It’s frustrating when you open a packet of brown sugar only to find that it has become somewhat of a brick. It’s rock hard. When brown sugar goes hard, it is important to soften it before you use it for cooking. With that being said, in this guide, we will reveal how to make brown sugar soft, as well as divulging why you end up with hard brown sugar in the first place.
Why is Brown Sugar Brown?
This happens due to the presence of molasses. There are many types of brown sugar, including naturally occurring brown sugar, as well as turbinado, demerara, muscovado, dark brown sugar, and light brown sugar.
Why Does Brown Sugar Go Hard?
There is only one place to begin, and this is by taking a look at why brown sugar goes hard! After all, white sugar doesn’t seem to go hard, so what’s so different and special about brown sugar? Well, a thin layer of molasses coats each crystal of brown sugar. When the brown sugar is fresh, this film makes the brown sugar malleable and soft because the crystals of sugar easily slip over one and other. However, when the brown sugar has been opened and it is left exposed to the air, the moisture in the coating of the molasses will evaporate. You end up with a solid mass because the individual sugar particles literally glue to one and other because the film between them dries out. So, now you know why brown sugar goes hard, so let’s take a look at what you can do about it.
How To Soften Brown Sugar
There are two options available if you want to soften brown sugar, so we’re going to take a look at both of them in more detail. The first method is a classic one, which can take 24 hours. The second method is for those who do not have the luxury of time on their hands. After all, most of the time we realize that our packet of brown sugar has gone hard just when we want to use it.
Softening Brown Sugar Overnight
While this may be a lengthier process in terms of time, it is actually really straightforward and does not require any effort on your behalf. All you need is a single slice as bread. Simply make some space for a slice of bread in the jar that you keep your brown sugar in. If you don’t keep it in a jar, now would be a good time to do so! It’s important because you want that airtight seal. So, place the bread inside with the sugar, seal the jar and simply wait for 24 hours. Once you have done this, the sugar will absorb the moisture within the slice of bread. This will cause the brown sugar to return to the state it was in when you first purchased it.
Softening Brown Sugar By Using The Microwave
If you cannot wait 24 hours, don’t panic – there is another method! This involves using a microwave. It’ll take a bit more effort on your behalf, but it is still pretty simple. The first thing that you need to do is place the lump of solid, dry brown sugar into a bowl. Make sure the bowl is microwave-safe. Once you have done this, you should place two pieces of kitchen paper towel on top of each other. You should then fold these papers in half. Then, do it once more. This means you will end up with a paper towel square that has eight layers. Turn on your kitchen tap gently so that you can wet the paper towel square. Make sure it is wet all of the way through, but not soaked. If it is dripping wet, you have gone too far and you will need to start again.
Once you have done this, you should place the wet paper towel layer over the lump of brown sugar. Make sure the sugar is completely covered. You should then turn your microwave setting to a medium-low heat and then turn it on for 45 seconds. Once you have done this, remove the bowl from the microwave, flip the sugar lump over, and then repeat the process. Whenever you remove the bowl from the microwave, you will need to get the softened bits of sugar off that is surrounding the hard lump. Just use a fork to do this. You will need to keep repeating this again and again until the entire block is soft. How long this will take depends on the size of the hardened lump of sugar. Often, it will take around five to six attempts. However, for a big block of sugar, you can expect it to take around 10 45-second stints in the microwave.
What Are The Benefits Of Cooking With Brown Sugar?
There are a number of different reasons why you should consider cooking and baking with brown sugar, as it offers numerous benefits. In terms of health benefits, there have been proven benefits with regards to suppressing asthma symptoms, lowering excess flatulence in the gut, relieving some of the discomfort associated with pregnancy, giving a good boost of energy, and it can eliminate the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
So there you have it: two different approaches that you can use to soften brown sugar. It can be frustrating when you open a packet of brown sugar to find that it has gone hard. However, hopefully, you now understand why this has happened, and you have two different methods for tackling it. One is really simple, but requires you to wait a day. The other is a bit more labor-intensive, but means you can continue with your cooking straight away.