"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-11-2010, 06:28 AM   #1
Head Chef
 
letscook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Finger Lakes of NY
Posts: 1,880
Is Your Brown Sugar Hard?

I thought someone at one time wanted to know how to soften hard brown sugar. I found this in a article I was reading on different kitchen tips.
---------------------------
What's the best way to keep brown sugar soft—or soften it once it's hard.

When brown sugar comes into contact with air, the moisture in the sugar evaporates. This eventually causes the sugar to lump together. You can prevent this by storing brown sugar in a zipper-lock plastic bag or in a tightly covered plastic container--the latter makes scooping and measuring easier. Storing brown sugar in the refrigerator will also help keep it fresh and soft.

If your brown sugar does harden, heat or moisture can be applied to soften it. For sugar not needed right away, place a slice of bread in a container with a tight lid, add the sugar, and close. By the next day, the sugar will have absorbed the moisture in the bread and softened. Some cookbooks recommend using an apple slice in the same fashion, but we found that the apple was so moisture-laden that some of the sugar began to melt, and the apple imparted an unwelcome flavor.

If you realize at the last minute that your brown sugar has hardened, heat must be applied to soften it. The microwave on low power does the job in a minute or two, but can be difficult to control. The sugar can melt in some spots and remain lumpy in others. We found a 250-degree oven to be more reliable. Placing a measuring cup full of water in the oven to add moisture, a step recommended on some brown sugar packages, was found to be unnecessary in our tests.

Spread the sugar in a pie plate or on a square of aluminum foil. After about three minutes in a preheated oven, poke the sugar with a fork to see if it crumbles; if not, leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. In our tests, brown sugar softened in three to seven minutes, depending on how hard it had become. Cool the softened sugar, and store in an airtight container any not being used immediately.

__________________

__________________
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching
letscook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
Certifiable Executive Chef
 
Janet H's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 3,283
Thanks for posting this! Very timely - as I have a cookie project to do and a brown sugar boulder in my pantry.
__________________

__________________
Forget love... I'd rather fall in chocolate!
Janet H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #3
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,120
Those are all good tips.
I use the microwave method. Microwave (high) for 20 seconds at a time, and crumble with your hands until smooth. Works well with white sugar and brown sugar.
__________________
blissful is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:14 PM   #4
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 18,765
nuke the sugar, save the whales!

i nuke my lump o' dark brown sugar for maybe 15 seconds or so, just enough to crush a chunk off. it crumbles easily after that.

ya know, i recently bought demerara sugar, and it stays granulated. i'll have to look into why that happens. maybe the amount of molasses?
__________________
in nomine patri, et fili, et spiritus sancti.


Meh nom eh noh...doot dooooo do do do.
buckytom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:30 PM   #5
Chef Extraordinaire
 
taxlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: near Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 18,893
Send a message via Skype™ to taxlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
nuke the sugar, save the whales!

i nuke my lump o' dark brown sugar for maybe 15 seconds or so, just enough to crush a chunk off. it crumbles easily after that.

ya know, i recently bought demerara sugar, and it stays granulated. i'll have to look into why that happens. maybe the amount of molasses?
Maybe it has something to do with the size of the sugar crystals. I seem to remember they are slightly larger in demerara sugar.

I usually grate off the amount I need if it is hard and I need it right away. I'll have to try the nuke it method.

Your nuke it method sounds like what I do when I'm defrosting ground beef
__________________
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
Robert A. Heinlein
taxlady is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
Ogress Supreme
 
PrincessFiona60's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 36,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Maybe it has something to do with the size of the sugar crystals. I seem to remember they are slightly larger in demerara sugar.

I usually grate off the amount I need if it is hard and I need it right away. I'll have to try the nuke it method.

Your nuke it method sounds like what I do when I'm defrosting ground beef
I usually grate off what I need and toss the heel off a loaf of bread into the container for the next time. Most of the time, brown sugar is going into hot cereal in my house, not being used for baking.
__________________
PrincessFiona60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:45 PM   #7
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,390
I'm surprised to see so many with this issue. I don't do anything special and never have a problem. I can't explain why...
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
Ogress Supreme
 
PrincessFiona60's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 36,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I'm surprised to see so many with this issue. I don't do anything special and never have a problem. I can't explain why...
Since I don't bake many sweets anymore, it's hard to use up a bag of brown sugar before it gets hard. I've actually been using Sucanat, desiccated brown suger, for my hot cereal, only buying small amounts of regular brown sugar when I need it. I also keep a bottle of blackstrap molasses to use as a replacement.
__________________
PrincessFiona60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
 
taxlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: near Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 18,893
Send a message via Skype™ to taxlady
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I'm surprised to see so many with this issue. I don't do anything special and never have a problem. I can't explain why...
I can think of two possible reasons:
  1. Your air tight container is actually air tight and not just sort of air tight.
  2. You use up your brown sugar faster than those of us who have the problem.
__________________
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
Robert A. Heinlein
taxlady is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
Chef Extraordinaire
 
taxlady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: near Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 18,893
Send a message via Skype™ to taxlady
I usually put a piece of lettuce or some apple peel to soften brown sugar. I have also read to tape a piece of moist paper towel to the inside of the lid.
__________________

__________________
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
Robert A. Heinlein
taxlady is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.