I heard some people on cooking forums questioning why sugar is considered a wet ingredient while salt is considered a dry ingredient.
This is a very good question since it is pretty obvious that both of them are actually dry.
The confusing thing is that in recipes, you categorize ingredients by wet and dry in order to help you know when and where to add every ingredient, not necessarily due to their texture.
So let’s answer those questions that you may have.
Why is sugar a wet ingredient?
Sugar is considered a wet ingredient in baking because, in some recipes, you need to mix it with liquids before adding it to the mix, making it a wet ingredient in that specific recipe.
So to be clear, the fact that sugar is added to the wet ingredients in baking makes the recipe easier to follow and reduces the chances of getting it wrong.
That doesn’t mean that sugar is suddenly wet in its natural form; I can assure you that it is still dry. So it’s more of a categorization thing.
Read Also: Why Is Sugar White ?
Why is salt kept considered a dry ingredient?
Salt is usually kept on the dry ingredients list in baking since there are not as many recipes that need the salt to be mixed with liquid before adding it to the mix.
Similar to the sugar is more related to the method in which it is added to the mix rather than the texture of the ingredient itself.
Salt can be added to the wet ingredient list as well if you need to dissolve it in liquid before using it.
Mixing wet and dry ingredients in baking
For getting a delicious cake, muffin, waffle, or pancake, it is important not only to add all the ingredients needed, but the way you mix them together and the order you add them to the mix is important as well.
In most recipes, you need to mix all or most of the dry ingredients first(flour, leavening, spices, salt, and so on) until they are thoroughly combined.
Then, you have to mix the wet ingredients until they are combined; those can include sugar as well.
After that, you have to add the wet ingredients slowly into the dry ingredients and mix them with a rubber spatula or a whisker until they get the desired texture; this can depend from recipe to recipe.
Why do you have to mix dry and wet ingredients separately?
I know it can sound weird for someone new to baking. Why do you have to mix those ingredients in different bowls if they get together afterward?
But for someone who has tried mixing them in the same bowl without respecting the proper order to add the ingredients, this question is no longer valid.
By mixing all the ingredients simultaneously, your mixture will get lumpy and messy. You will have a hard time thoroughly combining all the elements without getting big lumps of flour and other dry ingredients.
Also, the texture of your cake or whatever you want to do will probably not be the same as adding the wet ingredients afterward.
So I highly recommend you stick to the order you will find in most recipes.
Read Also: Why Is Brown Sugar Brown ?
Why do you add salt when baking sweets?
If it somehow looks weird to you that salt is on the ingredients list when baking, I will do my best to explain the role of salt in baking.
The role of salt in baking sweets is to enhance the taste of the other, sweet ingredients. You add salt to baking to perk up the depth of other flavors you want from your recipe, not to make it salty, so make sure you don’t add more than the recipe requires. Usually a pinch of salt is all it takes. Except when you’re making salted caramel.
I know it is a confusing topic, but I really hope that things are more straightforward after reading this article.
The wet and dry ingredients list from the baking doesn’t refer to the texture of the ingredients that go into the mix but rather to the moment and bowl you have to add them to.
So it is just a baking reference it doesn’t refer to the actual state of the ingredient by itself.