Brown Sugar Vs. Granulated Sugar; Get To Know The Difference

Sugar is an integral element to everyday cooking and baking purposes, as much as salt is. From being used to create baked dishes, confections, sauces; and help balance flavour in a stew or curry, accelerate caramelisation and more, the science behind sugar is a fascinating process of chemical reactions that transform the flavours and composition of food. Sugar also has a major role to play while making dough of any kind – it helps with protein coagulation, gluten formation and gelatinization of starch. However, while granulated sugar is almost 99% sucrose – a product composed of glucose and fructose subunits; while brown sugar is an unrefined, almost toffee-like sweetener.

Granulated Sugar

Colourless, odourless and neutral in flavour, granulated sugar transforms into a bitter substance when heat is applied for a prolonged period of time. White sugar is processed to a higher level in order to get rid of impurities present in the extract from sugarcane and pressed into small crystals in a centrifuge, where it separates from the molasses. Subsequently, granulated sugar is also run through a system known as bone char or crushed animal bones, to form white sugar. While granulated sugar and brown sugar is typically used interchangeably in recipes, using white sugar might result in a crisper, slightly dry product compared to brown sugar. Choosing to use refined sugar in a recipe will also result in a lighter colour end-product, where brown sugar would’ve added a deeper, brown colour.

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Brown Sugar

Image Credits: Insanely Good Recipes

When compared to granulated sugar that possesses zero nutritional value, brown sugar is replete with calcium, iron and potassium contents. A spoonful of brown sugar contains fewer calories as opposed to granulated sugar. Unrefined brown sugar undergoes considerably less processing than refined sugar, which enables it to retain some of its molasses and natural brown colour which it derives from the slow-cooking of sugarcane extracts. Using brown sugar for confections, contributes more moisture to the recipe, making dishes like cookies, cakes and pies have a denser and moister texture. Brown sugar is typically used for baked goods that must yield denser results, compared to white sugar which is used for souffles, meringues and mousses. The flavour of brown sugar is almost similar to caramel, courtesy of the molasses present in the composition and has a sticky, fine texture.