The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Favorite local honey

Felila's picture

Favorite local honey

My daughter gave me a Whole Foods gift card for Christmas. A few days ago, I entered the portals of "Whole Paycheck" for the first time; I'd been avoiding the only Honolulu store, opened last year, because I'm poor.

It wasn't as bad as I feared. If I shopped carefully, I could find foods that were as cheap or even a few cents cheaper than they are at my health food co-op.

But I did use the card for one wild extravagance: I bought an 8-ounce jar of Hawaiian white honey mixed with likiloi puree. I'd been wanting to taste some ever since I read about the honey in a cookbook I was editing. The jar was something like $14.

Was it worth it? It's delicious. I just now ate some honey, fresh bread, and unsalted butter. If money were no object, I'd have it in the refrigerator at all times.

Since money IS an object, I'm going to make the jar last as long as possible. Perhaps daydream about it afterwards. The honey is unheated, unfiltered, thick, white, and delicate in flavor.

Do y'all have favorite local honeys?


spsq's picture

Once, a friend of a friend offered me 2 gallons of his own honey for payment of a favour.  I was slightly annoyed:  i needed cash, but how could I insult him, and what was I going to do with 2 gallons of honey? (wasn't a bread baker yet!)

He assured me it was waaayy better than the honey I bought at the farmer's market, saying his bees were fed by blah blah blah and he knew the farmer and HIS bees only ate blahblahblah.

I passed on most of the honey to my dad's wife, kept a little.  When I knew I was going to run into him again, I figured I'd better taste it, then make something up about how great it was.


WHAM!  I couldn't believe it!  It WAS amazing - noticably better than farmer's market, and I sure preach to people who buy mass marketed honey.  I couldn't believe that 2 local honeys could have such different tastes!  And that I would be able to tell!


I've been trying to track him down now for 3 years - farmer's market will have to do for now!

virginiann's picture

I fell in love with the local honey here last year when I started baking. I've had a Gastric By Pass and can no longer digest sugar, or sugar alcohols. So I had to find something that I could digest and I found honey. We had a local "Honey Bee Man" store and I could not believe all the different honey's out there. We live in Arizona and like the Mesquite as well. Since it does cost a bit more than store bought I stick to our favorite and that is Orange Blossom. I use it now exclusively in my baking.  


davidg618's picture

Since moving to Florida I've been experimenting with local Orange Blossom honey. I usually make pyment which is a fermented mixture of grape juice, honey and water. All of them have been fully fermented (dry wines).

The meads I've made, so far, are amazing. All of them have had a distinct, but not overpowering, hint of orange in their tast profiles. I've entered two of them in a Florida brewing club's national mead competition and won the bronze medal both times.

David G

edh's picture

We keep a couple of hives in our backyard, and the honey is amazing (not boasting; they do all the work after all!). Some years they produce enough that we can sell a little bit, but mostly we use any extra for bartering and Christmas presents. Folks seem to really notice the difference in the local versus store bought. 


Bixmeister's picture

I am a big fan of honey.  My wife and I hold a mead making party for our homebrew club, QUAFF here isn San Diego.

When I bake using active rather than instant yeast I proof with honey rather than sugar.  This is not scientific but my observation is a more active reaction using honey in place of sugar.

Has anyone had similar experience proofing with honey.


Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

... Mummy was a little girls and we rode in horse-drawn coaches I was taught to activate yeast with sugar. I did try honey and it worked, there was no difference to the result.

But it's not necessary to activate yeast of any kind, unless you think that it might be dead. If it's dead you'll soon know and it won't harm your bread - or you. The bread just won't rise so you use a different yeast.

Even further back in history, before sugar was known, people made leavened bread. Why make things complicated?

davidg618's picture

Or, more accurately, an equal amount of honey contains about 20% more sugar than sugar.

I know, that sounds dumb;-)

David G.

jstreed1476's picture

All my favorite honeys are local--especially when they're from the farmers' market and I get to talk apiculture with the vendor. Even when they're not great, they're better than supermarket stuff. Also, my wife travels a lot, and she brings me honey from all over the country.

My dad kept bees when was a kid and honey was always on the table, for every meal. Extracting season created some of my best memories of growing up in the country.

We gave the stuff away by the quart--sometimes the gallon. Our bees had access to standards like clover, but there were also alfalfa and buckwheat fields and several fruit tree orchards nearby, so most years it was a rich, complex mix. Darker than the supermarket standard, but not so dark that it was an acquired taste.

He stopped keeping bees around '82 and we finished the last quart of that honey about 2-3 years ago.

Gosh, I like the smell of honey.

ehanner's picture

Years ago I made friends with a family near here when they called on me to do some computer work. I don't usually charge friends and family but we do share our talents and skills as a way of bartering. These folks were bee keepers and the husband was involved in the State association here in Wisconsin. Over the years I have come to appreciate the best honey you can imagine. The fields in WI (the dairy state) are filled with all sorts of grasses and grains that result in full flavor honey.

One thing I have learned is that most of the honey found in the grocery is from China. Some times it is marked so, but due to the laws that cover this product when it is cut/diluted/modified and stretched with things other than pure honey, sometimes it is not. If the product description doesn't say 100% pure honey, harvested in the USA, it isn't.

Supporting your local bee keeper is one of those things that has far reaching benefits. We really need a healthy bee population to pollinate most of what we eat. The bee's have been stressed for the last few years and many have died mysteriously. They are starting to come back now in the mid-west, slowly.

As bakers, we have a vested interest in local honey and the bees that produce it. I would encourage everyone to find a local source for this wonderful nector.