More than sweetness
Sugar’s most recognisable function. The sweetness perception of sugar depends on factors such as temperature, pH, concentration, the presence of other ingredients within finished products and individual perceptions.
Particle size can be chosen to modify the mouthfeel of products such as fudges, icings, fondants and chocolate.
Sugar can enhance or depress certain flavour characteristics in your finished products. Brown sugars and inverts bring their own unique flavour characteristics as well as helping to develop further flavours during the cooking or manufacturing process.
Sugar crystal size can be chosen to add crunch and visual texture to the surface of finished products. Glazes and icings can create glossy surface finish.
As an important ingredient in many finished products, sugar helps to produce a soft and delicate crumb structure for a cake, the snap of a biscuit or the development of small crystals for smooth and creamy fudge.
Our brown sugars introduce their own colour to the finished product. The process of caramelisation in the production of toffees or the Maillard reaction, sometimes called the ‘browning reaction’, develops a recognisable golden brown finish to baked breads as well as enhancing the visual appearance of products.
Although very soluble in water, the rate of sugar dissolution can be controlled through particle size selection for vending machine and powdered drinks.
Sugar depresses the freezing point of frozen products including ice creams, sorbets and frozen baked products. This results in slower and smaller ice crystal formation which delivers a smoother texture in the mouth from frozen or when defrosted. Similarly, invert syrups can be used to control crystallisation in ambient products such as jams.
Sugar has a high affinity for water, so the presence of sugar and invert syrups is often used to keep products moist and extend their shelf life.
Sugar, and invert syrups in particular, increase the osmotic pressure in a finished product and inhibit the growth of food spoilage bacteria.
By increasing viscosity, sugar can stabilise dispersion of active ingredients in liquid medicines.
Fermentation is a critical process in baking and brewing. The yeast used in these processes uses sugar as a food source to produce ethanol, carbon dioxide and water through the fermentation process. In bread-making this speeds up the rising/leavening process. In alcoholic beverage production, fermentation delivers the target alcohol and sweetness level.