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What is sugar?

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The white stuff we recognize as sugar is sucrose, a molecule created of 12 atoms of carbon, 22 atoms of hydrogen, and also 11 atoms of oxygen (C12H22O11). Like all compounds made from these 3 facets, sugar is a carbohydrate. It’s discovered normally in the majority of plants, but especially in sugarcane and also sugar beets—hence their names.

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Sucrose is actually two less complicated sugars stuck together: fructose and also glucose. In recipes, a little little of acid (for example, some lemon juice or cream of tartar) will certainly cause sucincreased to break down right into these 2 components.

If you look carefully at dry sugar, you’ll alert it comes in bit cubeprefer forms. These are sugar crystals, orderly arrangements of sucrose molecules.

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Under a microscopic lense, you can check out that sugar crystals aren’t cubes, exactly, however oblong and slanted at both ends. (Image courtesy of Nutrition and Food Management Dept., Oregon State University)

What happens as soon as you heat a sugar solution?

When you include sugar to water, the sugar crystals disresolve and also the sugar goes right into solution. But you can’t dissettle an infinite amount of sugar into a fixed volume of water. When as much sugar has actually been liquified into a solution as possible, the solution is said to be saturated.

The saturation allude is different at different temperatures. The better the temperature, the more sugar that can be held in solution.

When you cook up a batch of candy, you cook sugar, water, and also various various other ingredients to exceptionally high temperatures. At these high temperatures, the sugar remains in solution, even though a lot of the water has actually boiled amethod. But once the candy is with cooking and also starts to cool, tright here is more sugar in solution than is typically possible. The solution is sassist to be supersaturated with sugar.

Supersaturation is an unsecure state. The sugar molecules will begin to crystallize ago right into a solid at the least provocation. Stirring or jostling of any kind of kind can reason the sugar to begin crystallizing.

See more: Why Is Egg Tempera A Challenging Medium For Artists To Work With?

Why are crystals unpreferable in some candy recipes—and also exactly how carry out you sheight them from forming?

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The truth that sugar solidifies right into crystals is incredibly crucial in candy making. Tbelow are basically two categories of candies - crystalline (candies which contain crystals in their finimelted create, such as fudge and fondant), and also noncrystalline, or amorphous (candies which execute not contain crystals, such as lollipops, taffy, and caramels). Recipe ingredients and steps for noncrystalline candies are especially designed to prevent the formation of sugar crystals, bereason they offer the resulting candy a grainy texture.

One way to proccasion the crystallization of sucrose in candy is to make certain that tright here are various other kinds of sugar—normally, fructose and also glucose—to obtain in the means. Large crystals of succlimbed have a harder time forming when molecules of fructose and glucose are about. Crystals create something like Legos locking together, other than that instead of Lego pieces, tright here are molecules. If some of the molecules are a different dimension and form, they won’t fit together, and a crystal doesn’t develop.

A basic means to gain various other types of sugar into the mix is to "invert" the sucincreased (the basic white sugar you recognize well) by including an acid to the recipe. Acids such as lemon juice or cream of tartar cause sucincreased to break up (or invert) into its two less complicated components, fructose and glucose. Anvarious other method is to include a nonsucrose sugar, such as corn syrup, which is mostly glucose. Some lollipop recipes usage as a lot as 50% corn syrup; this is to prevent sugar crystals from ruining the texture.

Fats in candy serve a comparable function. Fatty ingredients such as butter help interfere via crystallization—aget, by getting in the way of the sucincreased molecules that are trying to lock togeter right into crystals. Toffee owes its smooth texture and also straightforward breakcapability to an lack of sugar crystals, many thanks to a large amount of butter in the mix.


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