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Jul 7, 2007 01:38 PM

Tips to loosen up brown sugar?

The brown sugar's solid as a rock. Is there any way to salvage it without using a hammer?

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  1. place the sugar in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to flatten and loosen up the sugar. Good luck.

    2 Replies
    1. re: marlie202

      A slice of bread. Close the container. The next morning, it's perfect.

      1. re: rilkeanheart

        This works like a charm. I tried it and was amazed with the results. Thanks.

    2. you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds with either a piece of apple of slice of bread. this has worked for me before

      3 Replies
      1. re: fudisgud

        I've not tried the microwave trick, thanks for the idea :)

        I usually put the hardened block of brown sugar into a zippered plastic bag and add a slice or two of apple, seal, and let sit for 24-or-so-hours.

        In the future, buy one of those brown sugar bears: - they're marvelous. (Er, you don't necessarily have to buy from the above company, they're just what came-up first on a search - provided as an example of what I mean, not shilling for the company.)

        1. re: ElsieDee

          I've also heard of the microwave solution...I am originally from New Jersey and used to store my brown sugar with *a smallish slice of bread* to keep it moist. Have been in SW Florida for almost 20 years and keeping it moist is NOT a problem any longer, even with a/c. Does anyone else use the bread trick to keep it moist?

          1. re: Val

            I usually zip it up in a ziplock bag, and then put the bag in a Click-Clack storage container. But if I forget to do that, it's a half a bread slice, and it's back to soft within 24-48 hours.

        1. re: nyfoodjoe

          Do you nuke it in its original bag?

          1. re: ElsieDee

            yep...i do. same bag...30 sec's or so...maybe a few more depending on your mic. Works everytime for me.

        2. I keep my brown sugar in rubbermaid container (I have a square one the whole bag fits it), and everytime I use it add a drop or two of water before sealing up and putting away so it never gets hard. This will also soften hardened sugar, just takes a little time.

          1. Here's a way to prevent this problem: I never buy brown sugar. I always have white sugar and molasses, so when I need brown sugar, I mix a little molasses into the required amount of white sugar. Or, putting both separately into the recipe works in a lot of situations - you don't need to premix it if you are, say, creaming butter and sugar, but if you are cutting the butter in it's better to mix it first. Anyway, this way I have one less container to squeeze into my pantry and most important, I think it tastes a lot better than the kind you buy.

            13 Replies
            1. re: wombat

              Wombat, you took the words right outa my mouth!

              1. re: wombat

                If I understand correctly, by law or custom molasses is extracted from the sugar to a refined state, then added back to the sugar for turbinado or brown sugar.
                Regardless, what is the ratio of sugar to molasses for light or dark brown sugar?

                1. re: Phood

                  I remember reading somewhere a million years ago that they don't really make it that way any more. They add, carmelized sugar, or something like that, instead? Whatever it is, it's a different flavor.

                  As for the ratio, I do it by color, but to start, it's a lot less than you might think, so be careful.

                  1. re: wombat

                    Checking my research sources, that is exactly how brown sugar is made: the sugar is refined to white, then molasses is added back in.

                    Sure would like to know wombat how much you add -- I know you probably just eyeball it. Would you say it's about a teaspoon per cup of white sugar? It's a good idea and I bet the flavor *is* much better.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      I do just eyeball it, but a teaspoon might be about right to make light brown.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        you could just buy real brown cane sugar, instead of white sugar with added molasses for fake brown sugar. then you'd avoid that "iron-y" molasses taste, and the clumping, and the not melting properly, and the foaming problem-- not desirable in some baked goods or sauces. it's not expensive, & is available in the regular grocery store. . .

                        1. re: soupkitten

                          Soupkitten, I have never seen this. Is there a brand you can recommend? Do I need to go to a health foods store to find it? Thanks.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            there are some nice brown sugars in health food type stores, but c & h is nationally distributed, cheap and in regular groceries i believe-- here is a link


                            1. re: soupkitten

                              Thank you, soupkitten.

                              Just spoke with the folks at C&H. Their brown sugar leaves the molasses intact. Beet sugar is usually refined to white, then molasses is sprayed over it to make it brown.

                              Just remember that beet sugar reacts far differently than cane sugar in recipes. Beet sugar likes to burn when you caramelize it, and will turn icing into an ugly crystallized mess.

                              Still like wombat's idea the best though.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                went back and actually read the site-- agree it is vague-- "traditional method of crystallization"-- so do they add molasses or just leave it in?

                                i do like some of the lesser processed brown cane sugars i can get in bulk from the food co-op-y places, but i've used c&h a lot too, so i'll wait in anticipation of them writing you back, please let me know!

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  Revised my post, kitten, to reflect updated info from C&H.

                      2. re: wombat

                        Well, Phood and Wombat, you're both right. See above. Brown beet sugar gets its color from sprayed molasses. Cane sugar usually leaves the molasses intact. By the way, the two sugars cannot be used interchangedly.

                      3. re: Phood

                        actually no. turbinado is supposed to be sugar that not all the molasses has been extracted from, while in brown sugar it has been fully extracted and replaced.

                        (how's that for torturing a sentence to the point of breaking?)