Types Of Sugar
There are many different types of granulated
sugar. Some of these are used only by the food industry and professional bakers
and are not available in the supermarket. The types of granulated sugars differ
in crystal size. Each crystal size provides unique functional characteristics
that make the sugar appropriate for a specific food’s special
Bakers Special Sugar
The crystal size of Bakers Special is even finer than that of fruit sugar. As
its name suggests, it was developed specially for the baking industry. Bakers
Special is used for sugaring doughnuts and cookies, as well as in some
commercial cake recipes to create a fine crumb texture.
See raw sugar and muscovado
Spelled both “caster” and “castor.” The
spelling castor sugar used to be the prevailing one, but caster sugar seems to
be more usual now, perhaps because it is used by some sugar manufacturers on
their packaging. See superfine sugar. UK castor/caster sugar is very finely
granulated sugar (finer than U.S. granulated
sugar) which allows it
to dissolve almost instantly. In the United States, superfine sugar or the new
Baker’s sugar may be substituted. It is called “berry sugar” in British
Confectioners or powdered sugar –
In Britain it is called icing sugar and in France sucre
glace. This sugar is granulated sugar ground to a smooth powder and then
sifted. It contains about 3% cornstarch to prevent caking. Powdered sugar is
ground into three different degrees of fineness. The confectioners sugar
available in supermarkets – 10X – is the finest of the three and is used in
icings, confections and whipping cream. The other two types of powdered sugar
are used by industrial bakers.
– Also known
as pearl or decorating sugar. As its name implies, the crystal
size of coarse sugar is larger than that of “regular” sugar. Coarse sugar is
recovered when molasses-rich, sugar syrups high in sucrose are allowed to
crystallize. The large crystal size of coarse sugar makes it highly resistant to
color change or inversion (natural breakdown to fructose and glucose) at cooking
and baking temperatures. These characteristics are important in making fondants,
confections and liquors.
Date sugar is more a food than a
sweetener. It is ground up from dehydrated dates, is high in fiber. Its use is
limited by price and the fact it does not dissolve when added to
– Fruit sugar
is slightly finer than “regular” sugar and is used in dry mixes such as gelatin
and pudding desserts, and powdered drinks. Fruit sugar has a more uniform small
crystal size than “regular” sugar. The uniformity of crystal size prevents
separation or settling of larger crystals to the bottom of the box, an important
quality in dry mixes.
called table sugar or white sugar. This is the sugar most known to
consumers, is the sugar found in every home’s sugar bowl, and most commonly used
in home food preparation. It is the most common form of sugar and the type most
frequently called for in recipes. Its main distinguishing characteristics are a
paper-white color and fine crystals.
Sugar cubes – They are made from moist granulated sugar
that is pressed into molds and then dried.
It is essentially the product at the point
before the molasses is removed (what’s left after sugarcane has been processed
and refined). Popular types of raw sugar include demerara sugar from
Guyana and Barbados sugar, a moist, fine textured sugar. Turbinado
sugar is raw sugar that has been steam cleaned to remove contaminates.,
leaving a llight molasses flavored, tan colored sugar.
known as coarse sugar. A large crystal sugar that is used mainly in the
baking and confectionery industries as a sprinkle on top of baked goods. The
large crystals reflect light and give the product a sparkling
Superfine, ultra fine, or bar sugar
– This sugar’s crystal size is the finest of all the types of
granulated white sugar. It is ideal for delicately textured cakes and meringues,
as well as for sweetening fruits and iced-drinks since it dissolves easily. In
England, a sugar very similar to superfine sugar is known as caster or castor
sugar, named after the type of shaker in which it is often
Brown sugar (light and dark)
– Brown sugar retains some of the surface molasses syrup, which
imparts a characteristic pleasurable flavor. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color
and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Lighter types are generally
used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. The rich, full
flavor of dark brown sugar makes it good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked
beans, and other full flavored foods.
in England, Demerara sugar is a light brown sugar with large golden crystals,
which are slightly sticky from the adhering molasses. It is often used in tea,
coffee, or on top of hot cereals.
Muscovado or Barbados sugar
– Muscovado sugar, a British specialty brown sugar, is very dark
brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly
coarser and stickier in texture than “regular” brown sugar.
Free-flowing brown sugars
– These sugars are specialty products produced by a
co-crystallization process. The process yields fine, powder-like brown sugar
that is less moist than “regular” brown sugar. Since it is less moist, it does
not clump and is free-flowing like white sugar.
sugar is raw sugar which has been partially processed, where only the surface
molasses has been washed off. It has a blond color and mild brown sugar flavor,
and is often used in tea and other beverages.
There are several types of liquid
sugar. Liquid sugar (sucrose) is white granulated sugar that has been dissolved
in water before it is used. Liquid sugar is ideal for products whose recipes
first require sugar to be dissolved. Amber liquid sugar is darker in color and
can be used in foods where brown color is desired.
can be split into its two component sugars (glucose and fructose). This process
is called inversion, and the product is called invert sugar. Commercial invert
sugar is a liquid product that contains equal amounts of glucose and fructose.
Because fructose is sweeter than either glucose or sucrose, invert sugar is
sweeter than white sugar. Commercial liquid invert sugars are prepared as
different mixtures of sucrose and invert sugar. For example total invert sugar
is half glucose and half fructose, while 50% invert sugar (half of the sucrose
has been inverted) is one-half sucrose, one-quarter glucose and one-quarter
fructose. Invert sugar is used mainly by food manufacturers to retard the
crystallization of sugar and to retain moisture in the packaged food. Which
particular invert sugar is used is determined by which function – retarding
crystallization or retaining moisture – is required. NOTE:
Home cooks make invert sugar whenever a recipe calls for a sugar to be boiled
gently in a mixture of water and lemon juice.