Sugars Brief history, Description and uses.
History of Sugar First cultivated as sugarcane…… Europeans were late in using cane sugar………… Eight thousand years ago, sugar was first cultivated in the South Pacific. India, China and Persia later learned how to extract sugar from the cane, either as syrup or crystals just recently as two thousand years ago. They relied on available sweeteners such as fruits and honey. Cane sugar was eventually introduced into Europe during the Crusades in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was considered so precious it was mostly used in medicines.
Sugarcane, a tropical crop…… Does not grow well in Europe and was brought into Africa and the New World by the Spanish and the Portuguese, making it readily available. Although, sugar was still a luxury, in the 1600’s, sugar was used in confectionary and in coffee, teas, and hot chocolate. As the demand grew, slaves were brought to the New World to work the sugar plantations. It wasn’t until the 1800’s, when sugar refining methods were improved, that prices came down and sugar became readily available to the middle class.
The antislavery movement in Europe and the Americas further drove interest in sugar beet cultivation, because sugar beets grow in temperate climates without extensive labor. • Over the years, sugar beets have been selectively bred to contain high amounts of sucrose. • Today, they contain about 17% sucrose, over twice the amount of beets from the 1700’s and slightly more than that in sugarcane. • Sugar beets remain the predominant source of sugar in Europe today. Sugar Beets The use of sugar beets for sugar manufacture was a more recent development, first commercialized by a German Chemist in the 1700’s. The process was adopted and refined by the French in the early 1800’s, when the Napoleonic Wars created a need for a domestic source for this important ingredient.
Sugars or Sweetening agents have the following purposes in baking: They add sweetness and flavor. They create tenderness and fineness of texture, partly by weakening the gluten structure. They give crust color. They increase the keeping qualities by retaining moisture. They act as creaming agents with fats and as foaming agents with eggs. They provide food for yeast.
Sucrose, the chemical name…..means sugar All sugars have different degrees of sweetness. All sugars are hygroscopic, meaning they attract and hold water. It is a desirable characteristic. Sugars belong to a group called carbohydrates, which is a group of starches. Invert Sugar is 30% sweeter than regular sucrose. It is a mixture of equal parts of dextrose and levulose, two simple sugars. Invert sugar holds moisture especially well, keeping cakes fresh and moist. It resists crystallization and promotes smoothness in candies, icings and syrups.
Refined Sugars Granulated Sugars: Confectioners’ or Powdered Sugars: Regular granulated sugar is most commonly used. Very fine or ultra fine sugar (castor sugar) is prized for making cakes and cookies more uniform and can support more fat. Sanding Sugars are course and used for coating. Pearl Sugar is a type of sanding sugar and does not easily dissolve in water. It has an opaque appearance and is also called sugar nibs. Confectioners’ sugar are ground to a fine powder and mixed with a small amount of corn starch to prevent caking (3%). They are classified by their coarseness or fineness. 10x: finest sugar, giving smoothest texture. 6x: Slightly coarser. Mostly used for dusting. Xxx or xx: These are coarser types. Confectionary sugar is also known as icing sugar because of its importance in making so many icings.
Brown Sugar and Syrups………. Brown sugar is mostly sucrose, but also contains varying amounts of caramel, molasses and other impurities. The darker the color, the more impurities. It is basically brown sugar that has not been refined. Because it contains a small amount of acid, brown sugar can be used with baking soda to provide some leavening. It is used in place of white sugar when flavor and color is desired. Demara Sugar is a crystalline brown sugar used as a sweetener for coffee and tea. Syrups consists of one or two types of sugars dissolved in water, often with a flavor enhancer. Simple Syrup is made by dissolving water in sucrose and is the most basic syrup in a bakeshop. Dessert Syrup is simple syrup with added flavorings. Molasses is concentrated sugarcane juice. The darker in color, the stronger the flavor, but contains less sugar than lighter colors. Molasses retains moisture and prolongs freshness. Glucose is manufactured from cornstarch and slightly sweet. An example of corn syrup can be light or dark.
OH Honey………… Honey contains invert sugar!!!!!!!! Malt Syrup This helps retain moisture. Honey is a natural sugar syrup that varies greatly in flavor and in color depending on its source. Many bakers use honey for the flavor, but it can be an expense. Also called malt extract. Used primarily in yeast breads. It serves as food for the yeast and adds flavor and crust color to the loaves. Malt is extracted from barley and dried, then ground.