One of the most challenging ingredients to measure is molasses. This is a super-sweet ingredient that is often used in baked items. Like everything else in baking, accurate measurements are a must. And this includes molasses. But how can you measure something that tends to stick to the sides of its container?
The thing about molasses is that they can be very difficult to measure. They have a very thick consistency that tend to stick to the sides of the vessel that contains them. What this means is that there will always be some of the molasses that will be left behind in the container. If you have ever worked with paint before, you know that pouring it out from its can will leave some paint behind. The only way to remove this leftover paint is by scraping it out.
This is almost the same thing with molasses. You will have to scrape the molasses that stick to the sides of its container. If you don’t, then you will end up with a very inaccurate measurement. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of molasses, you can always measure 1 cup. By the time you pour the ingredient into your mixing bowl, some of the molasses will remain on the sides of the cup. This means you are not putting 1 cup of molasses in the bowl.
There is another reason why molasses are very challenging to measure: they are very slow to move. Because of their viscosity, individual molecules of molasses pull on each other, slowing down their movement. It is not so much about the friction on the wall of the container that slows them down. It is more because of the chemical bonds that pull molecules towards each other. Of course, the smoothness of the vessel surface can also contribute to the “sluggishness” of the molasses flow.
The same is true with honey, peanut butter, and agave, as well as other sticky, liquid sweeteners. They are very slow to move because of the forces attracting individual molecules towards each other.
How to Measure Molasses and Other Sticky Liquid Ingredients
Measuring molasses require a more scientific approach that incorporates your knowledge of the ingredient’s fluid dynamics. Because the ingredient is very slow to move and has the tendency to adhere to the sides of its container, then coating the inside walls with something slick will help prevent this from happening.
One of the best techniques to facilitate this is by spraying the inside wall of the measuring cup with a nonstick cooking spray. This applies a nonstick coating on the surface of the measuring cup. It also serves as a barrier between the surface of the cup and the molasses. As such, there is no “surface” for individual molasses molecules to “cling” to. They can try to adhere to the slick nature of the cooking spray but they will never gain a foothold on the surface of the measuring cup.
If you do not like to use a cooking spray, you can always use any fat that you have in the kitchen. Pour vegetable oil into a small spray bottle and use this to spritz oil into the inside surface of the measuring cup. Do take note that this method only works in one or two measurements. If you have to measure molasses more than 3 times, you will have to reapply a light coating of vegetable oil.
A better alternative is to melt some butter or shortening. Use a basting brush to apply the melted shortening or butter onto the inside walls of the measuring cup. Solid fats tend to remain in place with repeated use. It is the perfect solution for those who are going to make multiple batches of baked items.
It is always best to have a spatula to aid in the scraping of any molasses residue in the measuring cup. Speaking of measuring cup, it is best to use a liquid measuring cup. You can still use a dry measuring cup but pouring the molasses into the mixing bowl can be tricky. Liquid measuring cups come with a built-in pour spout that can help with channeling the molasses. The narrowed passageway can also help increase the flow of the sticky ingredient.
Measuring molasses and other sticky liquid ingredients can be quite daunting to the inexperienced. But if you adhere to the methods we have shared with you, measuring molasses can be a piece of cake.