Maybe you tried raw honey for the first time, and maybe you fell in love and took some home. Months later, maybe the jar you purchased is sitting in the back corner of a cupboard, neglected and slowly crystallizing (which, for the record, is a good thing).
If this sounds familiar, we can help. What do you do with raw honey? So many things, but one of our favorites: bake with it.
Why substitute honey for sugar? Baking with honey can produce a golden crust, distinctive flavor, and moist texture, and each unique varietal gives the final product a unique point of view.
We're believers, and we've collected the following tips and tricks to help you along the way.
1. 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 (shared across generations and printed on the back of each Bee Raw honey jar) works best: remove the container's lid, and warm the container in very 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.)
2. 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 no problem.
3. Balance 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 in the recipe 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 2 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.
4. 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.)
5. 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.
6. 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. Granulated sugar may play a critical role (creaming, holding air in a batter) in some recipes. If you suspect this is the case, substitute only half the sugar for honey in the first batch, then adjust as needed.
7. Play with flavor
Now the fun really begins. Honey's flavor varies with the type of flower the bees worked to produce it. A single floral source gives each Bee Raw honey its varietal name: from Orange Blossom to Sweet Yellow Clover to Sourwood and more.