While not as sweet as sugar, molasses can be used as a sugar replacement. When baking with this ingredient some considerations should be taken into account:
Note: Molasses is a liquid and therefore makes baked goods more moist with a chewier texture. Always consider this when you want baked products that need to be dry or crunchy.
- Substitution of sucrose: 1 cup of sucrose can be substituted with 1 ⅓ cup of molasses. The liquids must be reduced to account for the molasses water content.
- Substitution of brown sugar: to substitute 100 grams of brown sugar mix 90 grams of sucrose with 10 grams of molasses.
- Acidity: molasses is more acidic than sucrose. Therefore, the addition of ½ teaspoons of baking soda per cup of molasses is essential.
- Color: molasses imparts a dark brown color to baked goods. No more than half of sucrose should be replaced with it. For gingerbread cookies, dark varieties are used along with lower levels of baking soda to avoid over darkening.
- Flavor: it can impart a strong characteristic flavor to baked goods and confections.
- Softening: the high water absorption capacity may cause quicker softening of cookies
Functions in baking include:
- Sweetening: contributing to sweetness, although with lower intensity than sucrose. Its sweetness decreases as color darkens
- Flavor: providing a broad and complex range of flavors, from caramel to bitter notes
- Color: providing a dark brown color and disguises grey or grey-brown tones
- Humectancy: retaining moisture due to its water absorption capacity
- Moistness and softness: aid in the retention of moistness and softness
- Subtract for Maillard: providing part of subtract necessary for the browning Maillard reaction
- Buffering: its salt content (2-9%) provides a buffering effect that contributes to pH stabilization in fermented products
- Leavening: natural acids found in it can aid with leavening along with baking soda
- Preventing/retarding staling: due to its water absorption capacity
The flavor of molasses is distinct and unique.
Made from the boiled syrup of crushed sugar cane, light molasses is the product of that remains after white sugar is initially extracted from cane juice. Its light fruity flavor is best used in baking sweets and candy.
Made from the second round of boiling cane syrup once white sugar has been removed, dark molasses can be used both for savory and sweet recipes as it has a distinctly fuller flavor, making it ideal for bread and biscuits.
Made from the third round of boiling cane syrup, its dark and thick consistency is distinctly sweet and bitter and is ideal for baked beans, a meat marinade, and barbeque sauce.