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How To Bake With Maple Syrup According to a Baker

Vermont maple syrup is more than a complementary topping. Just ask Josey Baker of Josey Baker Bread in San Francisco, California. Raised in Vermont, Baker brings a bit of the Green Mountain State to the west coast via the bakery’s popular Adventure Bread. With the rise in demand for maple syrup across breakfast tables and pastry cases, we wanted to ask a professional: how do you bake with maple syrup? The short answer is “trial and error.” But like everything, especially sugar, it’s more granular than that.

Maple’s natural sweetness and nutritious properties make it an alluring ingredient. It’s a flavor enhancer for bakers interested in adding a robust element to their offerings. “First and foremost, let creativity and inspiration be your guide,” Baker says. But because baking is a science there’s technical formulas to keep in mind.

“It being a liquid, you have to take into account the total hydration of the dough,” Baker advises. When mixing into established recipes, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid to make room for what maple adds. It’s also critical to keep in mind when introducing maple to a recipe that it will “speed up fermentation because it’s sugar.” He illuminates what that might look like in the bakery. “[You] may want to change the amount of time you’re planning on letting dough ferment, or reduce the amount fo sourdough or yeast, and/or reduce temperature of dough accordingly in order to account for the increased rate of fermentation.” Hence, the flexibility of the aforementioned trial and error.

But if trial and error development isn’t part of your bakery’s agenda anytime soon, integrating maple into the menu can be as simple as swapping one ingredient for the other. If a recipe calls for honey, substitute it with maple syrup. Natural sweetness will still be achieved, and the caramel-like characteristic maple syrup provides will be present, and welcome. As for the amount of sweetness intended for the bread, Baker suggests turning it up or down with the amount of syrup used.

Maple delivers a dimension that makes this Same Day Maple White Bread impossible to stop slicing, but maple’s robust nature matches much more than all-purpose flour. The golden nectar of the maple tree and whole grain flavors go hand in hand. “Maple oat, maple raisin,” Baker brainstorms. “Raisin oatmeal bread with fresh cracked oats that are toasted,” he continues. It is soon landed upon that a mouthwatering way to add maple syrup to the baker’s bench is to utilize oatmeal.

Baker rattles off an improvised formula that invites imagination. Cook a porridge. In that porridge add maple syrup, raisins, cinnamon, and coriander. Fold that mixture into your dough for a moist and exciting bite of bread. It’s as simple as making oatmeal, but the harmony of flavors and textures leads to a loaf that tastes multifaceted. A bite that is not unlike the bakery’s beloved gluten free Adventure Bread.

Adventure Bread, named to inspire the long hikes and day trips it pairs well with, uses Butternut Mountain Farm Grade A Dark Robust. The bread came along in the search for a gluten free option that wasn’t just another dietary friendly bread mimicking loaves loaded with wheat. It’s composed of a crunchy combination of oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almond flour, almonds, flax seeds, psyllium seed husk, maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt. “If a granola bar and loaf of bread fell in love,” Baker poetically describes. And we’re glad maple syrup is a part of the love story.

While it’s evident that maple syrup use spans beyond the glistening, golden pours, there’s still something about a drizzle over a piece of toast. “My favorite toast of all time: whole wheat bread with butter, almond butter and maple syrup and sea salt,” Baker shares before returning to work, but not before leaving us with valuable insight and a motivating starting point.

Whether adjusting recipes or creating recipes, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to add a hearty glug of three of maple syrup.