Sugars are some of the most interesting baking ingredients with multiple sources and the crystalline nature it takes. We’re going to start with the sources and types of sugar then go over which ones are best for what!
Let’s start with the three monosaccharides
Fructose, otherwise known as fruit sugar, it is the sweetest of all sugars. Its found in cane sugar, honey, fruits and some root vegetables. Galactose is a sugar found in dairy products. It is actually a component of the antigens found on red blood cells that determine blood types. It’s not as sweet as fructose and isn’t found outside of dairy. Glucose, also known as dextrose or grape sugar is also found in plants as it is the primary product of photosynthesis. It’s widely used in food production.
Next we have disaccharides.
Disaccharides are composed of two monosaccharides. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, while children often don’t have issues absorbing and digesting it, many adults grow out of this and become lactose intolerant. Maltose is a sugar found in grains, most commonly barely, and is the sugar use in malts. Maltose is not as sweet as glucose, fructose or sucrose, so many products made with maltose will have sucrose or glucose added to increase sweetness. Sucrose is the sugar found in sugarcane and sugar beet, it is recognizable as granulated sugar, the most common used in baking. It exists along side glucose and fructose in the plant.
Brown sugars contain molasses in varying amounts. The light brown sugars contain around 3.5% molasses and dark browns have around 6.5%. They are wonderful to add a more complete sweetness to baked goods as well as pork. Other brown sugars include Panela, Barbados sugar as well as sugars produced from dates and palm sap.
Honeys sweetness comes from the unbound molecules or fructose and glucose from nectar. Syrups like corn syrup are starches converted to maltose and glucose. Molasses is a products of sugarcane or sugar beets and are often blended with syrups to make them sweeter.
Now that we’ve covered sugars, let’s talk about the forms that we can purchase.
Granulated sugar is considered the best for baking as it dissolves easily into water and doesn’t clump easily when being mixed in. It is also the most common sugar for drinks and can be a nice decorative touch on pie crusts and other baked goods.
Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar and icing sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and is ideal for making icing, fillings, frosting and glazes. It is also often used to plate desserts.
Coarse sugar is granulated sugar in larger flakes. It’s commonly used as a decoration as it can be easily dyed and ads both texture and sweetness.
Sanding sugar is a medium brown large crystal sugar. Commonly used for decoration as it shines as light hits it.
Turbinado sugar is a raw sugar with large crystal size. It has a light brown colour due to the molasses being washed off the surface. It’s most commonly used for sweetening drinks like coffee. It can be used in baking but you should make sure to add it directly to liquids and ensure it all dissolves before mixing in other dry ingredients.
Barbados sugar is a brown sugar with a medium brown colour. It’s got a slightly sticky texture and is often used for fudge.
Thank you so much for reading and if you have any baking questions, please feel free to ask them and I will do my best to answer you as quickly as I can! If you have any tips for baking, please leave them in the comments so that everyone can have a change to learn something new!