Sweeteners Used in Bread Making

Sweeteners feed the yeast and give character to the finished loaf of bread. The amount of sweetening used in a bread will determine how much of a rich brown color you will achieve. Sugar also helps delay the bread from becoming stale because it attracts moisture. However, too much sugar can cause the dough to over-rise and then collapse. Do not substitute confectioners’ (powdered) sugar unless indicated in the recipe. Artificial sweeteners cannot be used as a substitute for sugar as the yeast will not react properly with them.

Granulated sugar

Refined white sugar, most commonly used in bread recipes, enhances the action of the yeast. Too much sugar, however, slows down yeast and reduces bread volume.

Brown sugar

This is granulated sugar processed with molasses. Light brown sugar has less molasses flavor and a lighter color, dark brown sugar has more molasses flavor and a darker color. Light and dark brown sugars are interchangeable.

Powdered or confectioners’ sugar

This is pulverized refined white sugar. It is used when a very fine consistency is needed, such as in frostings and glazes.


A liquid form of sugar produced by bees from flower nectar. Honey can be substituted for molasses in recipes, but should never be substituted for granulated or brown sugar in bread recipes, since honey is a liquid ingredient.


A thick brown syrup made from the juices of refined sugarcane. The flavor has been concentrated, or boiled down, to produce a rich, heavy, sweet flavor. Light and dark varieties of molasses are available and are interchangeable.

Maple syrup

A natural syrup refined from the sap of maple trees, maple syrup can add a distinctive, caramel-maple flavor to breads. It can be used in place of honey or molasses, but it will produce a more delicate sweet flavor.

Related Links:

Bread Machine Tips for Success

Bread Machine Cycles

Bread Making Flours & Grains

Bread Making Leavening Agents

How to Test or Proof Yeast -- Testing Yeast for Freshness or to See if it is Active

Using Chocolate and Cocoa in Your Bread Machine

Fats and Oils in Bread Making

Using Fruits and Vegetables in Bread

Using Nuts and Seeds in Bread

Using Herbs and Spices in Bread

Slicing and Storing Homemade Bread

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