Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Make Creamed Honey

Making creamed honey is easy to do.  You don't have to be a beekeeper to make it. That's because all you need is… liquid honey and some seed honey.

Over time natural honey will soon develop large chunky crystals. It's not a sign that the honey is bad and the honey won't taste any different. It's just that the crystals aren't so pleasant on the tongue. These crystals have square corners that feel sharp and give an unpleasant sensation.

Enter Prof. Dyce from the University of Cornell. He developed a process to control the formation of crystals so that smooth oval shaped crystals are created. These are very spreadable and smooth on the tongue.

But how do you get these smooth oval crystals in your honey?

It's easy: You buy them.

Visit your local established beekeeper. He'll have creamed honey on hand. Try it first, paying attention not to the flavour of the honey but to the feel and sensation of the crystals on your tongue. If they're appealing then buy some.

Use that creamed honey to seed your clear honey by inserting a tablespoon or more into a jar. Then stir the crystals in thoroughly and put the whole thing in the fridge for about two weeks. Presto! You'll have smooth, non drip, spreadable creamed honey. Your own honey gives the flavour but the smooth seed crystals give the texture.

How does this happen? Our favourite golden liquid has a trick or two up its sleeve. If you give clear honey smooth crystals it will replicate them naturally. The term is 'following suit'. The small crystals prevent the formation of larger crystals. It's very similar to how yogurt and cheese are made, although they use cultures as seed.

[Photo - this jar is 90% crystalized - notice the bottom 1" that hasn't converted yet. It's important to stir the seed right to the bottom. With this jar the spoon and beater wouldn't reach the bottom].

By the way, other terms for creamed honey are Whipped Honey, Spun Honey, Churned Honey, Candied Honey, Honey Fondant and Set Honey. All are processed naturally through controlling the crystallization.

[Photo - two buckets of purchased creamed honey that I use as seed for my own.  The electric beater stirs the seed very well but it's not long enough to reach the bottom of tall jars.]
Beekeepers don't forget this is another product line you can sell.  Non drip creamed honey is great for kids and not so messy.  Moms have less clean up in the kitchen and that's a big selling point.

Honey can be stirred using an electric drill - see photo below.  This is a paint stirring drill attachment that I purchased from the local hardware store.

More info on making Creamed Honey can be found through these links:

Creamed Honey - Dyce Method
Wikipedia - Honey


Kat said...

Well, I just looked at the last 3 posts (been busy too) and learned a lot. I just had to un-crystalize some honey last week, and wish I would have read this first, but it seems fine. Thanks for all your shared knowledge!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Kat: Thanks for your comment. It is a busy time for sure. Don't blink... soon it'll be summer.

Hadley Fukuda said...

Will it still work if I just mix using a spoon if I don't have a hand mixer or a drill?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Hadley: Yes it will work. The mixing gets the crystals spread around so they can work faster. So with stirring if the crystals aren't in every part of the jar it just might take a little longer for the whole container to crystalize.


Gecika said...

I'm in Dufferin County myself, and a new beekeeper. We're hoping for our first harvest this year, and I can't wait to give this a try. My dad loves creamed honey!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Gecika: You can actually practice making creamed honey now by purchasing a jar of liquid honey and creamed honey. Add a teaspoon of creamed honey to the liquid and stir well. Put in the fridge and then wait a couple weeks. Presto!
Good luck with your beekeeping. If you have questions don't hesitate to ask.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to have found your website! My question is this - how do I add a flavor when making creamed honey? My friends all know how much I love honey and recently I received a gift of raspberry creamed honey which is almost gone - it's delicious! Can I use the last tablespoon of it to make creamed honey using 100% natural honey, or will the flavor be lost?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Dear Anonymous: Thanks for your comments. Yes you can use the last tablespoon of the creamed honey as a starter culture for creamed honey. The raspberry flavour won't carry over though beyond the flavour on that teaspoon. I haven't researched (yet) on adding flavours but I believe you can spoon them in - so a raspberry syrup or jam that you think would be suitable could be mixed in. I would probably first do the creamed honey culture and wait for the jar to go to cream and then add your flavourings.... This has a ton of possibilities. I bought a Jalpeno Pepper and Raspberry creamed honey that is just amazing. Let me know how it turns out.

Honey Hive Farms said...

Honey Hive Farms,

Thank you, nice read... we were just talking about this today at a farmers market.

Tim Moore

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous information! I recently had to heat some raw creamed honey to stop fermentation. It is now quite "liquidy". Will it return to creamed honey if I refrigerate it?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Anonymous: Hello. The heated honey will eventually crystalize again but would take some time. Putting it in the refrigerator would speed up the process. Or just add a teaspoonful of creamed honey to help it get going again.

Eddie said...

I'm confused, to make creamed honey I just mix crystallized honey with clear and then place in fridge, or do I have to used Creamed honey and mix with clear honey ?

Barbara Lindberg said...
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Barbara Lindberg said...

Eddie: To clarify some more - crystalized and creamed honey are the same thing. There is a bit of a difference in that store bought creamed honey is nice and smooth (so use that to make your clear honey crystalized).
Honey on it's own will crystalize over time but it won't be so nice and smooth.

Barbara Lindberg said...

Hi Eddie. Take a tablespoon or so of creamed honey and stir it thoroughly into clear honey.

The smooth crystals of the creamed honey will grow and multiply when in the clear honey and turn the clear honey into crystalized.

