The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brown vs White Sugar

Joe_The_Baker's picture

Brown vs White Sugar


I tend to replace white sugar with brown sugar for most things but with my luck with breads I figured I'd ask before I start replacing away.  Has anyone had any experiences with this substitution.  Brown sugar tends to be sweeter but I don't know how it will affect the feeding of the yeast.




clazar123's picture

Brown sugar is the same as white sugar with molasses and that combo is a fine sweetener for bread. The obvious effects it has is that it will darken the dough a bit and it also attracts more moisture in the baked product. A plus in my book,usually.

Alton Brown apparently agrees:


alabubba's picture

Skip the sugar and just use the molasses.


Ford's picture

Many jars of molasses in the USA say they have sulfites or sulfur dioxide.  This is frequently used to kill yeast.  I have no experience with the molasses in yeasted bread or sourdough, but I was concerned that the sulfur compounds would work adversely with the leavening.  Comment?


Chuck's picture

You made me look.

I didn't think what I've been using with no problems was anything special; I just picked up the bottle my supermarket featured. The front says "Grandma's Robust Molasses". When I turned the bottle around to look at the ingredient list, sure enough the only ingredient listed is "Unsulphured Molasses". (I should have copped to the clue of some of the other words on the front label: "All Natural" and even "Unsulphured".)

So either it isn't very hard to get molasses that definitely has no sulfites, or the buyers at my local supermarket are more touchy-feely than I realized.

(BTW, the last jar I had lasted in my cupboard [mostly about 65F, sometimes cooler and sometimes hotter] for about five years with no signs at all of spoiling  ...maybe I was lucky:-)

yozzause's picture

If I am making sweet bread dough brown sugar works just fine especially if you are not worrying about the finished crumb colour and if you are using cinnamon or bunspice it isnt going to be a problem anyway. it is just a less refined product

Joe_The_Baker's picture

Thanks for the sulphur info.

I threw away the bag that the sugar that I have came in (always keep it in a jar).  But next trip to the grocery store I'll be looking at the ingredients more carefully.  I will try to find no sulphur on either sugar or molasses.

As far as the color I actually think that a darker bread will look pretty good.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Always use clean utensils and a dry cloth to wipe the lid and rim clean and dry after use. 

Unsulphured molasses can react to water or anything introduced into the jar and start fermenting.  I had one jar ferment on me and I'm sure it had something to do with an elf sticking their finger into the jar to taste it.  It was a mess to clean up, it had burst and flowed everywhere in the pantry.  Might also be a good idea to store it cold.