Q. Can brown sugar be substituted for granulated sugar in recipes?
A. Yes, an equal substitution of brown sugar for granulated sugar can be done. It mostly depends on your personal taste. Using brown sugar will add a molasses flavor to whatever it is you're making.
Q. Can confectioners sugar be substituted for granulated sugar in recipes?
A. It is not recommended to substitute confectioners sugar for granulated sugar. Since confectioners sugar has a much finer texture, and it contains a small percentage of cornstarch to prevent caking, substituting can give you unexpected results.
Q. Does sugar do anything other than sweeten baked goods?
A. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar adds flavor, bulk, and structure. In cakes without shortening, sugar helps delay egg coagulation and allows a cake to "set" properly. It also retains moisture in baked goods. And when heated above its melting point, it caramelizes and takes on an amber color with a wonderful aroma and flavor. Sugar reacts chemically with proteins during baking and browns the food surface. Higher sugar content in baked goods results in a darker surface.
Q. What does sugar do in breads?
A. Sugar acts as a tenderizer during mixing. It absorbs water and slows the development of gluten strands that can make the dough or batter rigid and tough. Use sugar to prevent gluten development and give your breads a tender crumb texture and good volume. In addition, sugar provides an immediate and ready source of nourishment for the yeast growth. With sugar, leavening hastens and the dough rises at a faster and more consistent rate. If you want less sugar in your bread, you can remove 1 or 2 tablespoons without changing most recipes. Conversely, you can usually add a tablespoon of sugar to most bread recipes (1 tablespoon to 3 cups of flour) with no problems. And from an aesthetic point of view, sugar gives baked goods a wonderfully golden brown crust.