The Roles of Sugar in Baking

Have you ever wondered why are Asian breads softer than European breads? Sugar is one of the reasons.

The most obvious role of sugar in breadmaking is that it adds sweetness to breads. However, it plays more roles than that.

  1. Flavour
    Adding sweetness and flavour is the most recognized characteristic of sugar. Different types of sugar, such as granulated sugar and brown sugar, releases different depth of flavour on top of sweetness.
  2. Texture
    Sugar is hydroscopic, meaning it retains moisture in the final product and is the best softening ingredient. Because sugar holds onto moisture, breads made with sugar do not stale as quickly as those without.
  3. Colour
    Sugar promotes browning of breads due to the way it caramelizes when heated. Breads with higher ratio of sugar will brown more quickly than those with little to no sugar.
  4. Fermentation
    Sugar is important in controlling yeast activity. In high sugar recipes, it is important to use the correct yeast to prevent overwhelming the yeast with ethanol production and slowing down fermentation.When baking high sugar breads, do allow extra mixing time from the slowdown in dough development. Sometimes, the addition of sugar to the mix is delayed as a work around.

The level of sugar used in a recipe is largely determined by the type of finished product, ranging from 0% in artisanal style bread to 40% or more in brioche and cream buns.

The percentage of use is also very dependent on cost as it is an expensive ingredient.

Our Saf-instant® range

Our Saf-Instant® range of instant dry yeast is designed for ease of use and is specially developed to cater to the sugar levels of your chosen dough. Here’s our handy guide based on different bread-making needs:

  • Saf-instant® Red – ideal for lean or low sugar dough with 0% to 5% sugar on flour weight.
  • Saf-instant® Gold – best option for moderately sweet dough containing 5% to 10% sugar on flour weight.
  • Saf-instant® Blue—your instant yeast of choice for dough containing over 10% sugar on flour weight.

Saf-instant® instant dry yeast boasts superior fermentation power and allows for stable, consistent, and high-quality results every time.

Reach out to your local distributor for more information.

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