Imagine you are in the middle of making a delicious batch of biscuits, or have just finished cooking some pearls and want to make milk tea. You reach for your jar of brown sugar only to find that it has hardened like ice. KITCHENBAR understands that you’re really upset, so let’s learn how to soften brown sugar with us. Plus, we’ve included a few tips for keeping brown sugar soft and fragrant.
The Reason for Dried Out Brown Sugar
The brown in brown sugar is molasses, and it is not a fan of the air. Molasses will evaporate when exposed to the elements in your kitchen, turning your brown sugar from damp sand into bricks.
You may have heard that you can use a food blender or a blender to soften hard brown sugar. Some suggest using a box mill. Or just beat it frantically until it is no longer a lump. Doing so will only break the sugar into smaller chunks and will not increase the lost moisture.
So while you can get that brown sugar brick broken, you haven’t really fixed the basics yet. Any of the other methods below that I listed will work correctly to give your brown sugar a new vitality!
5 Tips How to Soften Brown Sugar for You
1. With the Microwave
By far the fastest way to soften hard brown sugar was to use a microwave oven. Just put the brown sugar in a microwave-usable bowl. Then, place a damp paper towel on top of a bowl or refill the water in another microwave-usable bowl. Check for softness after heating for 30 seconds at half power. If necessary, continue cooking for 15 seconds until the brown sugar is soft enough.
You may need to use a fork to break the brown sugar crumbs. Also take care not to overdo it or it will dissolve the sugar. And you’ll want to use the sugar fairly quickly after it cools down.
Use this method if you need to quickly soften brown sugar. If not, keep scrolling to find some other methods, including my favorite for keeping brown sugar soft.
2. With the Oven
While the results are not as fast as using a microwave, your oven will also help soften brown sugar. Wrap your hardened brown sugar in aluminum foil and place in a 250 ° F oven. I recommend placing the wrapped brown sugar on a baking tray in case there are any spills.
Carefully check the softness of the brown sugar every 5 minutes (It’s hot, you know!) Until it’s soft enough. Then let the brown sugar cool down before using it in your recipe.
3. With Bread or Apple
This might seem a bit odd, but let’s do with it. Place your frozen brown sugar in a resealable plastic bag or sealed container. Place a slice of soft bread or a couple of apple slices in a container with brown sugar. Cover and leave overnight.
Check the sugar softness the next morning. If necessary, seal the container and check again after a few hours. Be sure to remove the bread or apples!
4. With a Dampened Towel
Moisten kitchen towels or thick paper towels. To remove as much excess water as possible wring it out thoroughly. Put the brown sugar in the bowl, cover the rim with a damp cloth so that all the gaps are covered, but the towel doesn’t touch the brown sugar. Leave the covered bowl on your table overnight or until the brown sugar softens.
If you are storing brown sugar in a sealed container, you can also cover the top surface with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place a damp cloth on top of foil or plastic wrap. Cover the container and leave it on overnight or until the brown sugar softens.
5. With the Terra Cotta
There are terracotta plates specially made to soften brown sugar, but you can also use any clean terracotta pieces, such as from a broken pot. Just soak the terracotta in water for about 30 minutes, dry the excess water thoroughly and put the brown sugar in a sealed container. Leave the container tightly closed overnight and test for softness the next morning.
You can keep the dish in the box to let the brown sugar retain moisture. You will need to repeat the soaking process every few months, but doing this regularly will help keep your brown sugar from getting hard.
Keeping Your Brown Sugar Soft
I strongly believe in keeping a terracotta plate in my brown sugar container. The other methods I’ve described will soften hard brown sugar, but the terracotta method will also keep your brown sugar soft for a long time. Keep your brown sugar in an airtight container that’s not too big so you have as little extra space as possible. Add one of these discs, and you’ll easily keep the sugar soft and beautiful.
If you want to try the terracotta dish you will find many options available. I use an airtight OXO container that allows their terracotta plates to attach to the lid. I used it to soften hard brown sugar, and I also moisten the plate from time to time to keep the brown sugar soft. This is my preferred method of preserving brown sugar and keeping it soft.
Storing Brown Sugar
As you know, the key to keeping brown sugar soft is to help it retain moisture. Storing brown sugar in a sealed container is usually enough to prevent it from getting hard, but I’d like to take an extra step to make sure it’s soft and ready to use at all times.
As I just described, I like to keep my brown sugar in an airtight box with a terracotta plate. If using this method, you will periodically need to repeat the terracotta moistening process to keep the brown sugar soft.
Because air exposure is the culprit that hardens brown sugar, you can also opt to make sure your sugar storage is airtight. Try putting sugar in a plastic zippered bag and squeezing out the air. Then put the bag in the sealed box. It is inevitable that brown sugar will eventually harden if stored long enough. If you don’t use it often enough to avoid hardening, store it in your freezer. It will need to be contained in a sealed container such as a zip-top bag with excess air removed. Then just take the can out of the freezer two or three hours before you need to use it.
With a little effort and planning, you can easily keep your brown sugar ready to bake. But if that doesn’t work, just replenish the brown sugar with moisture and you can use it. Luckily, you have a number of options, whether you need to use the sugar within hours or minutes!
That’s all KITCHENBAR wants to send you through this post. Choose how to soften brown sugar best suits you. Do not forget to share your achievements or experiences with us. I am very much looking forward to it!