the honey will effortlessly glide out of the cup.

This will work for measuring maple syrup, agave, and other viscous liquids.

My dirty little confession is that most often I just estimate how much honey I’m adding to something. And it works most of the time, but occasionally I pull out this technique to make sure my measurement is accurate.

Kinds of honey

There are many different kinds of honey. Honey can come from bees that hang around blackberries, clover, or apple orchards. Most often the honey you buy is a mixture. To learn more about the state of affairs for bees, read Fruitless Fall, by Rowen Jacobsen.

What I have found in my adventures baking with honey is that lighter honey is sweeter and has less “character” than darker honey. Darker honey has a stronger flavor, slightly more nutrients, and will more likely affect the overall taste of a recipe.

Note Make sure you’re buying 100% honey. There are a lot of cute bear containers out there that look like honey but they’re actually “honey” syrup, or they have other things in them besides honey.

To read more interesting stuff about honey, go to Honey.com. Also, Dr. Andew Weil has a post about honey, which is especially interesting for diabetics.

Baking with honey

Quite often you can replace sugar or agave syrup with honey when you’re baking or cooking. But not always. Honey is wetter than sugar, so it adds moisture to a recipe. This works well for a lot of baked goods, marinades, and sauces, but it’s not as reliable for recipes that you want to have a slight crunch or snap (which sugar provides).

Here are some quick tips on baking with honey…

  • In general, I have found that you can substitute equal amounts of honey and sugar for the equivalent sweetness. So 1 cup of honey equals one cup of sugar, agave, or maple syrup.
  • For those who do like accurate measurements, 1 cup of honey is equal to 340 grams, 12 ounces, or 16 tablespoons.
  • Honey bakes faster than sugar, so lower the temperature slightly when baking something with honey in it. Lower it about 10-25 degrees F.
  • You may need to reduce the amount of liquids if you are substituting honey for sugar. I generally avoid adding any liquid beyond the honey I’m adding, except for butter or oil.

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Posted in Dairy-Free, Desserts, Paleo, SCD, Tips, Vegetarian, Wheat-Free  |  10 Comments

10 Responses to Baking with Honey

  1. Janine says:

    It’s really pricey, but Manuka honey from New Zealand is supposed to be good for people with IBD and gut problems. I mix it in with smoothies and other stuff because I personally don’t care for the taste on its own. It’s certainly no cure all, but it can’t hurt to give it a whirl!

  2. Erica says:

    Janine, yes. I’ve heard it heals wounds very well also.

  3. Nuzi says:

    Where can you order Manuka honey? Can you find it at a Whole Foods?

  4. Bernadette says:

    Yes, you can find manuka honey at Whole Foods. Also, you can order it through amazon.com

  5. Danielle says:

    Do you have a good source for bulk honey online?

    • Erica says:

      I don’t. I did search on line and a bunch of seemingly good companies sell buckets of honey. What I do now is bring my jar into my local PCC (local to the Seattle area) and refill it with local honey. Maybe someone else can offer a resource. I have heard that it is advantageous to buy honey locally if possible for a number of reasons, including environmental reasons, the bees hang out in the same location as you do so they help seasonal allergies, and of course there is the International contamination of honey with sugar water. Remember this scandal about a year ago: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/394053_honey30.asp

  6. Elaine says:

    What subs do you recommend for ones who cannot use honey due the high carbs?

  7. Olivia says:

    I am a former (recovering?) sugar addict. I am trying to avoid adding any sweetener at all to most (well,all) recipes. I have found I like the banana cake, etc just fine without. I am also not a big fan of honey. For the sake of moisture- is there something I can add to recipes – almond milk? I am not much of a cook and am really trying to get the hang of SCD and cooking.
    What can I substitute if I want to leave out the sweetener but want to keep my baking from being too dry?

    • Erica says:

      To go without any sweetener you can add the equivalent amount of honey using dairy-free milk or water, BUT it does depend on the recipe because sometimes honey is helping to hold other ingredients together. You’ll definitely want the moisture from honey for baked goods using coconut flour. I tend to sub with maple syrup, and I know some use milk or water plus stevia. Again, depends on the recipe.

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