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Foundation for Diet and Health
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The best perspective for your health
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Brown sugar

Brown sugar tastes a little like caramel and is therefore a popular ingredient for cakes, cookies, and sweets.
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General information:

Translated from “ernaehrungsstudio.nestle.de”: Sugar belongs to the group of carbohydrates, which include fruit (fructose), grape sugar (glucose), milk sugar (lactose), household sugar (sucrose), and also starch. The term sugar is used mainly for common household sugar, which is extracted from sugar beet in Europe, and sugar cane in other parts of the world.”

From WikipediaBrown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content (natural brown sugar), or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar (commercial brown sugar).”

Properties of brown sugar:

“The Codex Alimentarius requires brown sugar to contain at least 88% of sucrose plus invert sugar. Commercial brown sugar contains from 4.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar) based on total volume. Based on total weight, regular commercial brown sugar contains up to 10% molasses. The product is naturally moist from the hygroscopic nature of the molasses and is often labelled as "soft." The product may undergo processing to give a product that flows better for industrial handling. The addition of dyes or other chemicals may be permitted in some areas or for industrial products.

Particle size is variable but generally less than granulated white sugar. Products for industrial use (e.g., the industrial production of cakes) may be based on caster sugar which has crystals of approximately 0.35 mm.

Culinary considerations:

“Brown sugar adds flavor to desserts and baked goods. It can be substituted for maple sugar, and maple sugar can be substituted for it in recipes. Brown sugar caramelizes much more readily than refined sugar, and this effect can be used to make glazes and gravies brown while cooking.

For domestic purposes one can create the exact equivalent of brown sugar by mixing white sugar with molasses. Suitable proportions are about one tablespoon of molasses to each cup of sugar (one-sixteenth of the total volume). Molasses comprises 10% of brown sugar's total weight, which is about one ninth of the white sugar weight. Due to varying qualities and colors of molasses products, for lighter or darker sugar, reduce or increase its proportion according to taste.

In following a modern recipe that specifies "brown sugar", one usually may assume that the intended meaning is light brown sugar, but which one prefers is largely a matter of taste. Even in recipes such as cakes, where the moisture content might be critical, the amount of water involved is too small to matter. More importantly, adding dark brown sugar or molasses will impart a stronger flavor, with more of a suggestion of caramel.

Brown sugar that has hardened can be made soft again by adding a new source of moisture for the molasses, or by heating and remelting the molasses. Storing brown sugar in a freezer will prevent moisture from escaping and molasses from crystallizing, allowing for a much longer shelf life.

Nutritional value:

Brown sugar has a slightly lower caloric value by mass than white sugar due to the presence of water. One hundred grams of brown sugar contains 373 kilo calories, as opposed to 396 kilo calories in white sugar. However, brown sugar packs more densely than white sugar due to the smaller crystal size and may have more calories when measured by volume.

Any minerals present in brown sugar come from the molasses added to the white sugar. Some molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon of molasses provides up to 20% of the daily value of each of those nutrients.

Brown sugar contains minute amounts of minerals, but the difference in its mineral content from white sugar is not enough for added nutritive value in the amounts that sugar is consumed.”


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