I have a dough rising which I realized was made without sugar. I used pineapple juice so I assume there was some sugar in there but this was supposed to be a sweet bread.

Can we do something during the shaping? I am a bit scared to spray sugar water because dough is already wet.

I am thinking to fold it 5-10 times by sprinkling powdered sugar in each fold.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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    If you share the recipe or the final product you are trying to achieve, you will probably get better advice.
    – moscafj
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 23:36
  • Craziest thing I ever tried: pouring forgotten extra oil into a half-set pan of batter that had already been in the oven for a couple if minutes and stirring ... that kind of half-worked :) Commented May 8, 2017 at 8:33
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    For me, I never am happy with a product that is missing an ingredient mainly because I'll be wondering how it would have been if it wasn't missing. You have to take in to account that a recipe is a balance between all the ingredients reacting with each other to create the final product. So for me the fix is to chuck it in the bin and start over.
    – haakon.io
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 18:18
  • Most interesting is if you finish both, the one without (or jerry rigged with) and a new batch with the ingredient - afterwards you KNOW what significance the forgotten (or hacked in) ingredient will have... Commented May 10, 2017 at 15:30

3 Answers 3


Added sugar is not essential for a bread recipe to "work", so if it were me -- if the structure has already been established, I would probably let the dough proof to completion without trying to add something after the fact. Without the added sugar, you may need a bit more proofing time for the full rise, but you may end up with something wonderful.

But if you're absolutely sure the recipe would be ruined without the addition sweetness, I would toss the granulated sugar into a blender to make it a bit finer and fold it into the dough before kneading it again. Powdered sugar would likely work fine, but powdered sugar also contains cornstarch or tri-calcium phosphate, and blending granulated sugar will also let you measure the correct amount before you change the volume of the finer product.

Don't add any additional water; you'll change the hydration ratios. After eight to ten folds incorporated into the dough, the sugar will be mixed through about 250-1000 layers, so there has been plenty of mixing to incorporate the sugar adequately. Wait a few minutes for the sugar to hydrate and knead it a few times more.

I think it will be fine.

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    The OP already mentioned using powdered sugar; I don't think tossing it into a blender is going to do much!
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 3:30
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    @Jefromi Yeah, powdered sugar contains cornstarch or tri-calcium phosphate, so when I'm substituting fine sugar straight up for granulated, I usually just "make my own." I doubt there's enough to alter the recipe in this case, but the amount of powdered sugar will be different than granulated when measured by volume. That's why I mentioned it. Commented May 8, 2017 at 15:12

You can make a swirl bread or a sugar-studded bread, by adding sugar in chunks. Or soak in syrup after the fact. Or add toppings.

From your question, it sounds like you're worried about the sugar being evenly distributed or the dough being overworked. This might be the case, though Carlton's answer does seem like a viable option if you really want a well-mixed sweetness. However, it doesn't have to be evenly sweetened to be sweet, or tasty, or well received.

One alternative is to use rough lumps of sugar - broken sugar cubes, rough sugar crystals or broken candy, pearl sugar (from which the idea actually came, though it may not be as easy to find). It would take very little shaping to fold them into the dough, so it should not be overworked. The sugar won't be evenly mixed, but it will be a feature, not a problem - the overall effect will be sweet and the textural differences in the sliced bread visually appealing, and the bursts of sweetness will be expected, not a surprise - like suikerbrod. You could even add in some visual effect, perhaps by sprinkling some extra spice that will work with the other flavors, or bits of fruit, or colored sprinkles or something, when the sugar is added.

Another option would be to use a syrup after the bread is baked. You would poke a skewer through the bread in a few places, and drizzle the right amount of sugar, in syrup form, on top of the loaf slowly (with plenty of time to soak in rather than run off). Again, you could optionally add other flavorings into the syrup, though it is not required. This option is used in cakes, to help keep them moist and sweet - a sweet bread, especially if a quick-bread, should find the results reasonable. If there's sugar syrup that doesn't want to soak in, or you feel it would get the bread too wet, you could make a glaze of the rest. Again, it would be sweeter than the rest of the loaf, but that would be expected of a glazed bread.

Another option would be to make some sort of topping to add the sweetness to your bread after it's sliced. The dead-easy option used on all kinds of bread would be jam (or other preserves), this is an easy sweetening option. You could make a glaze (or use aforementioned syrup in individual portions rather than the whole loaf), or else top with whipped cream or caramel or sprinkles, or use to make a layer desert, or toast and spread with butter and sprinkle sugar on top (serve warm), or any number of other alternatives. Again, it may be possible to come up with flavor pairings that work well with your bread's existing flavors or are somewhat neutrally flavored.

You might be able to simply fold the sugar in as you (and Carlton) suggest, depending on where in the process the bread is. But even if that is the best option, I wanted to point out other options are available in case someone should find them useful or inspiring, or came to the problem from a different context.


I often make an up side down yeast cake, placing plenty of fruit and sugar on the bottom of pan and covering it with rolled out yeast dough. During baking, lots of syrup is created, the dough partially absorbs it, bakes up beautifully, sweet, moist and delish. It might be worth a try to bake a yeast dough in syrups. This could be the perfect solution for the question of correcting the dough with forgotten sugar.

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    Welcome! I’m afraid this is not a discussion forum, so please always post answers that don’t require a community discussion. The tour and the help center, especially How to Answer, should be a good starting point to learn more about how the site works. I removed the bit inviting for discussion and leave it up to the community to vote on the “bake in syrup” suggestion.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 17:13

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