I hope that makes sense. Try it and let me know how it goes

Barbara Lindberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Do you have to keep it refrigerated once you cream it?

Barbara Lindberg said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your excellent question. No, you don't have to keep the creamed honey in the fridge once it's fully creamed. You can leave it on the counter like regular honey.

Unknown said...

I have honey that crystalized into large crystals and is so hard it won't scoop. The honey man at the farmers market said to blend my crystalized honey with a blender until the introduced air turns the crystals to a spun product...thus I should have a lovely, creamed honey. Said only a blender was needed so I didn't buy any "seed" honey though he sold whipped/spun honey.
I purchased a more powerful blender then gently warmed the outside area of my firm, crystalized honey, until I was able to scoop from the sides, placed the semi melted honey into Blendtech Blender and the blender kept stopping due to overload on the, quite powerful, motor. Wasn't working so I came to the internet.
Do I need to add 1:1 (big crystal honey to liquid raw honey). I read blending these two together at a slow rate would produce the desired whipped product. I now fear burning up my kitchen aid mixer trying this on even a slow and low speed. (example 1: big crystal added to raw liquid)
Will one TBS. seed (of already spun with small crystals) added to a quart of big crystal hard honey change the large crystals to small on it's own, after mixing well together?
Since I have hard, crystalized honey already would mixing with a seed (store bought spun honey, containing smoother crystals) cause my already hard crystals to reform?

What is the easiest route from here if I don't want to over heat my raw honey? Already purchased a $300.00 blender for this...fail.

I've never seen, nor looked for RAW, spun honey. I want to keep my product healthy for allergy prevention and other medicinal benefits; so, I wouldn't want to mix my raw with a heat processed "seed".

Barbara Lindberg said...

Unknown: Thanks for your post about creamed honey. From my understanding the honey would need to be liquid in order for the seed to reproduce it's crystal size.
Now, honey that crystalizes on it's own creates these square, kind of sharp crystals which just aren't pleasant on the tongue (there's nothing wrong with them). The seed used for creating the crystalized honey is specially made through a scientific process to create smooth round crystals which are very pleasant on the tonque.
So when beekeepers are making crystalized honey they don't (as far as I know) blend raw crystalized honey to chop up the crystals.

So any seed will not change already crystalized honey.

What I suggest, and this is what beekeepers do to preserve the quality of the raw honey, is to SLOWLY melt the honey under a low temperature. For example, boiling water, taking the water off the heat and setting the jar into the hot water and leaving it.

Other methods are to create a warming box by placing the jar in a box with a very low wattage light bulb. This is very effective but be careful! If the box gets too hot you could create a fire.

I hope this helps. Sorry about the blender idea. To the best of my knowledge that's not the way to do it and I believe it was bad advice.

Unknown said...

After SLOWLY melting honey, as you describe, should I be able to take that newly liquid (all crystals melted) honey and add spun honey to obtain a spun honey? If, yes; what ratio? (3 tbs spun to 1 quart liquid?).
Anything else I should know besides just mixing those together and waiting?
Must I crystalize in the refrigerator or okay to do in the cupboard (realizing this method is slower)?

Thank you for this website and your support!

Barbara Lindberg said...

Unknown: The answer is YES. Once you have liquid honey you can then add the smooth crystals which will act as a seed to grow and spread in the liquid honey to turn it to creamed honey. The ratio doesn't matter except that the less seed you add the longer it will take to reproduce itself. I'd say anywhere from 1 to 3 tablespoons is good. It's best too to stir or whip the seed throughout the liquid honey so that is well mixed. It needs to refrigeration to speed up the crystallization. It will crystalize if sitting on the counter but would most likely take a while.
Let me know how it works out for you.

Dawn said...

Can you use creamed honey in cooking and baking the same way you would use regular honey?

Barbara Lindberg said...

Hi Dawn. Yes you can used creamed honey just the same as liquid. Always lower the baking temperature a bit as honey can cause things to brown faster.

Anonymous said...

Liking all the conversation on creamed honey. A few things to point out to all people wanting to make creamed honey.
1. Your honey to cream must me fully liquid, so use the slow heat method with occasional stirring. This will take a lot of time and I suggest keeping the water like a bath. No hotter than 120.
2. Important step that I'm adding, let your honey cool! If you add your seed honey to the liquid honey while it is hot enough to melt your smooth crystals guess what? When your honey crystallizes it will go with nature and be large undesirable crystals.
3. So now that we have ensured the honey we will be adding the creamed honey to is at room temp use about 10% seed and blend this slowly into your honey. Slowly just to not put air into the mixture.
4. Put your honey in the jar or tub you want it in. Remember this will be thick and not liquid once it sets up, so use a shallow jar with a large open mouth to allow easy spoon or knife use.
5. Now just let some time go by. 57 degrees is the perfect temp, so if you have a garage store them out there. If its summer use a fridge. Once it has crystallized keeping it at room temp is fine. It will set at room temp, but like already said it just takes more time.

Now something to remember, should your creamed honey ever melt from getting to warm it will crystallize into the rough crystals. Therefore, keep it in a cupboard and it should be just fine so long as your not in a super hot, humid climate. If you do live is such a place keep it in your fridge.

tabbiesandtuxedos said...

I bought some creamed honey today and just mixed up some of it with some honey, after reading your blog. I can hardly wait!