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Old 05-09-2006, 09:13 PM   #1
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Hard Sugar Problems

I know this may seem silly :^{) however I
came across a container of baker's sugar in my cabinet that is as hard as a rock. I tried breaking it up with a spoon but only succeded in bending the spoon. Does anyone know how I can make the hard sugar useable for baking, and how to keep it from getting hard again if possible.
Thanks greatly much for your help.

Timeloyd Rich

Time is an illusion. Lunch time doubly so
Ford Prefect ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

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Old 05-09-2006, 09:47 PM   #2
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Put sugar in tea towel (or sturdy plastic bag), bash with rolling pin or mallet. Repeat as necessary.

As to preventing it getting hard again I would say it is a moisture problem. Ensure that you are storing it in an airtight container and keep the container somewhere that is dry. Additionally you can rescue some moisture absorption sachets from various edible products such as vitamins (and other things) and place them in with the sugar.
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:46 AM   #3
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For quick use, you might try microwaving the sugar as needed. To prevent hardening, I know people use dry uncooked rice in salt shakers, so maybe that would work with sugar as well. Maybe you should store your sugar in the refrigerator to prevent moisture build up.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:09 AM   #4
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Sugar is hygroscopic - it absorbs moisture from it's surroundings, including the air. If you put an unopened paper bag, or cardboard box, of sugar on the shelf for a few weeks or months it will absorb moisture thru the paper bag. Since you noted that you "came across this in the cabinet" I'm going to venture a guess that it has been there for a while. It's just a matter of time+humidity+temperature.

I agree with Haggis. To prevent this in the future - store it in an air-tight container of some sort and store in a cool dry place (the cabinets over the stove, under the sink or above/beside the dishwasher are usually the most humid areas in the kitchen). Even putting the bag in a zip-lock freezer bag (freezer bags are less porous than the regular bags) and squeezing out as much air as possible will help until you can get a proper storage container.

Rescue is probably best done as Haggis suggested - put it inside a couple of freezer bags and whack it with a smooth heavy mallet, rolling pin, a big stick like a baseball bat or a hunk of 2x4, etc. until you break it up a bit into small chunks. You can then put some into a dry food processor bowl with the steel blade in small batches and pulse a few times until it breaks down into granuals again. One thing you don't want to do is just pop a bunch in the food processor and just turn it on to run for a few minutes ... unless you don't mind it being reduced to super-fine texture.
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