Sugar in Breads

Ever heard the sound of bread crackling? Sugar is a part of creating that sound in bread as it acts as a tenderizer during mixing. It absorbs water and slows the development of gluten strands, giving bread a tender crumb texture and good volume.

  • Fermentation promoter
    An important role of sugar in bread production is that it provides an immediate and ready source of nourishment for yeast growth, which eventually supports yeast fermentation. Baker’s yeast release carbon dioxide by metabolizing sugar. The leavening of bread is caused by the formation of this gas, supporting its structure, but also providing pleasant texture, flavor, color, aroma, and extension of shelf life.
    With sugar, leavening hastens and the dough rises at a faster and more consistent rate. The amount of sugar in yeast-leavened baked goods can range from 1-20%, based on flour weight. Higher amounts of sugar are used in sweet dough at about 15% (based on flour), and Danish sweet goods at about 20%. The usage of sugar in white bread can be up to 11%, with an average of about 8%.

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  • Caramelization
    Caramelization is a chemical reaction that occurs when sugar is heated above 320°F. At this temperature, sugar molecules begin breaking apart. Sugar transforms from an odorless, sweet crystal to a thick syrup that then transforms into caramel. Caramel ranges in color from light yellow to a deep brown or amber color. The flavor is complex, ranging from sweet, buttery, milky flavor, to robust roasted bitter flavors. As sugar is heated, it becomes less sweet due to the bitter notes of caramel.