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  1. #1
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    Default Honey Recipes.... Chefs Opinion on it all

    Two months ago, I was hired to consult for a honey packing company along with 3 other chefs. The job was simple... come up with marketable recipes that use honey. Simple it was, yes and the pay was nice as well. Couldnt say no to it.

    However, I have seen two ships passing in the night so to say. See, a lot of people want recipes that really glorify the honey... the taste and flavor that is. However, to be honest, it is somewhat very diffacult to do that. Honey is a sweetner at the very basic with notes of whatever varietal it is however... it is the varietal tastes that get lost when using it in cooking and baking.

    It is like using a very expensive extra virgin olive oil or a very aged balsamic vinegar. These are best used at the end of the dishes. If they are used in the process of cooking and baking, the true flavor of those items are lost.

    At the very basic, it is BEST for the person who wants to cook and bake with honey NOT to look for the notes and charactorists of the honey to pull through. However, the first and farmost thing is to look to reduce or elimante any of the white sugar that is in recipes.

    There are exceptions, yes. But in the last two months, we have cooked near 1200 recipes and as chefs, have concluded this thought together.

    There are simple preperations, like salad dressings, that are exceptions to this. However, more complex things like Honey Almond Creme Brule, even using the strongest honey, it is still lost in the process of baking.

    I hope this helps people. I am not here to argue at all but to shed some light on this as I do think people, customers and beekeepers, have this notion that if they cook and/or bake with honey that there item should have a pronounced honey taste and flavor to it.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Chef Isaac; 12-28-2008 at 04:34 PM.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  2. #2
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    I think you are right about this Chef. A Swiss baker that I am friends with stated that he would take all the second grade honey I have because in making his pastries there is no difference in taste when using the second grade and "the good stuff." BTW he makes fantastic pastries.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
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    I agree. I'm not a professional chef, but I do a lot of baking.

    I use honey in my baking:

    1. because I'm a beekeeper and that's what beekeepers do.
    2. because I believe my baked goods brown better and nicer with honey.
    3. because honey is the only really environmentally friendly sweetener
    4. because I always have quite a bit of somewhat darkened melter honey to get rid of and that stuff works great for baking.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  4. #4
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    i would also add that it does give baked good a deep more complex flavor but it can not be singled out in such taste tasts.

    I would also add that, when you use honey, honey will extend the shelf life of goods sweetened with it.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    i would also add that it does give baked good a deep more complex flavor but it can not be singled out in such taste tasts.

    I would also add that, when you use honey, honey will extend the shelf life of goods sweetened with it.
    The thing that bothers me when I see recipes that use honey is that they usually have a small percent of honey. It seems to me that as beekeepers we should focus on recipes that would really utilize a lot of honey. I understand that in a commercial setting a tablespoon of honey times millions uses a lot of honey. But recipes handed out at farmers markets should include things like honey mustard dressings and similar items that get used frequently and contain a lot of honey.

  6. #6
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    your right but there is a max on hits with recipes containing a lot of honey... enough to make it a real note in the flavor and taste. I think what is best, from the cooks standpoint is to maxamize the honey and minimize the white sugar content.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    your right but there is a max on hits with recipes containing a lot of honey... enough to make it a real note in the flavor and taste. I think what is best, from the cooks standpoint is to maxamize the honey and minimize the white sugar content.
    I made vanilla ice cream once with honey. The honey was the dominant flavor for better or for worse. Honey mustard dressing, on the other hand, has mustard coming out way on top. So it seems like recipes with strong flavors could benefit from more honey when appropriate.

  8. #8
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    but see, it all depends on what it is paired with. For example, the honey in the ice cream. What other flavrs are competing with the honey? Nothing really with the exception of the milk or cream and maybe the vanilla. However, the mustard will outpower anything you try to pair with it. All the honey is doing is cutting the heat and the forwardness of the mustard.

    I have found the best application for honey is on glazes and honey being the main base for the glaze. Take honey, a little cayeene pepper, roasted garlic, and a smidge of soy sauce and rub a pork long with it. Sear it nicely, run it again with it, roast it and when it comes out of the over, brush the glaze on again.

