Ibrahim Belo Written by Ibrahim Belo

Granular detail: demerara sugar

What is demerara sugar?

Demerara sugar is a raw cane sugar with a relatively coarse grain size. It is known for its amber colour and caramel flavour, which is formed from cane juice during extraction from the crushed cane. Primarily, demerara sugar is used for topping products and adding crunch in baking applications.

It takes its names from the former British colony of Demerara, which is now a region in present day Guyana, South America. This was due to the volcanic soil found through the region proving to be ideal for growing sugarcane. Nowadays, most demerara sugar comes from Mauritius.

As it is less refined than white sugar, demerara sugar contains marginally less sucrose: 88-93% compared to white sugar’s 96-98%. Alongside this, it is also a great source of vital minerals, such as magnesium, manganese, zinc and cobalt.

 How is demerara sugar produced?

One of the key benefits of demerara sugar is that it undergoes minimal processing:

– First, the sugarcane is cut, cleaned and crushed to extract its natural juice.

– Then, to purify the juice, it is boiled with evaporators in a vacuum, causing it to also thicken into a sweet amber juice.

– This juice is then seeded with sugar crystals, which grow to create a super-saturated massecuite syrup. During this process, molasses develops. At this stage, the crystals need to be separated from the syrup, and it is therefore placed in a centrifugal machine to remove the majority of the molasses content.

Such little processing is what gives demerara sugar its colour and highly unique flavour, both of which are a result of the molasses retained in the final sugar. Despite popular opinion, this does not mean it is any better or worse for us than white sugar, as it contains near enough the same number of calories.

What products is demerara sugar used in?

Traditionally, demerara sugar has been used to sweeten coffee, with its mellow caramel notes and distinctive amber colour complementing coffee’s bitter taste. As well as this, it is also used in baking, cooking and beverages. Demerara sugar’s coarse texture means it is particularly suited to baked goods, especially when looking to add a crunchy topping to products such as flapjacks and crumbles. For the same reason, it is used to increase the spread of biscuits.

When cooking, it is great to add to sauces. For instance, along with honey and mustard, demerara sugar can be added to help create a crispy glaze when roasting gammon. We are now also seeing lots of bartenders adding demerara sugar to cocktails comprised of dark spirits such as whiskey and rum – the most obvious example being a Cuban mojito.

The use of demerara sugar is broad, and it allows bakers, chefs and bartenders to really draw on their creative flair by adding a unique touch to recipes.

Ragus’ demerara sugar expertise

Producing demerara can appear to be simple, but Ragus goes to great lengths to source the finest raw sugars that are carefully selected for their purity, colour, grain size and flavour. In doing so, we are able to produce the perfect bulk sugar for our clients.

Moreover, by honing our processes for natural cane sugar sieving and metal detecting to remove any impurities, based on our experience over the last 90 years, Ragus deliver demerara sugar on time and in full to a global customer network.

Do you require demerara sugar for your application? Contact Ragus now to order.