role sugar baking world

The Role of Sugar in the Baking World, Part 4

In parts one through three of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over everything you need to know about sugar and its uses during the baking process. We’ve dug into basics on how sugar functions within baking, the qualities it brings, and numerous types of sugar you might find within certain areas of the baking world.

At Street Sweets, we’re proud to stock a wide variety of bakery items, from birthday cakes and donut options to wedding cakes, pastries and even numerous gluten-free bakery items. In today’s final entry into our series, we’ll look at a couple rarer forms of sugar you might want to know about, plus take a dive into the all-important world of sugar substitutes for those who need to go this route.

Turbinado Sugar

One of the simplest types of sugar is known as turbinado sugar, also called raw sugar or sugar in the raw. This type of sugar either has not been processed at all or has only undergone minimal processing, meaning it is very coarse, similar to sanding sugar.

Turbinado sugar is generally light-brown – its molasses is usually removed, with just a tiny hint remaining for flavor. Its uses are relatively similar to sanding sugar, mostly for topping, decorating and adding some crunchy texture to certain baked goods that might do well with it.

Pearl Sugar

Also known as nib sugar, pearl sugar is one of the rarest specialty sugars found in the realm of baking. To create pearl sugar, granulated sugar is compressed into large hunks – these hunks don’t actually dissolve during the baking process, but rather remain.

For this reason, pearl sugar is only used for a few very specific baking items. It’s common for Belgian Liege waffles, for instance, and is also used as a sweet topping for several different pastries.

Sugar Substitute Options

As we’ve noted in this series, sugar comes in a variety of types – and also has a major impact on structure, texture, taste and other factors of baked goods. With this in mind, those looking to make sugar substitutes in baking must take care in doing so. Here are a few examples of common sugar substitutions that tend to do well in a pinch:

  • Granulated sugar: If you’re using granulated sugar for items like brownies, cookies or various baked bars, you’re usually just fine to swap this with brown sugar in most cases. Granulated options will bring a crisper texture, while brown sugar will be chewier and moister.
  • Powdered sugar: Another decent substitute for granulated sugar in certain baked goods is powdered sugar. One note: You’ll need significantly more powdered sugar than granulated sugar to accomplish the same thing, and you should only do this on forgiving goods like cookies, brownies and muffins.
  • Brown and muscovado: These two sugar formats are pretty similar, and can usually be swapped for each other with no problem. Do know, however, that muscovado sugar has a much stronger molasses flavor than brown sugar.

For more on the role of sugar and sugar types used in baking, or to learn about any of our baked goods or other dessert items, speak to the staff at Street Sweets today.