    But this is only from what me and three other chefs came up with as far as opinions go when cooking with honey. Yes, exceptions like buckwheat honey vinagrette or organge blossom caramel sauce. But for the majority of cooking and baking applications, one should relook as to why they are using the honey. For me, I love it as a preservative in my breads and shelf life increases, which is nice.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  9. #9
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    Default Sweet Chili

    Here is a recipe for a great Chili...

    1 lb of hamberger
    1 lb of Italian sweet sausage
    One Onion
    2 Cans of Kuner's Chili Beans (40 oz size) though any type of Chili Bean will do
    1 Can of Peeled Diced Tomatoes (28 oz size)
    1/2 cup of Molasses
    1 cup of your honey
    Chili Powder

    Brown the hamberger and sausage mixing them. Dice the onion and mix with the browning meat.

    Once the meat is cooked well add the two cans of chili beans (I drain off most of the juice as I like my chili thicker, but it will be fine if you don't)
    Add the Diced tomatoes
    Add the 1/2 cup of Molasses and one cup of honey
    Add Chili powder to taste. Start with a small amount and let it mix in before adding more. Some like a stronger chili taste then others.

    Heat to just before boiling and then simmer over a low flame until ready to serve.

    Ways that I have served. In a bread bowl (shepherds bread with the top cut and inside partly removed. With shredded cheese on top. In a bowl and eaten with scoop corn chips.

    Enjoy. I have taken this to numerous outings and cookouts and have yet to bring back anything but an empty pot.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  10. #10
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    remove the molasses and add 1/2 of buckwheat honey.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  11. #11
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    Where the heck am I going to find buckwheat honey in Colorado?
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  12. #12
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    sorry
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  13. #13
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    I melt my cappings in a low oven and then let the wax harden and pour off the darkened honey. This is my baking honey. For me or for selling as baking honey. It doesn't taste as good straight, but as Chef points out, you can't tell the difference when you cook with it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    but see, it all depends on what it is paired with. For example, the honey in the ice cream. What other flavrs are competing with the honey? Nothing really with the exception of the milk or cream and maybe the vanilla. However, the mustard will outpower anything you try to pair with it. All the honey is doing is cutting the heat and the forwardness of the mustard.

    I have found the best application for honey is on glazes and honey being the main base for the glaze. Take honey, a little cayeene pepper, roasted garlic, and a smidge of soy sauce and rub a pork long with it. Sear it nicely, run it again with it, roast it and when it comes out of the over, brush the glaze on again.

    But this is only from what me and three other chefs came up with as far as opinions go when cooking with honey. Yes, exceptions like buckwheat honey vinagrette or organge blossom caramel sauce. But for the majority of cooking and baking applications, one should relook as to why they are using the honey. For me, I love it as a preservative in my breads and shelf life increases, which is nice.
    I am not a Chef but I do understand what you are saying. My complaint (if you want to call it that) is that there are way too few recipes that take a lot of honey. I understand some of the reasons why, but I'll bet a really ambitious Chef could figure out recipes that have large percentages of honey by first deciding what is already out there with dominant flavors and a lot of sweetener.

  15. #15
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    HVH:

    I think you missed one of my points. We take a recipes, say for creme brule that calls for a large amount of sugar, we do three tests... one test at sugar at 75% and honey at 25%, another test at 50% sugar amnd 50% honey and the last test at 75% honey and 25% sugar. We take the creme brule recipe that called for SUGAR and replaced most of it with honey. Are you going to tast the honey. Yes because there are only 5 tastes. You will taste sweetness. As far as the flavor goes, you will notice a deep flavor in the end product but to the may person, they will not know off the top that it was honey being used.

    I am not sure how much more ambitious one could be since that company hired 4 chefs to work on this project. We are not dumb and throw in the towel and give up. That is why we have came up with this conclusion. Not after one test but after many many many tests.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  16. #16
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    To properly address honey, and how it reacts with different ingredients, methods of cooking and preparation in recipes, you need to analyze the key constituents of honey.

