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Baking my Bochet

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tradowsk

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Last year, I attempted my first bochet in the typical way: caramelizing some honey on the stovetop. I was fairly disappointed in the result which tasted like a slightly richer mead, but there were no caramel or toffee or marshmallow flavors.

Posts on this forum mentioned that it's not about the time you caramelize the honey, but the temperature it gets to. Further research lead me to this thread on homebrewtalk: Bochet: A question about temperature not time. Very interesting read if you have some time.

Anyway, I decided to try making another bochet and targeted 325F temperature for the honey. To keep things gentle and consistent, I put 4lbs honey is a dutch oven with about 1 cup water, and put that into an oven at 325F. I put a grilling thermometer in the honey to monitor the temp remotely.

In that HBT thread, after 75min the honey was at 322F. However, after an hour mine stalled at 245F, and remained at that temp for another hour. It was bubbling and got a bit darker, but smelled and tasted like normal clover honey. I ended up putting it on the stovetop for about 30min of caramelization. I made it to 305F before I called it quits (the honey was dangerously close to overflowing my dutch oven).

This left me with nice toasted marshmallow flavors with a bit of toffee. I may add a dash of cinnamon or some cacao nibs to secondary.

I'm still trying to figure out why my honey was not going over 245F in the oven. My leading though is perhaps I shouldn't have added water initially, and the evaporation was keeping the temp down. But I like the idea of baking instead of boiling the honey to have better temp control and ensure the honey is at a uniform temperature.
 

BernardSmith

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What was the reason for adding water? Presumably before caramelization occurs all water needs to be boiled off and while not a food scientist I would have thought that the more moisture in your honey the longer it will take for that water to evaporate off. A pot full of water will not get hotter than 212 F no matter how long you have it under heat and no matter the amount of energy you are adding to that water. Honey is normally 14% water.
 

tradowsk

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What was the reason for adding water? Presumably before caramelization occurs all water needs to be boiled off and while not a food scientist I would have thought that the more moisture in your honey the longer it will take for that water to evaporate off. A pot full of water will not get hotter than 212 F no matter how long you have it under heat and no matter the amount of energy you are adding to that water. Honey is normally 14% water.
In the HBT thread I referenced, the person who did the experiment added water to prevent it from burning initially since you can't constantly stir it in the oven. Even with that, she was able to get to 322F in 75min in the oven at 325F.
 
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