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  1. #1
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    Default Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I am about to embark on my first try at making creamed honey (this is just for Christmas gifts, not commercial).

    I bought a jar of creamed honey to use as starter, and couldn't help a bit of a taste-test. It's HARD. Like, harder than my home-crystalized honey! It is very fine and smooth, but I would like my creamed honey to have the consistency of room temperature butter, or at least something easily spreadable.

    So - the one idea I've gotten on here is to very slightly heat up my starter creamed honey until it's the consistency I want. And.... is that it? Assuming I keep my temperatures in the 50-60 range? Any other tips on getting that great spreadable consistency when starting with a hardened starter?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    My normal crystallized honey is hard as a rock. I couldn't tell if it was "fine and smooth". There are several threads about different ways to make the stuff in this area and the "Products of the Hive" area in the last 6 months.

    Mine would be difficult to spread on corn bread, but on rolls, toast and harder breads it spreads fine. In fact if you put it on hot toast it starts melting before I can get the peanut butter over the top.

    When I first started making it, it never really set up that hard. It was always a little runny for my taste. I assumed that was because I mixed it when the honey was in the 80's. I now mix with both the liquid honey and the starter in the 60's and get what I consider to be the best in the world. Others may have other opinions.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    If you want to affect the fineness of the starter you grind it. I have a flour grinder for this purpose.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Hm, I'm not sure if I explained myself well. The creamed honey that I bought to use as a starter is certainly small grained (not sure if my terminology is right...), so it doesn't seem like grinding it to get finer grains would solve the problem. It's just *hard*, even though once in your mouth it melts smoothly. Like, difficult to get a butter knife into, you almost have to chip it out of the jar. I always thought (based on some oooold memories) that creamed honey had the consistency of margarine. Is my memory off, or did I just buy some really old/wrong creamed honey?

    Starting with hard (i.e. very firm) creamed honey (but truly creamed, with fine grains) as my seed, will I end up with hard creamed honey?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    two weeks ago I bought some 'silverbow' creamed honey as my starter. It originaly came just as you described.

    I think my jar got frozen or somthing as it was really hard at first, and then just chunked out. The layer on the top I removed and threw away as it did not look right and was all white. Then I stirred it up the rest and it turned into the same as soft butter.

    I used it as my starter and my batch is now in the garage - All I did was put some of the starter in a bowl with some honey and then used a hand blender to get it really liquid. Then put it in my final container and added the rest of the honey - mixed with a spoon just a bit and then letting it sit. Let you know in a week how it turned out

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Quote Originally Posted by memcnult View Post
    Like, difficult to get a butter knife into, you almost have to chip it out of the jar.

    Starting with hard (i.e. very firm) creamed honey (but truly creamed, with fine grains) as my seed, will I end up with hard creamed honey?
    Well, I have never seen creamed honey that you had to chip out of a jar. I would think that it would be difficult to get it mixed evenly with your liquid honey. I noticed that our Winco sells creamed honey now. I would buy a small amount in a soft container that I could squeeze to make sure that it was a consistency that I wanted.

    I will say that several years ago when I first made a batch for myself I bought some creamed honey and when I got home and opened the container it was almost liquid (opposite of your problem). It wasn't at all firm but the batch I made set up fine.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I'm by no means an expert - but I don't think the consistency of your starter honey does not matters as much as the temp you mix it at.

    The temp of the starter and your honey, and then the temp it is allowed to cure in.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Quote Originally Posted by pokerman11 View Post
    .....but I don't think the consistency of your starter honey does not matters as much as the temp you mix it at.
    I'm pretty sure that I have read that the crystal size of your starter will influence the crystal size of the finished creamed honey. So you want to start with a good quality starter. Obviously I didn't and it worked out. I think that my first batch was 5 lbs and I used a half pound of starter. I turned out okay and I used some of that for the next batch. The stuff that I make now is a lot better though, in my opinion.

    I am on my 7-8th generation of creamed honey.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I thought I read somewhere that moisture content determines how hard or soft the final product will be -- totally independent of crystal size. The drier the honey, the harder it sets up. I think that's why the Dyce process recommends honey at a moisture content of 17 to 17.5% to get a spreadable (but not runny) product at room temperature.

