We all know that sugar is an essential ingredient in baking, but how much do you actually know about the uses of sugar in baking? Not only does sugar provide flavour for your baked goods, it also serves as a stabiliser and gives your baked goods a different texture.
What do you get when you add sugar to water? When these two ingredients meet, a strong bond is formed between the two and this bond plays an important role in baking. The water-sugar bond can help to keep baked goods moist and soft as it locks in the moisture, preventing your goodies from drying out so quickly. Altering the amount of sugar used in your recipes could also affect how tender your baked products are. What keeps your baked goods in shape are the proteins and starches present in the recipe. Having too much of these and you might end up with a really tough cake. Here is where the sugar comes into play. Sugar takes up water as well, controlling the amount of structure building happening in your batter. Results? Soft and tender goodies.
Very often when making meringues, you will realise the vast amount of sugar required. The sugar helps to prevent the egg from being over-beaten and forms a protective coat around the air bubbles to keep your meringue light and fluffy. When the sugar is beaten, it will dissolve in the water to form a layer of sugar syrup which will act as a protective layer for the air bubbles, and thus allow your meringue to reach its desired volume and texture.
When sugar is heated to the right temperature, it caramelises. This gives your baked product a more unique and distinct flavour and also a slightly golden brown colour. However, do take note of how you proceed with caramelising sugar as many attempts end up in failure. It is important to know the right temperature at which your sugar melts and also to ensure that you are always watching it. You wouldn’t want the sugar to burn and spoil your efforts, would you?
Now that we know that sugar can melt and become caramelised at a certain temperature, did you know that when the moisture evaporates from the surface of baked goods, the sugar on the layer will re-crystalise. This would give you a nice crispy layer. Crunchy and sweet!
Now you have an excuse not to cut down on the sugar when baking your favourite treats. We are kidding - too much sugar is never good, so consume less sugar when desired! We do portioning that cater to your required amounts of ingredients, so feel free to purchase less sugar!