When you think of sugar, what do you usually think of?
You probably think of granular sugar or confectioners since they are much more common than any other sugar.
While this kind of sugar has its place in recipes, two other sugar forms are beneficial in their own right: Caster sugar and powdered sugar.
Both of these ingredients have their own uses. They enhance and are an integral part of different kinds of dishes. It will be instrumental to learn as much as you can about both of them. Caster sugar and powdered sugar are used more in baking than in glazing or as a sweetener. That is the first thing that you should know about it.
You need to know about these types of sugars because they both significantly affect what you are baking. Things will not end well if you are not perfect with your measurements.
Powdered sugar and caster sugar are two necessary ingredients for any baker to learn to work with. Knowing their similarities and differences will improve your effectiveness as a baker.
What is caster sugar?
Common bakers may be familiar with powdered sugar, but many of them cannot recognize what caster sugar is, let alone how useful it is.
Caster sugar has a few different names. It is called castor’s sugar, baker’s sugar, or superfine sugar.
The thing about caster sugar is that it is not much different from granular sugar. The only real difference between caster sugar and granular sugar is that it has even smaller grains than granular sugar.
Think of caster sugar as sugar in between powdered sugar and granular sugar in terms of texture. It can be used almost as a substitute for powdered sugar; only it can be used more effectively than powdered sugar. Caster sugar has properties of granular and powdered sugar.
One of the reasons you may not come across caster sugar is that it is not typically used in the United States. However, bakers in the United Kingdom have been using it for a very long time in their pastry recipes. This is another reason why it is not well known.
The main effect that caster sugar has when baking pastry-type food items is that it makes these food items much softer and lighter. This is because of the “hybrid” type properties that caster sugar has compared to powdered sugar.
If you are interested in using caster sugar in your future pastry recipes, you will need to prepare to spend a little more. This is because caster sugar is a little rarer than other types of sugars that you encounter.
How does powdered sugar differ from caster sugar?
While caster sugar is rare, powdered sugar is ubiquitous and used regularly. That is the first thing that makes caster sugar and powdered sugar different.
Another difference between the two is their texture.
As mentioned earlier, caster sugar has a texture that falls in between the extremes of powdered sugar and granular sugar.
Powdered sugar is ground into a grain that is so fine that it is impossible to see any individual grains. Caster sugar is still ground, but the grain is not nearly as fine.
As many bakers know, powdered sugar has two major purposes: First, it is used to make the icing, frosting, and other pastry decorations.
The second thing that powdered sugar does is function as a dust-type decoration that can add flavor to pastry-type food items.
What makes powdered sugar different from caster sugar is that unlike caster sugar, baking pastries will not result in a lighter or softer product. This can actually be a good thing if you are not intending on baking a softer or lighter pastry product.
Is caster sugar better than powdered sugar?
Caster sugar is so similar in its texture and function to powdered sugar that some bakers could argue that it is better to use caster sugar than powdered sugar in their recipes.
When comparing caster and powdered sugar, you can’t compare them in terms of which one is better than the other. Caster sugar and powdered sugar each have their own unique qualities that apply to different situations.
Caster sugar is very effective for pastry dishes that demand a softer texture. On the other hand, caster sugar is not as effective as powdered sugar when it makes icing or frosting.
Powdered sugar also looks a little better when decorating a pastry than caster sugar since powdered sugar is much finer than even caster sugar.
You should also know about caster sugar because not only is it a lot less common than powdered sugar, but it is also much more costly. If you do not have the time or money to acquire caster sugar, there is no shame in using powdered sugar.
Caster sugar and powdered sugar are similar in their function. Both are used in pastry recipes, and caster sugar can give these dishes a better texture.
There are two major differences between caster sugar and powdered sugar.
First, caster sugar is a lot more costly and not nearly as common as powdered sugar. Because of this, using caster sugar in your pastry dishes can be a challenge if you are new to baking.
However, if you are experienced in baking, caster sugar can make this process a little easier, and you will enjoy a pastry product that is not only much more flavorful but will also result in a softer texture that will impress others.
This does not mean that caster sugar is superior to powdered sugar. Remember that caster sugar is not as ground as intensely as powdered sugar. Using caster sugar on top of a pastry will not look as inviting as using powdered sugar does.
Powdered sugar and caster sugar each have their advantages and disadvantages. The best bakers know when to use sugar for different kinds of situations, like with any other kind of sugar.