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Old 08-31-2006, 09:16 AM   #1
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All my life I've used C&H Pure Cane sugar. When I moved to NC they didn't have C&H. I bought Dixie Crystals and found the granules HUGE compared to my TNT C&H. When I used it, my cookies and bread were dry and the stuff doesn't dissolve in other liquids like tea and what not. I ended up with Walmart brand last time and it was smaller granules but still slightly bigger than C&H. However, there weren't the issues that I had with the Dixie Crystals. Why is that? It's the only variable unless it's the air here. I'm trying to make sure when I start baking again once the weather cools that I'm figuring out what is wrong with the sugar here or if it's the air or if it would just be worth it to send my SIL in CA money to buy and ship me the C&H (which, I know, would make it about a $3 a lb 5 pound bag of sugar).

These are recipes I've made all my life with C&H and never had a problem, I'm just trying to analyse what happened here.


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Old 08-31-2006, 09:25 AM   #2
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Smaller granules pack together more closely than larger granules. This means there is more sugar in a cup when you use smaller granule sugar than there is with a larger grain sugar. The amount of sugar in the recipe determines the moisture in the finished product.

Also, smaller grains have more surface are to present to a liquid so they dissolve faster.

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Old 08-31-2006, 09:34 AM   #3
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If it is a real issue for your baking could you put the sugar in a mixer with a blade for a moment? You'd have to be careful not to turn it into icing sugar...but it strikes me as being easier than posting.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:23 AM   #4
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Actually - you have 4 differences ... and no, I'm not counting the air.

Sugar Granule Size: C&H doesn't say what calibration (size) their crystals are, but Dixie Crystals is a med-fine size (although it is marked extra-fine on the bag), according to their website. Since granule sizes can range from med-fine, to fine, to extra fine, to super fine ... you just have to look at the bags and try to find a brand that matches the granule size of the C&H. Of course, there is the matter of the sugar - to keep this part equal, make sure the bag says "Pure Cane Sugar" - if it doesn't it could be beet sugar, or a blend of cane and beet. This, I have read, can make a big difference in baked goods. And, as Lulu said - throw your sugar into your food processor with the steel blade and take it for a spin - until it is the consistency you are looking for.

Flour: All-Purpose flour in CA is not the same critter as what you get in NC - they are blended a little differently - especially if you are using a "local" Southern brand. But, even national brands who claim they blend theirs the same for distribution all across the country show regional differences - for example Gold Medal flour purchased in CA did not perform the same as Gold Medal flour purchased in TN. The Artisan website has some good information on this and the test they conducted on their Flour Test page.

Water: The pH and hardness/softness of the water can sometimes make a difference - especially if your recipe is using a chemical leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda - but it can also affect yeast leavened breads, too. It can also affect the flavor.

Now ... even if all of those were the same ...

Oven: Different ovens behave differently. Gas ovens produce water vapor - electric ovens don't. Thermostats are not always (seldom) accurate ... if you used an oven thermometer to verify the temp of your oven in CA you can use it to get your oven in NC to the same temp ... but if you didn't ..... you're going to need to get one and do a little experimenting.

It will just take a little time experimenting to figure out what adjustments you need to make using new stuff. Making a perfect batch of cookies after moving from one side of the country to the other shouldn't be that hard, should it? But, it can be.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:50 AM   #5
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Thank you Michael. Particularly for the flour info. I was/am using Gold Medal assuming it was the same here and there. That was extremely helpful.

The funniest part about the cookies, I'm the only one complaining because my daughter's just happy to get the cookies. But when I gift them and send them to PA, I need them perfect one just to make me happy, two, to upstage my father's woman friend that thinks she's god's gift to cooking. :)

Thanks again so much.

Andy, that was definitely info I didn't know. Thanks!! And no more Dixie Crystals for me. That stuff is useless. THanks!
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:34 PM   #6
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Yep!Just throw into food proccessor give a few whirls til it's the fineness you want.
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:58 PM   #7
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I wonder which brands Barbara L and Crewsk use - they're both in the Carolinas.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:41 PM   #8
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jkath ~ I think I need to get your addy and send you postage and a few bucks for C & H. My DD was in CA this summer and forgot to bring some back. Surprisingly, the WalMart brand is the best I've found out here yet Dixie Crystals is pushed like there is no other available.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:15 PM   #9
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I am in the Carolinas and have used all the sugars known to man, including C&H and noticed no difference. But if you want a smaller granule, whirl it up. It will, however change your recipe by volume.
I would also be pretty sure you can find C&H in Carolina. Look at the Fresh Market, Whole Foods, whatever you have.
The one different sugar I found one time was basically "wet". That was an unpleasant surprise.
And yes, some flour in the South is different, particularly White Lily. It is a soft flour especially good for biscuits. But it still can be used for other things. I guess you guys are just 'WAY beyond me in baking. I just don't have these problems, particularly with cookies. For bread I use supermarket bread flour, although there is a mill near Greensboro that has good stone ground flours. And King Arthur is available everywhere.
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:39 AM   #10
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Raw Cane Sugar

I also use raw cane sugar. i always find it disolves less easily, than white sugar, and there is no way to get it to completely disolved.
There is a sugar i sometimes use, which is more disolvable. It is completely unrefined rew cane sugar. (the regular raw cane sugars are usually slightly refined)
The one i use, comes in a very fine powder. However, it has a much stronger flavour, than the regular raw cane sugar, so u would have to try it and make sure u like it. The brand name is Natura. I buy it here in Germany. Dont know if it is available, where u are.
I suppose i may appear rude, with the following question, but please forgive.
Are u sure the C&H sugar u used to use was real raw cane sugar. Coloured white sugar can also be bought. It would disolve in the same way as white sugar does.
And what about using honey, instead of sugar, in your recipes?

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