Frank O'Kelly Written by Frank O'Kelly

Everything you need to know about brown sugar

Soft brown light sugar and dark soft brown sugar are worldwide products that most people have in their kitchen cupboard. They are applied as an ingredient when baking, creating cocktails and even cooking savoury dishes and sauces.

Brown sugar, light and dark are manufactured to create a variety of products. From demerara to muscovado. So if you are unsure which brown sugar to apply to your food and beverage preparation, either at home or in your culinary business, this blog will outline the key properties of the sugars, and which variety to is best for you.

Ragus brown sugar

Soft brown sugar, both light and dark, is made of crystalline sucrose combined with a small amount of molasses, creating its characteristic colour and rich flavour.

At Ragus, we produce two different soft brown sugars – soft brown light sugar and dark soft brown sugar. Although both sugars have different flavour profiles, they have an identical production process, resulting in caster-sized crystals. This crystal size is slightly smaller than refined granulated sugar and helps give the product a moist and almost fluffy appearance.

Once the sugar has been refined, both soft brown sugars are produced with a finer caster-size crystal. This consistent particle size gives soft brown sugar its fine texture. We coat the caster-sized crystal with our custom blends of refiner’s syrup and treacle to install the flavour of molasses.

Both brown sugars are also an added value sugar product predominantly used in baking, both industrial and artisan. It has a shelf life of approximately 18 months, maintaining its soft texture during storage. Its humectant qualities mean it is an invaluable product for use in industrial scale baking, however, its primary use is for added taste.

Brown sugar can be applied to sweet and savoury dishes, including sauces, dips and glazes.

Why use soft brown light sugar?

Soft brown light sugars’ primary production material is refined sugar – which can be made from either sugar beet or sugar cane – that is then blended with a specialist mix of refiner’s syrup and treacle.

As soft brown light sugar undergoes this additional processing step of blending, it can be produced at varying strengths. Its flavour shares some similarities as demerara sugar, but it is much sweeter.

Soft brown light sugar is the perfect ingredient for the sweet sauces that go with desserts. It adds colour and sucrose content (sweetness) while also developing the mellow flavour of toffee, fudge, caramel and butterscotch. Dark soft brown sugar can also be used to add a richer flavour to these sauces too.

Why use dark soft brown sugar?

Dark soft brown sugar, with its higher molasses content, has a deep, complex flavour that’s closer to toffee or caramel. Dark soft brown sugar is more suited to stronger tasting sauces like brandy sauce, or in savoury sauces such as a spicy barbecue sauce.

In the same way it complements fruit cakes, dark soft brown sugar is very effective when used in dark and sticky fruit chutneys. Dark soft brown sugar has a sweeter, fuller flavour and does not share any similarities with demerara sugar’s flavour.

With over ninety years of experience, the team at Ragus expertly blend a unique refiner’s syrup and treacle, giving dark soft brown sugar its distinctive dark brown colour. Our lighter blend of syrup and treacle produces the soft brown light sugar, which has an amber colour and mellow taste.

Soft brown light and dark soft brown sugar, by Ragus.

Demerara and cane muscovado

Demerara, light cane muscovado, and dark cane muscovado sugar are products we manufacture at the Ragus factory. Each have a similar appearance to the traditional ‘dark and light brown sugar’, however there is an array of difference applications to suit these products.

Demerara sugar is traditionally used in baking. It has a coarse grainy appearance which is perfect when developing crunchy toppings such as breakfast bars, flapjacks, and crumbles. Demerara sugar is also used as a table sugar because its mellow notes complement the bitter flavour of drinks such as coffee. It is also a popular ingredient in dark spirit cocktails, most notably the mojito.

Light cane muscovado sugar, with its light golden-brown colour, is also primarily used in baking. Its most popular applications include cakes and puddings where it is used to develop a subtle flavour and colour, as well as to add volume.

Due to its fine grain texture, light cane muscovado sugar dissolves easily and is suited to use in liquid products. This quality complements the sugar’s natural toffee characteristics, making it an ideal ingredient in the production of caramel and toffee sauces.

Dark cane muscovado sugar’s rich flavour and moisture is most popular when making fruitcakes, Christmas puddings and chocolate-based cakes and desserts. It is also a popular application in savoury sauces, chutneys and pickles.

As it is a darker form of light cane muscovado sugar, it is used to develop a rich flavour and darker colour in these applications, as well as to increase their volume.

The high molasses content within dark cane muscovado, with the resistance to high temperatures replace the need to use both straight sucrose and molasses during production. This helps manufacturers create greater efficiencies in their processes.

Ragus manufacture demerara, light cane muscovado and dark cane muscovado sugar.

Always looking after our customer

The diverse range of companies and customers that we provide these products for is ever-changing due to new trends and different consumer needs. This means that our customers rely on our manufacturing expertise to ensure that their product is consistent in size, colour, texture and taste. And our state-of-the-art factory and strict quality control procedures allows us to do just that on an industrial scale.

So, whether you are sprinkling soft brown light sugar onto your cereal, applying dark cane muscovado to your cake baking or buying demerara in bulk for your food and beverage business, you know that these pure sugars are delicious ingredients that compliment your creations.

Ragus has over 90 years’ experience creating a variety of brown sugar products, meaning we are experts in understanding which sugars suit specific applications best. Contact us on +44 (0)1753 215424 or enquiries@ragus.co.uk to talk to a member of our team directly and we will be able to assist with your enquiry.