Sugar, Part 1: Why it is Important in Baking
August is SUGAR month! Rather than boring you with long posts about baking ingredients and methods, I’m going to spread it out over a month of short weekly posts, each with a different focus. If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment!
So, sugar. It’s role is not just to provide sweetness, though that is definitely what it is most known for. It actually does a lot of important things in your baked goods.
Sugar tenderizes by weakening the gluten strands.
Sugar acts as a preservative by binding up the moisture so that it’s not readily available to react with microbes.
Sugar works as a leavener through the creaming method and foaming (think meringues).
Sugar provides flavor and color through caramelization.
Sugar feeds yeast and enables it to grow.
I think it’s important to understand these basic properties of sugar. In an era where most people consume far too much sugar, and many are trying to cut back, eliminating it completely from your baking isn’t an easy task. Sugar plays an important role and most baked goods wouldn’t be the same without it!
Next week: The various kinds of sugar, plus how to make your own brown sugar!