Now that we have tried and/or assessed several different cane syrup/molasses products, I decided to categorize them for purposes of further discussion. As noted below, there are five categories, as follows: 100% Pure Cane Syrup; Cane Syrup/Molasses Blend; First Boil Molasses; Second Boil Molasses; and Third/Final Boil Molasses. For each of the products, I have indicated the Sugars, and, where the data permitted, the Brix and Ash values. To compare apples with apples, I normalized the Sugars on a 100 grams sample basis, which is the method used by the companies that sell the cane syrup/molasses products on a wholesale or foodservice basis, such as Domino, Groeb Farms and Crosby’s. The Brix values denote the total solids for the products noted and from which one can derive the moisture contents of the products. The Brix values are needed in order to do many of the calculations I have previously discussed to arrive at the total water content of the MM clone doughs we have been investigating.
In some cases, where I did not have complete data, I used estimates, and I so noted. To denote the products that are available at retail, either through stores or online, I used asterisks. As can readily be seen, that represents most of the products listed. If I have missed anything in my list, those noting any omissions should feel free, of course, to bring the omissions to my attention so that I can correct or update the list.
As can be seen by studying the list, as one goes down the list, the Sugars quantities go down, and the Ash quantities, which are related to flavor and color, go up. What we have been trying to determine is which product has the correct amount of Sugars and the correct color as to provide the right balance between sweetness in the finished crust and a color that mimics the color of a real MM dough and crust. Also, when used in an MM clone dough, that dough must satisfy the MM Nutrition Facts.
I originally thought that Mellow Mushroom might be using a product like the Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup. Although Steen’s does not call that product a ”molasses” product, it is an “open pit” product that some people, even some experts in the field, do refer to as “molasses”. I no longer believe that MM is using a product like the Steen’s product. The Steen’s product is too sweet and its color is too light. In order to get the desired degree of coloration in the dough and the final crust, one would have to use too much of the Steen’s product and, in so doing, the dough would not satisfy the MM Nutrition Facts based on my analysis. The Sugars would be too high.
At this point, I would also rule out the Golden Barrel Supreme Baking Molasses as a likely product that MM would use. The reason is that the Golden Barrel Supreme Baking Molasses is too dark because of the blackstrap molasses. By the time that one gets the desired Sugars quantity, the dough and the finished crust are too dark. However, this shouldn’t rule out the possibility that MM is using a blend of cane sugar syrup and a lighter colored molasses.
For similar reasons, I would rule out the Second Boil and Third/Final Boil Molasses products. They contain too little Sugars and they are too dark, as is evidenced by the higher Ash numbers (unfortunately, I do not have the Ash values for the Third/Final Boil Molasses product but I do know that their Ash values are high). The Third/Final Boil Molasses products might have some of the best flavors but won’t satisfy the MM Nutrition Facts.
I might interject as this point, that it is possible to supplement the Second and Third/Final Boil Molasses products with other sweeteners to increase the Sugars while, at the same time, getting a lighter color in the dough and final crust. Such sweeteners might include honey, raw cane (Turbinado) sugar, malts, sorghum syrup, or light or dark brown sugars. However, such combinations would not meet the requirement that they be free of refined sugars or the requirement that they be vegan products (in the case of honey). One might also use a combination of the Domino Golden Granulated Cane Juice and blackstrap molasses as Norma used with the MM #8 clone dough formulation. I did not include this combination in the list below since it was one that Norma asked be created, not a commercially available one. But, that said, that combination appears to produce good results.
Having ruled out most of the categories of cane syrup/molasses products, that leaves us with the First Boil Molasses products. If I had to guess based on what I have learned in the course of this thread, I would say that MM is perhaps using a molasses product that is a first boil product. One of the reasons I say this is because members have voiced different opinions as to the detectability of sweetness in the crusts of the MM pizzas that they have sampled in MM’s stores. It will also be noted from the First Boil Molasses products in the list below that the Sugars quantities can have wide ranges. That might mean that at any given time, the Sugars may be high or low. If it is low, one might not detect the sweetness; if it is high, one is more likely to detect it. I believe that this is true even if one accounts for different possible defrost/temper periods. By contrast, if one were to use a product like the Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup product in the right quantity to achieve the desired dough and crust color, the crust would always be sweet. Likewise, if one were to go down the list to the Second Boil and Third/Final Boil Molasses products to achieve the desired color, they may never produce a sweet crust.
Of the First Boil Molasses products, I think that any one of them can be used to make a credible MM clone dough, given their similar specs, but I think I would give the nod to those products that have Ash values on the lower end of the range. I believe that the Crosby Fancy (or Gold Star) Molasses, which is a Canadian product but sold on a limited scale at retail in the U.S., would be a good choice because it has high levels of Sugars but a maximum Ash value of 3.0%. However, even with the Crosby product, there are limitations. For example, I think that 17% of that product, which is a value that CDNpielover liked, may be too much and have too much Sugars and yield a dough with a color that is darker than a real MM dough and crust. I think something like 14% might be a better amount. For the other First Boil Molasses products in the list below, I think I would start with around 10-12%. As earlier noted, the resultant crust may or may not have a noticeable sweetness, just as has been noted with the real MM crusts.
As can be seen from the above discussion, there is no single MM clone dough formulation. There are many possibilities depending on the particular cane sugar syrup and/or molasses products used.
Now, for the list of the products:
100% Pure Cane Syrup
*Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup: Sugars (70 +/- 0.3 grams), Brix (74 +/- 0.5%), Ash (1.5 +/- 0.5%)
Cane Syrup/Molasses Blend
*Golden Barrel Supreme Baking Molasses: Sugars (67 grams), Brix (est. 80%)
First Boil Molasses
Homemaid (Domino) Molasses: Sugars (65-75 grams), Brix (79-80%), Ash (2-6%)
*Crosby Fancy (Gold Star) Molasses: Sugars (65-75 grams), Brix (78-80%), Ash (3% max)
*Steen’s Dark Molasses: Sugars (71.5 grams), Brix (79.5%), Ash (3.5%)
Groeb Farms Golden Molasses: Sugars (66 grams min), Brix (79%), Ash (4.0% max)
*Grandma’s Original Molasses: Sugars (67 grams), Brix (est. 80%)
*Brer Rabbit Mild Flavor Molasses: Sugars (65 grams), Brix (est. 79%)
Second Boil Molasses
*Brer Rabbit Full Flavor Molasses: Sugars (62 grams), Brix (est. 79%), Ash (2-5%)
*Grandma’s Robust Molasses: Sugars (62 grams), Brix (est. 79%), Ash (5%)
*Plantation Barbados Molasses: Sugars (62 grams)
Third/Final Boil Molasses
*Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses: Sugars (45 grams)
*Golden Barrel Blackstrap Molasses: Sugars (est. 52 grams)
*Plantation Blackstrap Molasses: Sugars (est. 52 grams)