Sugars used in pastry

sugar cubes image

 Sugar is used in baking to add tenderness, color and volume to baked goods. The fact that sugar holds moisture gives the advantage of prolonging the shelf life of baked goods or another words acting as a preservative. Since sugar absorbs moisture from a batter, it leaves less moisture available to develop the gluten. Less gluten development results in a more tender crumb and a baked good with a higher volume. The color of the baked good is derived from the chemical reaction of sugar and protein, eg; egg whites. The higher the sugar content in a recipe the darker the crust will be.

Table sugar (or Granulated sugar or Sucrose) is the sugar that is most often used in recipes. It is derived from sugar cane and sugar beets. Most of the world's production from sugar cane comes from Brazil and India. Sugar from sugar beets come mainly from U.S., Germany ,France, and Russia. One important factor to consider in sugar is the granule size. Granule size varies in size from superfine to coarse. The granule size plays an important role to the finished baked good. You will learn throughout our course about the creaming method. The creaming method involves mixing the butter (fat) with the sugar. By beating the butter with the sugar in a mixer for several minutes, the sugar granules hitting the fat at a high speed, incorporate air into the mixture, resulting in higher volume, which is what you need when baking goods such as cakes. These air cells created here are further enlarged when you add the leavening agent (eg; baking powder, baking soda, etc) just before baking.

Brown sugar is white sugar with some of the molasses that exist naturally in sugar left in. It is composed of sugar and molasses. When brown sugar hardens over time you can soften it. Place the brown sugar into a zip lock bag. Add a slice of apple or a slice of orange or a few drops of water and reseal. Allow a couple of days to soften. You can also use the microwave to reheat the sugar in short pulses of a few seconds at a time, until softened.

by adding into  and left for a couple of days.

Castor sugar (or Caster sugar) is granulated white sugar that has really fine granules. While this sugar is no good for maximizing air incorporation in recipes using creaming method, it is excellent for making meringues due to the fact that it liquefies rapidly. If you don’t have any at hand, simply pulverize some regular granulated sugar in a food processor.

Corn syrup is derived from cooking glucose. It is derived from boiling the cornstarch, vaporizing it, and finally condensing it in order to collect the resulting liquid which contains a very high sugar content. Corn syrup is a combination of glucose dextrose, fructose, and malt. The major advantage of using corn syrup is the fact that it prevents sugar crystallization.

FariNeige is a white sugar with similar texture to icing sugar. It is sprinkled on top of a finished product that has a wet surface, eg; fruit pies. It's advantage over icing sugar is that it never melts away into a wet surface.

Fructose is a simple sugar (monosaccharide) found  naturally in honey and fruits. It is It is about twice as sweet as table sugar. While Fructose can be used instead of table sugar, it cannot be substituted in equal amounts with table sugar in a recipe. Fructose is hydroscopic, another words it absorbs moisture giving you a finished good that is more moist.

Glucose - Once cornstarch is extracted from corn, it is placed in a container along with enzymes that produce the desired chemical reaction to break down the cornstarch into glucose. Other starches can be used instead of corn, such as potatoes or rice. The major advantage of using glucose is the fact that it prevents sugar crystallization.

Icing sugar (or Confectioners sugar) is granulated sugar that has been ground to a powder. This sugar contains cornstarch, which is added to prevent the sugar from lumping and also to prevent crystallization of the sugar.  When it is processed 4 times you will see 4X on the package. When it’s processed 6 times you will see 6X on the package and so forth. 10X is the most popular icing sugar.

Invert sugar, also called Trimoline, gives added sweetness, color and prolongs shelf life.

Isomalt is a sugar substitute made from beet sugar. Isomalt is made from sucrose.  Isomalt has many advantages over regular sugar especially when making showpieces because of its resistance to humidity and to crystallization.

Maple syrup comes form the sap of maple trees (red maple, sugar maple, or black maple trees). It is used when you want to give a distinct flavor to the final product.

Molasses are the by-product from converting sugarcane into sugar. The juices from the sugarcanes are extracted by squashing them. The juices are then boiled to derive cane syrup, molasses and blackstrap molasses. Molasses has a distinct flavor but is less sweet than sugar.

Raw sugar is sugar that has been partially refined.

Miscellaneous info

Monosaccharides consist of a single sugar molecule. Examples of monosaccharides found in foods include glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose) and galactose.

Two simple sugars bonded together are called disaccharides; Examples of disaccharides are; sucrose, maltose, and lactose.

Sugars bonded into long chains are called polysaccharides or Complex carbohydrates.


Sugar adds flavor and color to the baked product. The more sugar you use, the easier it is for the end-product to burn. An example of this is when baking pate sucree.  Pastries the use a lot of sugar in the recipe end up being soggy if stored over a long period of time, due to the fact that sugar is hygroscopic, that is, it absorbs moisture.








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