The Temperature Change You Need To Make When Baking With Agave

Agave is now a common sight on store shelves, and if you're a cook baking with agave,  you're probably curious about all the changes you might need to make. According to Real Simple, agave, sometimes called agave syrup, is the cooked sap of the agave plant, a succulent found in arid areas of the Americas. Agave syrup comes in a few styles with increasingly complex flavors, which are most clearly defined by color. The Spruce Eats notes that the lightest colored agave is similar to simple syrup, while darker grades can be intensely flavored and similar to molasses.

BBC Good Food notes that agave syrup is not any better for you than white sugar. Still, it does have a unique taste that can be a delicious addition to your baked goods. Agave has a flavor closest to honey, although it can also be pretty neutral overall, making it a great replacement for other sugars. There are always a few adjustments you will need to make when swapping out an ingredient in baking, and with agave, one thing to look out for is temperature.

Drop the temperature when baking with agave

While agave is a good sugar substitute, it has a few notable differences that will affect how much you should add and how you adjust your baking. According to Martha Stewart, the most notable distinction is that agave is much sweeter than white sugar. To maintain your recipe at the same level of sweetness, you'll want to drop the weight of agave to about 30% less than the weight of sugar in the original recipe. As Bon Appétit notes, the amount of sugar in a dish also affects the intensity of the browning that occurs through caramelization

That's why when baking with agave, you'll want to note the temperature level of the original recipe and reduce it. Martha Stewart suggests that a change of 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit should be enough to prevent excess browning. However, The Kitchn has a slightly different suggestion, stating that you should lower your oven temp by up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Oven temperatures are notoriously finicky and vary from model to model, so your personal best adjustment will likely fall somewhere in that range, but you may need to run a test bake first. Once your oven temperature is right, you can start experimenting with all the cookies and cake agave can improve.