What’s The Purpose Of Adding Sugar To Bread Dough

Bread is an essential part of every meal. It’s also a staple food that has been around since ancient times. In fact, bread was the first form of currency.

The purpose of adding sugar to your dough is twofold: 1) it makes the dough easier to handle and 2) it gives you more control over how much rise occurs in your loaf.

When making bread from scratch, there are many variables involved. For example, if you want a light-colored crust on your loaves, then you need to add less yeast than if you wanted a dark brown crust.

Bread dough is a staple in every home. It’s used for making bread, rolls, pizza crust, etc. But did you ever wonder why there is sugar added to bread dough? There are two main reasons why sugar is added to bread dough. One reason is to give the dough a nice texture and the other reason is to add flavor.

But if you’re wondering why adding sugar to bread dough isn’t a good idea, then read on to find out why.

Why do we add sugar to bread dough?

Sugar is a common ingredient used in bread dough. It adds flavor and helps the dough rise. However, there are other ways to add flavor to your bread without using sugar.

How to reduce sugar in yeast bread | King Arthur Baking

Adding sugar to bread gives the yeast easy nourishment, allowing it to generate carbon dioxide more quickly and resulting in faster rising periods. Sugar also adds taste, tenderizes the crumb, enhances browning, and retains moisture, which keeps the bread fresher for longer.

Gluten is what holds all those air bubbles together when baking bread. Gluten forms during kneading or mixing and allows the dough to stretch easily as it rises. When you add too much sugar into your dough, this can cause problems with the formation of gluten.

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This means that the dough will be difficult to work with because it won’t have enough strength to hold its shape. If you don’t use any sugar at all, then the amount of time needed to raise the dough may take up to 12 hours instead of 6 hours. If you add just one tablespoon of sugar per cup of flour, then the raising period could last anywhere between 8 – 10 hours. That’s a lot of waiting! So, by adding some extra sugar, you’ll get better results quicker.

What Does Sugar Do To Bread?

Adding sugar to bread dough doesn’t make it healthier. Instead, it actually causes the opposite effect. By increasing the number of carbohydrates, sugar increases the overall caloric content of the baked product. This means that eating more bread will increase your calorie intake.

If you eat lots of white bread, then you might end up consuming more calories than necessary. On top of that, excess carbs can lead to weight gain. However, there are some reasons why people add sugar to bread.

Decreases Fermentation Time

Adding sugar speeds up fermentation so that the bread has a shorter shelf life. In fact, most commercial bakeries only allow their products to stay fresh for about 3 days after they’ve been made.

However, homemade bread lasts much longer since you can store them in an unopened container in your refrigerator. You should always check the expiration date before buying bread though. This is the most common reason why bakers add sugar to bread. They want to extend the shelf life of their goods.

Adds Flavor & Texture

When you bake bread, you need to let the dough rest for several minutes before shaping it. During this resting process, the sugars break down and create steam inside the loaf.

What's The Purpose Of Adding Sugar To Bread Dough? – Food To Impress

As the water vapor escapes from the loaf, it creates pockets of trapped gas within the dough. These pockets expand as the dough continues to cook, creating large holes throughout the finished loaf. The larger these holes become, the lighter the texture becomes. Since the bread contains less starch, it tends to dry out faster if left on the countertop. But, if you add sugar to the dough, then the bread will retain more moisture while still maintaining a light texture.

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Increases Browning

Browning occurs naturally over time due to exposure to heat. It happens even without added ingredients like salt or butter. As the crust begins to turn golden-brown, it signals that the bread is ready to come off the oven.

But, if you’re looking to speed things along, then you can try using a little bit of sugar. Some bakers believe that adding sugar helps promote browning. Others think that it makes the crust darker. Either way, it works well when baking baguettes. Browning also depends on how long you leave the loaves in the oven. For example, if you put them in too soon, then they won’t develop a dark color.

Softens The Crumb

Sugar softens the crumb during cooking. When heated, the starches begin to gelatinize which allows the gluten strands to stretch further. This gives rise to a softer, chewier interior.

The downside is that the sweetness can overpower other flavors. And, if you prefer sweeter foods, then you might not enjoy the taste of the bread. Furthermore, excessive amounts of sugar could cause digestive problems such as diarrhea. So, be careful with what you use!

Makes Your Baking Easier

Since sugar acts as both a leavener and tenderizer, it’s great at making sure that all parts of the bread have enough structure.

If you don’t add any additional ingredients, then the yeast needs something else to work with. Without sugar, the bread would fall apart because the yeast wouldn’t get anything to do. However, by combining the two together, you’ll end up with a better product.

Keeps It Fresh For Longer

Bread doesn’t last very long once opened. If you eat half of one right away, then there’s no point in keeping the remaining portion around. That means that you’d either have to refrigerate it or freeze it so that it stays fresh.

Adding some extra sugar to the mix keeps the bread fresher for longer. Once baked, the bread has a sweet flavor that prevents it from going stale quickly. Plus, the airtight packaging protects against bacteria growth. So, next time you make your favorite sandwich, consider trying a few different types of bread. You may find that one type isn’t quite satisfying anymore. Or maybe you’ve been craving a particular kind of bread but haven’t had access to it lately. By experimenting with various recipes, you can discover new favorites.

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Do You Need To Add Sugar To Bread?

No, you shouldn’t need to add sugar to bread. In fact, many people are concerned about consuming excess carbohydrates. They worry that eating too much sugar could lead to weight gain. While this is true, most experts agree that refined sugars aren’t harmful. Instead, they say that whole grains should be consumed instead.

Whole grain products contain fiber and nutrients that help keep blood glucose levels steady. Additionally, they provide plenty of energy without causing an insulin spike. As a result, these carbs will satisfy hunger while helping prevent overeating.

However, even though whole grains are healthier than processed ones, they still contain calories. Therefore, it’s important to limit their intake. But, since they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals, they’re worth including in your diet.

So, whether you want to cut back on added sugar or just improve your overall nutrition, start incorporating more whole grains into your meals.


So, now that we know why adding sugar helps bread dough, let’s take a look at how to incorporate it into our own baking projects.

First off, remember that using less sugar won’t necessarily mean that the final product tastes bland. There are lots of ways to adjust the amount of sugar used in a recipe.

For example, you can reduce the total quantity of flour called for in the recipe. Alternatively, you can increase the proportion of liquid to dry ingredients.

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