    Certainly, cooking will diminish the aromatics in honey. Any wine or coffee taster will acknowledge that the mouth is not the only receptor in the human body which distinguishes flavors. Your nose plays a very important part in tasting the primary and subtle aromas which constitute the flavor of an individual ingredient or combination of ingredients. Therefore, if the honey is processed by your receptors as close to the original form (as in ice cream), you will be much more likely to identify honey as a primary ingredient. Cooking/baking will cause most of the flavonoids and aromas within honey to dissipate.

    As a winemaker in my early years, I learned to distinguish subtle differences within varieties, vintage years and even the length of fermentation within a specific variety. Likewise, tasting food uses these senses. It is indeed a learned process - I cringe when I have dined at a fine restaurant, and an adjacent table is so inebriated that they could have enjoyed a Big Mac as much as the entrees presented before them...

    Once, we were dining at a quaint local seafood restaurant, known for its fresh fare. Several of us ordered an initial cup of clam chowder, and others tasted the chowder, as it had a very nice finish, and everyone was intrigued by the taste. It was just a hint of something, which added so much to the palate. Of ten guests at the table, several thought it might be white wine added to the soup, others perhaps tarragon, others didn't have a clue. I asked the waiter to please ask the chef how much saffron he added to the chowder. In all of his days serving the soup - never had anyone ever guessed his "secret ingredient". I guess it isn't secret any longer.

    MM

  17. #17
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    that is a nice story MM. Saffron has such a prounced flavor and color. Interesting.

    I would make one note though. It is important for people to understand that the taste buds in your mouth only TASTE. They tell your body if it is sweet, salty, bitter, etc. The process of air pasing through your nostrals helps you figure out what the flavor is.

    Case in point... take a starburst candy and unwrap it. Plug your nose and place in the mouth. Roll it around and chew it a little while your nose is still plugged. That is taste.

    Unplug your noise and that is flavor!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  18. #18
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    However, Isaac - in your original posting you indicated both taste and flavor. In the mouth, you will find nares - the openings of the sinus cavities which are connected to your pharynx and nose. There is a mixing of flavor components with the air in your mouth when you eat food or drink beverages, and the air is then expelled through the nares into your nose, where the olfactory bulb is located (this is retronasal smelling). In addition, we can add the sensory stimulation from the scents entering the nostrils (this is orthonasal smelling).

    Flavor is described by two, perhaps three combined senses: taste, smell and often chemical stimulation. A good way to show that you must have both your taste buds and your olfactory receptors to properly taste foods is to dull your taste buds with some hot peppers. The capsaicin oil will effectively eliminate your ability to use your taste buds for a while, however you will still be able to pick up some of the taste of the food using your olfactory receptor. In other words: you can't have flavor without both taste and smell receptors. That is why the only way I can swallow nasty cough syrup is to pinch my nostrils shut!

    MM

  19. #19
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    We disagree, but that is ok
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    HVH:

    I think you missed one of my points. We take a recipes, say for creme brule that calls for a large amount of sugar, we do three tests... one test at sugar at 75% and honey at 25%, another test at 50% sugar amnd 50% honey and the last test at 75% honey and 25% sugar. We take the creme brule recipe that called for SUGAR and replaced most of it with honey. Are you going to tast the honey. Yes because there are only 5 tastes. You will taste sweetness. As far as the flavor goes, you will notice a deep flavor in the end product but to the may person, they will not know off the top that it was honey being used.

    I am not sure how much more ambitious one could be since that company hired 4 chefs to work on this project. We are not dumb and throw in the towel and give up. That is why we have came up with this conclusion. Not after one test but after many many many tests.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply anything. In the sciences one might arrange a database of recipes and sort it systematically first for high sugar content and then by a list of strongly flavored items. If the database was large enough this approach might produce hundreds of recipes where sugar could be replaced with honey. This would probably be more fitting to a honey marketing agency than a chef.

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