With pleasure, baumé

With pleasure, baumé

Before thinking about the theme of this new post here at ICKFD, I continued to ‘mull over’ our conversation about sugars, syrups and the like. Despite knowing that many people have already answered their doubts with the texts, I kept asking myself if it was not possible to examine more about the subject, which is vast, curious and full of science!
It was then that I decided to talk a little about syrups and Messrs. Brix and Baumé, close friends of the chemists and food engineers but still of the few confectioners who rely on these two gentlemen to improve their products.
The definition of syrup is simple: it is a mixture of one or more sugars dissolved in water, usually with the addition of some other component, such as acids, dyes, flavors or thickeners. It is these other components that will give characteristics so specific to each type of syrup and will define its function, specific to each use, such as giving color to most of the drinks we consume.
The simplest syrup is called… Hummm… Well… SIMPLE syrup! Perhaps the most used among confectioners, this syrup is made in what we call Tant pour Tant, or TPT; which means equal parts of sugar and water. This is a basic, initial ratio – it will depend a lot on what you expect from your syrup. The essential thing here is to know that if you go far beyond the 2: 1 ratio your syrup is in danger of crystallizing.
In some cases, the addition of a few drops of lemon helps to prevent crystallization, especially when the ratio of sugar to water is very high.
But syrup is not just an artificial product [entenda que quando digo artificial, é porque ele é produzido através de adição de diversos produtos], it can also be extracted naturally from nature, such as honey. Honey is a natural syrup composed of a high percentage of fructose and glucose and has characteristics similar to other types of syrups that we can produce chemically, such as inverted sugar. In addition to honey, other types of syrups that are also natural would be maple and malt, for example.
Inverted sugar differs from honey solely on account of its flavor, which is more neutral in relation to the many aromatic varieties of honey. This syrup is produced by adding acid to the heated sugar syrup and this combination is sufficient for hydrolysis of the sucrose molecule, formed from fructose and glucose, to release these molecules that are now freely dissolved in the water contained in this syrup.
The main role of inverted sugar is, for example, to keep bread products moist and soft for longer. It is also responsible for preventing the drying of toppings, it prevents the formation of large crystals in frozen desserts, keeping them creamy while freezing; and in chocolate, mainly in filling technology, it keeps water activity low – because it is a hygroscopic product – thus preventing its migration to the chocolate cone, which can occur in problems such as sugar bloom, and, best of all , keeping the filling creamy for longer.
Inverted sugar is sweeter than ordinary white sugar and browns much faster. That is, when used in baked products, the oven temperature must be at least 15 degrees lower than that usually used. Even so, it is advisable not to replace more than 25% of the sugar contained in the recipe with inverted sugar, as it may result in excessively dark, dense, molasses and over-sweet products.
In some cases, such as white cakes, what we do is use a little cream of tartar to lower the pH of the mixture and control the browning of the product. But even so, the amount of inverted sugar used must still be controlled!
Although inverted sugar is bought ready-made, manufactured industrially, many times we confectioners can produce it without even knowing that we are making it! This is because at all times when heating a sugar syrup with a small amount of tartaric acid it is possible to separate some sucrose molecules into fructose and glucose. And the more we heat the mixture, the more molecules we can separate, helping to reduce the risk of crystallization of this syrup in the same way that we would avoid if we added inverted sugar.
As the process cannot be controlled inside a kitchen, the confectioner will never know the amount of inverted sugar produced. If heated for an excessive time we can produce a syrup that instead of keeping the products moist and soft will make them sticky and, if heated for less time than necessary, the products will become hard and dry.
To conclude our conversation about inverted syrup it is important to know, and you probably have already concluded that the property of inverted sugar is the fault of our monosaccharide molecules – fructose and glucose, since fructose is a hygroscopic molecule, being responsible for the characteristics softness in the products and, both smaller than the sucrose molecule, are able to decrease the water activity in a product and, because they are more reactive, they darken more quickly than ordinary sugar.
Therefore, when you read the use of inverted sugar in a recipe, you will understand the real reasons for its presence and avoid making unwanted substitutions.
Mr. Brix and Mr. Baumé are our close friends to control the syrups texture. Like?
For example, a typical glucose syrup, or corn syrup, which usually contains 80% solids and 20% water, is a syrup classified by 80 ° Brix, and in all its production, we will control its amount of solids by its Brix degree. . Brix was a German scientist, Adolf Brix, who created this scale to measure the refractive index of a solution, determining the percentage of soluble solids in syrups and other products, such as fruit juice, jams, etc.
Just as temperature can be measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit, solids can be measured in Brix or Baumé, named for Antoine Baumé, a French scientist who created the scale, familiar to many confectioners.
Both Brix and Baumé can only be measured using a device called a hydrometer that basically measures the density of the syrup through the specific gravity of the liquids, that is, the denser the syrup, and therefore the more solids it will contain, it will have a higher reading than syrups with more water, I calculate this elaborated using the Archimedes principle, which establishes that a body that falls into a fluid rises with a force equal to the weight of that displaced fluid.
Used extensively in the industry, each manufacturer has a specific water meter for their measurement, such as lactometers to measure the amount of fat in milk, alcohol meter for alcohol control in drinks, etc.
Brix / Baume can also be measured by using a refractometer, which despite being a more expensive equipment is more accurate and faster in measurement, requiring less product compared to the hydrometer for its measurement.
In order to produce products that are always similar and have better control of the water activity and texture we want, it is important to work with Mr. Brix and Mr. Baumé, thus guaranteeing always perfect products and satisfied customers!
With so much knowledge in our conversation, the best thing to do now is to delve into the subject, search in books and share your doubts and discoveries – down here in the comments! I will be happy to help and discover new things with you! See you in our next conversation! Kisses and see you!

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