    I have also read where you can "condition" honey that's too hard by putting it in a warm environment for a period of time to make it soften up permanently. Can't remeber the specifics -- maybe 80 to 85 degrees for 12 to 24 hours or something along those lines.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    To soften the final product, gently heat it up until it gets to the consistency you want and it tends to stay softer after that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Michael, is your creamed honey smooth textured yet hard? Something you would have to dig out of the jar w/ a spoon?

    I want my creamed honey to be smooth and spreadable. Something you can spread w/ a table knife, a butter knife.

    We have a grain grinder that we haven't used for years. It is bolted down to the table in the kitchen. It has steel plates in it. We got it from Lehman Hardware in Kidron, OH. Do you think that that is the sort of grain grinder that you refered to?

    Can you explain your process in detail, please? I want to make about 360 lbs of creamed honey each batch. Thanks.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Yes, I am referring to a flour grinder that can make fine flour. Sometimes it's difficult to get it out, of course, but you can either warm it enough or just dig at it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I read the Dyce Process paper that Nic Calderone wrote, which Joel posted the link to. It talked about the problems of heating. It also talked about grinding, but didn't say how. It seems like one needs to do some trial and error work to get what they really want.

    I want soft spreadable creamed honey which is fine grained, smooth on the tongue. I have some work ahead of me, I guess.

    Thanks Michael.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you want to affect the fineness of the starter you grind it. I have a flour grinder for this purpose.
    Michael - I have read several times of you using a flour grinder. The picture in my mind's eye is a messy one. I assume it works OK or you wouldn't use it, but I just can't see a 'gooey' substance like creamed/crystallized honey flowing through a grinder well. Any tricks to it? I missed a flour grinder at a recent estate auction that went for a low bid and will jump on the next one I find. I just didn't think I had a reason to own that one or would have, now I will think twice about letting one get away!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Everything you do with honey is very messy.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Just want to double check, grain grinder and not food processor, right?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Yes. I'm using a flour grinder, not a food processor. I don't think a food processor would work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    Only the glucose fraction of honey crystalizes. When the glucose falls out of solution, as crystals, it releases the water that has been bound to it. The release of water causes the total moisture content of the liquid fructose fraction to increase and 'possibly' ferment. If seed crystals near 30 microns are used, the mouth is unable to detect it as granular, so it seems smooth. So creamed honey is really the glucose fraction of honey crystalized and suspended in liquid fructose. Creamed honey made from high glucose honeys and low moisture content tend to make for a firm product. That same tub of creamed honey that is as hard as a rock will be much creamier in the summer months. I place my creamed honey in an incubator at 42C for a couple days prior to delivering to stores.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I bought a pound of creamed honey several years ago to make 10 pounds of starter. My creamed honey is firm and will stand in the container as the remainder is removed. The 2 lb container that I am personally using now is about 3" deep. I always have a little that flows out and covers the bottom of the container, but the majority of it stands by itself.

    It is easy to spread with a table knife and I don't have to scrape at all. It isn't nearly that hard (maybe a little stiffer than creamy peanut butter, but similar). It spreads easily on most bread, but cornbread would probably not work with it and I use liquid honey for that.

    You can probably find other threads about this, but I combine my liquid honey and starter (10:1) when the temperature of both is in the upper 60's. There is no sign of crystals on your tongue in the finished product.

    Many people that I sold it to called for more, so I am not just biased. I mostly experimented with the mixing temperatures. I settled on the high 60's for the best texture.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Consistency of Creamed Honey - Starter vs. Finished Product?

    I had canola honey crystallyzing in a pail and it was huge ugly crystals. I ordered the creamed the honey kit from DADANT (M00506 CREAMED HONEY KIT).

    It came with a pail, stir rod, containers, labels seals and starter seed. I was expecting the starter to be a package of creamed honey but it was fine crystalled sugar. The instructions called for daily stirring using the tool and a drill.

    I liquified the honey, let it cool and mixed it up. The outcome was the finest (and still butter textured) honey I have ever eaten. Any friends I gave honey to, have all bought more.

    The mixer WILL be TOO SMALL for a 360 gallon batch though.

    Alex

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