An agave nectar conversion chart for baking provides a handy reference tool when switching from conventional white sugar to this all-natural, plant-based sweetener. Agave syrup and nectar products claim to be low glycemic products; read the label to make sure the agave nectar hasn't been mixed with high fructose corn syrup. Because of high demand, some manufacturers have been taking short cuts and mixing agave with high glycemic index products.
Agave Nectar Conversion Chart for Baking
Agave's pleasant taste and all natural, low calorie sweetening ability make it a natural choice for baking and cooking. Before whipping up a batch of agave-infused baked goods, it's important to note potential side effects of agave and blue agave products. Some people do experience side effects such as rashes and stomach upset; test any new product before using.
How to Use Agave in Baking
Agave liquid adds moisture as well as sweetness to baked goods. When baking with agave nectar, you must take into account the extra moisture content or else your baked goods will never firm up. Always decrease some of the other liquid ingredients or compensate with dry ingredients to ensure the perfect consistency of cake, sweet bread, muffin or cookie batter.
The agave nectar conversion chart for baking below lists typical measurements. Good cooks know they need to observe the batter in the bowl before them to ensure proper consistency; use your judgment and adjust every recipe according to your observations. Other factors, such as elevation, may affect baking time. You may want to produce a test batch before getting down to serious baking.
For all measurements, the general rule of thumb is:
• Maintain a ratio of 2/3 of a cup of agave to 1 cup of sugar
• Reduce the liquid by 20 percent
• Increase baking time by 6 percent
• Lower the oven temperature by approximately 25 degrees and watch for burning
|If the Recipe Calls for this Amount of Sugar...||...Use this Much Agave|
|1 cup||2/3 cup of agave|
|3/4 cup of sugar||1/2 cup of agave|
|1/2 cup of sugar||1/3 cup of agave|
|1/4 cup of sugar||1/6 cup of agave|
Tips for Baking with Agave
Agave may not work well with all recipes. Recipes that rely upon sugar to help build the structure of the baked good, such as meringues or sugar cookies, will not work well with agave. Agave nectar causes the cookies to spread out too much on the tray. Agave may work better in baked good such as banana bread, zucchini bread, muffins and the like.
Before Getting to Work
Before starting any recipe, read through these instructions and any other instructions on converting recipes and actually work through the mathematics. Write the new ingredient numbers into the margins of the recipe. Remember that all of the conversion and ratios given are estimates; every recipe is different. Baking is part art and part science, and the interplay of chemical ingredients in baked goods gives them texture, substance, body and taste. If the conversion numbers do not work, you may need to adjust them for your unique recipe.
Many recipes that use agave call for baking temperatures approximately 25 degrees lower than the typical baking temperature. If your oven runs hot, you may want to lower the temperature even further. Agave may make baked goods brown more quickly than sugar and it also tends to burn in high heat, so watch the oven carefully when baking.
Reducing Liquid Ingredients
If you're using agave syrup or nectar in a recipe, don't forget to reduce the other liquid ingredients by 1/3. The easiest way to do this is to multiply the amount of each liquid ingredient by .66 (2/3 of what the original recipe called for), which will give you the amount reduced by 1/3.
For example, a muffin recipe may call for ¾ of a cup of milk and ¼ cup of vegetable oil, the only other two liquid ingredients in addition to the agave nectar. To reduce ¾ of a cup of milk by 1/3, change ¾ to a decimal (.75) and multiply it by .66. The answer is .495, which when changed back into a percent, equals ½ cup. Do this for each individual liquid ingredient and write the number down next to the original amount in the recipe so you can work steadily through the recipe without having to stop and think through the math or use your calculator.