The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Substituting honey with molasses or sugar when baking a sandwich bread

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Substituting honey with molasses or sugar when baking a sandwich bread

I got the Bread Bible Pullman Loaf sandwich bread recipe from Liam who posted it on this site.

I followed everything to the tee with the exception of butter because buying and finding real butter can be very difficult in the part of South Korea I live in.

I used 6 Tbspns of  sunflower oil, and it worked! (I was scared but I did my research online and from this site to find out that such substitution would be okay, and it was okay!)

I am wondering whether I could make substitutions next time for honey, since again, finding real honey is quite challenging in South Korea.

Can I use white granulated sugar OR homemade brown sugar (1 Tbsp molasses + 1 cup white granulated sugar for 1 cup of light brown sugar) OR molasses instead of honey?

The recipe linked above calls for 2 Tbspns of honey. Can I simply use 2 Tbspns of sugar/brown sugar/molasses?

It seems from reading and researching this site that honey would probably count as liquid ingredient, and sugar/brown sugar would count as dry ingredient.

I am a total beginner when it comes to breadbaking and the rate of hydration is still a breadbaking jargon to me....

So would it completely ruin everything if I substituted 2 Tbspns of honey with either 2 Tbspns of white granulated sugar OR brown sugar OR molasses?

Please, enlighten me!

 

P.S. I specified brown sugar as "homemade" because in South Korea, brown sugars (both light and dark) are made by adding caramel or syrup to add colour. They neither care nor value molasses. I've messed up about 10 batches of cookies to realize that it was the brown sugar that was really screwing up the result. I now buy bottles of Grandma's Gold Standard All Natural Unsulfured Molasses from a store far away from my house just to make sure that I get the real brown sugar made fresh at home using the ratio above. (1 cup light brown sugar = 1 cup white granulated sugar + 1 Tbsp molasses)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Yes, you can easily use white sugar.  You can leave it completely out if you so desire or reduce to just one teaspoon sugar per loaf.  I prefer less sugar in my bread recipes.  I think small recipes of cookies are more sensitive to substitutions than dough in this amount.  So not to worry.  A little bit of sugar with a dab of molasses will also work.  I do think two tablespoons of molasses might be too much flavour.  Use what tastes best to you. 

Hydration is figured by simply taking the water (milk) weight and dividing it by the flour weight then multiplying by 100 to read %.  

Example:  200g milk, 60g water and 450g bread flour:   (260/450) x 100 = 58% hydration) 

(If the recipe is in cups, the conversion can be tricky but I use 240g for one cup of water and 125g per cup of white wheat flour.  Unless it is a great amount (and the recipe calls only for a little bit for flavour) honey and granulated sugar are not added to this figure.  

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Oh, thank you Mini! I do prefer the taste and texture of more artisan bread rather than white fluffy sandwich bread, but I wanted to try baking this sandwich bread and see if I can recreate Wonderbread at home. The recipe was great, and it wasn't as sweet as I expected it to be. Maybe it was because of honey, but it was just right for this kind of bread, methinks

Thank you so much for your lesson on hydration. I think I'm getting the hang of it now :D

But one quick question.... how much is "a great amount of honey/sugar"? My previous attemps (very few, mind you) required no sugar at all. I baked ciabatta twice and french baguette once from the same recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, and the recipe called for flour, water, salt, and yeast (and a tablespoon of olive oil for ciabatta). So this is my first time ever working on bread recipe requiring ingredients other than those basic four (and olive oil). I am guessing 2 Tbspns of honey is not a great amount. How much would be considered "a great amount"?

Thank you in advance and thank you for your wonderfully helpful reply!

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Mini has answered perfectly.  The sugar may be in the recipe for flavor, or it may be there to give the yeast a boost.  If it is for flavor only you could substitute anything sweet, even an artificial sweetener.  If it is there to feed the yeast early in the fermentation you will need to use something that can be broken down into glucose.  Honey is about half glucose and half fructose which is what you get when sucrose is broken down by enzymes and made available to the yeast, so there is no significant difference between honey and table sugar when used for bread.

 

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Thank you, Doc. Dough, for your reply!

The thing is, I have just begun baking bread and I have no idea whether 2 Tbspns of honey was there for flavour or yeast booster. Is there a way to tell whether a sweetner (honey/sugar etc.) was there for flavour or for food for yeastie beasties? As I told Mini, this is my first time baking bread requiring something other than flour, water, yeast, and salt (and olive oil) so I did not know what to expect.

Thank you in advance and thank you for your reply!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A great amount of sugar might turn bread into cake and require more yeast and water to raise it.  Try looking up sugar and yeast in the site search box for more info and discussions.

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Ah... right. Cakes typically require sugar by cups, not in tablespoons.

I will definitely look up sugar and yeast in this site and do my homework.

Thank you for you input/reply! :D

mendozer's picture
mendozer

honey caramelizes at a lower temperature than sugar, about 236F compared to 355F because it's fructose vs sucrose.  This has nothing to do with sweetness really, but depending on how hot you're baking it, you may get a better tasting crust or crumb depending if there's caramelization of the sugars or not.

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Oh, I didn't know about carmelizing difference between honey and sugar. So that means if I use 2 Tbspns of white granulated sugar instead of 2 Tbspns of honey, I would get lighter crust/crumb?

I might just have to do more research and experiment baking with different sugars!

Thank you for your reply, mendozer!

mendozer's picture
mendozer

assuming you're baking above 350 like 375 or 400, you'll get sugar caramelization anyways. But at 350 you'll get less with white sugar.  Or to really prevent it, you could go down to 345 or so, it'll just take longer for your bread and I'm not sure how much that would affect your spring.

cherryadia's picture
cherryadia

Was baking at 200C (392F) in a really stupid convection/microwave oven that has no other settings but convection, grill, and microwave.

The recipe called for baking at 425F for 1 hour, and from working with my "convection" oven, I knew simply converting 425F to celsius would burn the whole thing up in no time. I lowered the baking temp to 200C (392F), but the oven still managed to burn the crust a bit (really dark brown... almost black) after 30 minutes of baking. I pulled it out before ruining the whole thing, and the outside crust was very slightly charred, but the inside was soft and fluffy. I might have to lower the temperature even more and experiment with sugar. I do like darker brown crust for artisan bread, but not for Wonderbread-like sandwich bread!

Thank you for your helpful info, mendozer!