Even when we think we properly stored brown sugars in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, they tend to become dry, hard, and lumpy. Any brown sugar --- be it refined, raw, or unrefined --- contain moisture, which may evaporate, particularly after we open the original package.
Hardened brown sugar can be softened by returning the moisture to it, and I listed five ways to soften them in a previous post titled Never Toss Harden Brown Sugar. Learn How to Store it Indefinitely with Clay Softeners.
However, wouldn't it be nice if we had a brown sugar that does not harden?
In this post, I write about two sweeteners --- Sucanat and Pourable Brown Sugar. Both do not clump, cake, or harden over time. They are referred to as "free-flowing" brown sugars.
What's a Free-flowing Brown Sugar?
Free-flowing brown sugars have loose, dry crystals that are easy to scoop, spoon or pour. They contain less moisture, and so, weigh less than regular, raw, and unrefined brown sugars (learn their differences here). When substituting them, we are supposed to measure "equal volume," not "equal weight."
We should be prepared to adjust our recipe when substituting table sugar or regular brown sugars for those types of sweeteners. They do not dissolve the same way into batters and doughs, and we may have to add more of it to get similar results.
Free-flowing brown sugars have about the same sweetness level and calories of table sugar. They provide 16 calories per teaspoon, and we can directly swap the same amount to get equal sweetness level.
Sucanat, which stands for Sugar Cane Natural, is a cane sugar produced by a drying process developed by the Swiss company Pronatec. Sucanat is a registered trademark of Wholesome Sweeteners Inc, from Sugar Land, TX.
Sucanat is an unrefined sugar: All cane sugars in stores are, in fact, highly refined, even the so-called "raw" and "unrefined". The least refined are referred to as unrefined. Unrefined and raw sugars come straight from the freshly harvested cane. The difference between them is in the amount of the original cane molasses they retain after the refining process. Unrefined sugars end up with 8 to 13% molasses and raw sugars with 2 to 3%. The refining process of Sucanat involves crushing the cane stalk to extract the juice, which is then clarified and heated in large vats. Hand paddling cools and dries the syrup.
A sugar with strong molasses flavor and a brown color: Sucanat contains 13% molasses, which is responsible for the characteristic flavor and color. Sucanat has a much higher molasses content than regular brown sugars (about 3% and 8% molasses respectively for light and dark brown).
A blend of sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose) and water: Sucanat contains around 95% sucrose and 2.5% invert sugar (glucose plus fructose); the main remainder is water.
What's in stores? Wholesome (former Wholesome Sweeteners) Sucanat is organic, fair trade certified, non-GMO project verified, vegan, and vegetarian. A variety of companies are licensed distributors of Sucanat in the U.S., such as Now Foods.
Pourable Brown Sugar
Pourable brown sugar is a type of cane sugar, also known as molasses granules or Brownulated® sugar. As the name implies, it pours easily and is convenient to measure and sprinkle over cereal and oatmeal. It is not promoted for baking.
A refined sugar from cane: Pourable brown sugar is produced from an extremely fine refined sugar by a method called "CoCrystallization". The very fine sugar crystals --- from 0.003 to 0.03 mm --- are cocrystallized (agglomerated) with cane syrup. Each granule of the resulting sugar consists of many tiny crystals held together by the syrup in a porous sponge-like structure.
A blend of sugar and water: Pourable brown sugar contains 91 to 94 percent sucrose, 2.5 to 3 percent invert sugar (glucose plus fructose), and about 0.75 percent water.
Sucanat is a type of unrefined cane sugar. Pourable Brown Sugar is a refined cane sugar. The advantages are they do not clump, cake, or harden as regular brown sugars do. They are easy to measure and sprinkle. Both offer a strong molasses flavor. I would not choose them based on the nutrition value, because one is not much different than the other. Chemically speaking, both are a blend of sugars (sucrose, fructose, glucose) and water — Sucanat and Pourable Brown Sugar have about 97 percent sugar and the remainder is mostly water.
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