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Honey

Honey Please

Honey is that sweet stuff which causes all sorts of issues.  Let's talk about them....

First a tip - if you are measuring by volume honey tends to be hard to get out of your spoons and cups.  So, if there is also oil in the recipe, measure the oil first and then the honey will just slide out of your spoons or cups.  This works with other thick liquid sweeteners.

And now, we get into the issues with honey.

Vegans avoid honey, and infants shouldn't eat it.  Luckily,  other sweeteners can be substituted.  Most honeys have a light taste, so picking an alternate sweetener can change the recipe a lot.  Some people use molasses, but we find it makes the bread taste salty and heavy.  We prefer to use agave syrup, light Maple syrup, Steen's Ribbon Cane Syrup or Sorghum Syrup.  All work well for us.

Interestingly enough, not all honey is honey.  A while back China shipped some contaminated honey to the United States.  That caused the US to ban honey imports from China.  At that point, China sent their honey to India where it was filtered to remove all pollen and then sent to the United States.  It turns out you can analyze the pollen in honey and determine where it came from.  However, without the pollen it is not longer honey, it's just sugar syrup.  I'd suggest buying honey from reliable sources, and which are local to you.

Honey has enzymes that can impact the rise of the dough.  This is especially true of raw honey.  To minimize this, you can blanch the honey.  Mix the honey called for in the recipe with some of the water, stir and heat to a boil.  Turn off the heat and let the honey water cool before using it.  Many honey purists blanch at that idea saying that heating the honey destroys many of the healthful properties of the honey.  My response is, hey, it's being put in bread which will be put in the oven and baked.  The damage you're worried about will happen no matter what, but if you blanch the honey it won't impact the rise.  Just have some more unheated honey on the bread - it'll taste great!

 

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