The Meaning of “Packed Brown Sugar”

by Crystal | Beat Bake Eat
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The definition of packed brown sugar and how to measure it correctly based on whether it needs to be loosely, lightly, or firmly packed. Use this process and these methods, steps, and helpful tips for an accurate measurement every time.

The Meaning of "Packed Brown Sugar" - How to measure brown sugar correctly, why it is important to do so, and why we pack it. | Beat Bake Eat

What does packed brown sugar mean?

Packed brown sugar means to fill the measuring cup with brown sugar, then press it down using your fingers or the back of a spoon until it is compact, then repeat the process until the cup is filled to the top and the sugar is evenly leveled with the rim.

This is the best way to measure brown sugar.

Loosely Packed Meaning

Fill the measuring cup with brown sugar, press down very gently, then use the back of a knife to level off the excess.

Lightly Packed Meaning

Press the sugar lightly into the measuring cup. It shouldn’t be loose and it shouldn’t be tight, just right in between.

Tightly or Firmly Packed Meaning

Press firmly until the sugar is extremely compact. It should be the exact shape of the cup when it falls out.

Why does Brown Sugar have to be packed?

Since brown sugar contains molasses it is moist and sticky and packing it into the measuring cup removes the pockets of air trapped between the granules, therefore resulting in an accurate measurement.

Why do we pack Brown Sugar but not Regular (White) Sugar?

Because white sugar does not contain any molasses it is dry and flows easily, hence when you pour it into the measuring cup it does not hold any pockets of air, so the cup gets filled to the top and you get a correct measurement without having to pack it.

Think of it this way; brown sugar is like wet sand and white sugar is like dry sand.

Should Brown Sugar always be packed?

Yes, unless stated otherwise, always pack brown sugar for accuracy.

For example, if a recipe calls for “1 cup brown sugar” without specifying exactly how it should be measured, always assume that it should be packed. This way you only measure the sugar, not the air trapped inside.

The amount of brown sugar you add to a baking recipe will affect the sweetness, taste, color, and texture of the baked good so it is important to measure it properly.

Brown Sugar Recipes:

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