Sugar how do we love you Let’s count the ways: mixed in chocolate cake, swirled in buttercream frosting, paired with cinnamon and sprinkled on muffins – we could go on.
While sweetness is the most famous attribute of sugar, this star baking ingredient is actually quite dynamic. Sugar has several functions, and what exactly those functions are depends on the Art from sugar.
To help you analyze those delicious details, we’ve mixed this handy guide to baking with different sugars.
What is sugar anyway?
In simple terms, sugar is sucrose ̵
Refined versus unrefined
Refined sugar – also known as your average granulated table sugar – has gone through a multi-step process that removes the sugar’s naturally dark color and turns it into the grainy, refined white sand you know and love.
Unrefined sugar, meanwhile, is any sugar that has been extracted from a plant, however Not go through a refining process. Raw honey, molasses, maple syrup, and date sugar all fall into this category.
So let’s assume you are ready for snickerdoodles or Black Forest cake when suddenly – eek! – You realize you only have one type of sugar. Can you replace brown with white for better or worse?
The baking experts would tell you no. Since white and brown sugar have different properties, they will have slightly different effects on your baked goods. However, the effects will depend on what exactly you are baking (sometimes using one in place of the other isn’t a big deal).
Here are the main differences so that you know when to use brown or white.
When to use brown sugar
- For a richer taste and color. “Brown sugar gives food a light caramel or molasses taste,” says Marlene Koch, RDN, author of the cookbook series Eat what you love.
- When you want more moisture. “While both white and brown sugar add moisture to recipes, brown sugar does more,” says Koch.
When to use white sugar
- For crispy and crispy. This is a great way to make certain cookies and pastries so perfectly crispy on the outside. “White sugar can usually cause more crunch,” says Koch.
- Bringing other flavors to shine. Since white sugar only adds sweetness to the taste, it won’t overwhelm other ingredients in your project.
- For more ascent / airier consistency. Cakes, for example, generally require white sugar.
Because of the differences in these sugars, the tastiest baked goods use both! “White and brown sugars are often combined to get the best taste, color, and texture,” Koch notes.
Which one is healthier?
Although often brown food seems healthier, there is minimal dietary difference between brown and white sugar. Brown sugar has 1 more calorie per teaspoon and a bit more micronutrients than white, but there really isn’t any need to split hair. Sugar is sugar.
Sugar’s capabilities actually go beyond satisfying our taste buds. Sugar has several functions in baking.
Adds and intensifies the taste
Sugar can bring out the natural flavors of other ingredients such as fruit or chocolate. The fascinating reason: Sugar increases the aroma of other flavors, which promotes taste perception.
You’d think traditional sourdoughs like baking soda and baking soda make baking tough, but sugar also plays a role.
When framed with butter, sugar will help add air for extra volume. It also increases the temperature at which the ingredients gelatinize, which gives the gluten in the wheat flour more time to stretch.
In yeast bread, sugar even serves as “food” for the yeast and helps the dough rise to arched perfection.
Despite the dry texture of the sugar, it adds moisture to many baked goods. This happens because sugar attracts water molecules and helps cakes and muffins hold onto the liquid.
Mmm … caramel. If you want that perfectly caramelized outer crust on a cake or bread, sugar works magically through a chemical process called the Maillard reaction, as amino acids react with reducing sugars.
1. Keep the heat low
We’ll admit that burnt sugar can be delicious at times – creme brulee, anyone? – but usually they’ll likely be caramelized, not burned.
“Keeping the heat moderately low and adding a small amount of water to the sugar (using a ‘wet caramel’ method) will reduce the risk of the sugar burning,” says Koch. “Don’t exceed 350 degrees when using a candy thermometer.”
2. Cream butter with a stand mixer or hand mixer
While you may have heard that a hand blender is the ideal method for the important step of creaming, Koch disagrees. However, in a pinch, you can use a little elbow grease and mix it vigorously by hand.
3. Don’t reduce it by more than 25 percent
If you want to recall that sweet stuff, 25 percent is about what you can get through without risking a flat, unsightly end product.
4. Store tightly closed in a cool, dry place
Sugar lasts up to a year if stored properly. So keep white and brown sugar in your pantry.
Oh, and the old trick of putting a piece of bread in your brown sugar to soften it up? Yes it really works. Brown sugar absorbs the moisture in bread and brings soft and chewy cookies and cakes to new life.