Whether you are a professional baker, a hobbyist, or just someone who loves doing his/her little cooking in the kitchen, one ingredient found in nearly every food; is molasses!
And there are many good reasons you should use molasses in your cooking, from sweetening barbecue sauces and thickening the texture of baked beans to making baked goods like gingerbread, soft, chewy, and brown cookies.
But the teething problem is there are different types of molasses, each with its unique characteristics and uses.
Imagine using one in place of another in a recipe.
Well, it will affect the taste and color of your meal, which is why it is crucial to understand the different molasses varieties: Light molasses, Dark molasses, Blackstrap molasses, Unsulfured, and sulfur molasses.
What are Molasses?
Molasses is a syrup made from the extraction of sugar cane or other plants. It’s usually dark in color, but it can also be white.
Molasses is used to add flavor to food, especially in savory dishes. It’s often used in traditional American desserts like biscuits, pie crusts, cakes, and cookies.
You can also use molasses to sweeten coffee and tea or make drinks like hot chocolate or mulled wine. The molasses taste varies depending on the plant type; some varieties are sweeter than others.
The most common types are blackstrap molasses and turbinado sugar (also known as raw sugar). In addition to adding flavor to food, molasses is sometimes used as a thickener. It can be mixed with water or milk to make thick sauces like gravy or sauce for meatballs.
See Also: Types of Coffee Beans
Most Common Types Of Molasses
1. Light Molasses
Light molasses is a type of molasses that has been filtered to remove all the impurities. It is made by boiling molasses, then straining it to remove all the solids.
This process leaves behind a thick syrup with a light color and no aftertaste. The syrup can be used in baking recipes or as an ingredient in coffee or tea.
Furthermore, light molasses tastes like a thicker syrup than regular molasses. It has a mildly sweet flavor that isn’t too overpowering.
You can use light molasses for baking or any other recipe where you want to add some sweetness without adding too much sugar, like crackers and biscuits.
2. Dark Molasses
Dark molasses is a type of syrup that has been boiled down and concentrated until it is dark. It is a common ingredient in Chinese and Indian cuisine and American cooking.
It has a sweet, earthy flavor that can be described as “smoky” or “burnt.” Its flavor has been compared to maple syrup, molasses, chocolate, and burnt sugar.
And it’s mostly used to add deep, rich flavor to barbecue sauce, preserves, marinades, savory dishes, and other flavorful condiments.
The most notable difference between light and dark molasses is their color. And that is a result of the boiling process.
Dark molasses is produced from the second boiling, whereas light molasses are produced first. Aside from that, dark molasses has a thicker consistency and is less sweet with a hint of bitterness.
3. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is a by-product of the sugar refining process – the third boiling process, to be exact.
It has a more moisture content, robust flavor, and intimidating color than dark and light molasses. Additionally, blackstrap’s heady aroma is inviting but beware of its overwhelming flavor.
NEVER use it as a straight sweetener as you would for pancake syrup. You will be disappointed!
It is likely to contribute much bitterness to your food, which is why it is mostly left for cooking. But it is also an ingredient in marinades for vegetables, meat, or something sweet and savory.
I love adding doses of blackstrap molasses when making my barbecue sauce to make each bite taste like heaven.
And lastly, this type of molasses has many of the nutrients of sugar crystals left behind. It measures 55% percent sucrose, the least sweet of other varieties.
4. Other Molasses Varieties
The following molasses types are all made from sugar-cane juice:
5. Clover Molasses: This type of molasses is made from the roots and leaves of clover plants and has a deep, rich flavor that can be used in savory dishes.
6. Sorghum Molasses: Made from the sorghum plant, sorghum molasses comes in three different colors: white, brown, and black.
It has a mild flavor that works well with savory foods like beans or rice dishes. You can also use it as a sweetener when making cookies or cakes!
7. Maple Syrup Molasses: These syrups are made by boiling maple sap into syrup and adding sugar to create this delicious treat!
They’re great on their own or mixed with other ingredients such as cinnamon or vanilla extract for added flavor.
They also have molasses from carob, dates, sorghum, and pomegranates.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Unsulfured And Sulfured Molasses?
Unsulfured and sulfured molasses are types of molasses that have been processed differently.
But here is what you have to know:
Sulfured molasses is extracted from young, green sugar cane and treated with Sulphur dioxide. This is a method of preserving the sugar cane until it’s ready to process.
For this reason, it’s described as sulfured molasses –having chemical notes.
Meanwhile, unsulphured molasses is considered 100% natural or “pure” –having cleaner tasting molasses.
This is why it’s made from a fully matured sugar cane and doesn’t require Sulphur dioxide for preservation.
And the majority of the molasses you’ll buy in the grocery stores are Unsulphured.
What Can I Substitute For Molasses?
There’s no need to feel bad about molasses being hard to find. With so many different sugar substitutes on the market, it’s easy to find one that will make your baking experience just as sweet.
Here are a few other options:
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar and Water
- Dark Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Golden Syrup
What Does Molasses Do In Baking?
If you’re a baker, you know nothing is more important than finding the right ingredients to make your recipes come to life.
And you know, molasses is one of those key ingredients. It’s an excellent addition to your baking arsenal. Molasses is often used as an ingredient in baked goods because it adds moisture and makes them more flavorful.
But you may not know that molasses helps prevent caking when added to the dough—it helps keep the dough from sticking together like glue and causing a mess in the kitchen!
Where Can You Find Molasses?
You can find it in most grocery stores across the country’s baking aisle. If you’re looking for a specific brand, you’ll have to ask your local grocer or order it online.
What Do You Cook With Molasses?
We’ve all heard of molasses. It’s what that sweet, brown syrup is made from. But have you ever wondered what else you could cook with molasses?
It’s especially common in southern and western cooking, an ingredient in gravy and sauces that need thickening. In those areas, molasses is often used for barbecue sauce.
What Is The Best Type Of Molasses?
If you’re looking to add a little sweetness to your life, you’ve probably wondered: which molasses is the best? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it might seem. I’d say the scariest is the best: blackstrap molasses.
It is the most commonly preferred type since it is the healthiest, with much moisture and consistency. I also appear to be more versatile. Well, it’s all about your preference, though.
But that doesn’t mean you should paint your entire room with blackstrap molasses. The only downside to molasses is that it can sometimes cause throat tightness when consumed in large amounts (which means you shouldn’t down an entire jar of dark stuff at once!).
This is because molasses contains sodium benzoate, which can irritate your throat if you eat too much at once.
Hopefully, you now better understand the different molasses varieties. To sum everything up, here’s a quick breakdown of the most important facts:
These molasses vary in color, flavor, consistency, and sugar content. But they’re all worthy of your consideration.
If you buy molasses for the first time, you should consider experimenting with different varieties. This may help you find one you enjoy using in your favorite recipes.