As Chico Buarque said, sugar is affection. Score. With sugar we can spread sweetness around the world through the most delicate and irresistible sweets. But as every confectioner knows, or should have known, a sugar just doesn’t make a summer, or better, sweet! Currently, the use of sugars in confectionery has almost the same role as salt in the kitchen – it is an ingredient that intensifies the notes of your desserts instead of being highlighted by the other ingredients, that is, it gives palatability.
Gone is the time when the phrase “Brazilian likes is sweet, nauseating” was correct. In fact, I don’t know if that phrase was ever true. The fact is that Brazilians do like sweets, but as everything in life must have its balance, sweets, my friends, must also be like this! And for that it is necessary to understand that the refined sugar, that very white one, is not the only sugar to be present in your kitchen.
Depending on the degree of sweetness intensity, the color and texture you want, using the range of sugar that we have at our service today is essential to get the sugar right. Each sugar has a different flavor, color, sweetness level and nutritional composition. The darker the more nutrients the sugar will have, the more vitamins, the more minerals, more everything – because it is simply closer to its crude extract [pense no açúcar mascavo!]. When very white, like refined sugar, it means that it has undergone chemical processing, being added with sulfur for example, which makes it white, tasty and without any nutrients – well, not to mention any, we found an average of 1 2mg of nutrients, but even so, they are insignificant, generating such empty calorie, which provides only energy!
In addition to all this, sugar offers conservation because of its effect on water activity in food, that is, it makes water inaccessible to microorganisms. Generates flavors and colors through its interaction with proteins, when heated – the famous Maillard reaction, besides being alone, it has the power of caramelization and can provide nutritional enrichment in the food, depending, of course, on the sugar used.
Types of sugars
- Glucose: also known as dextrose [sim, aquela que o pessoal do fitness gosta de usar] it is found in fruits, vegetables, honey, inverted sugar and corn syrup. We use it for example to produce ice cream, because its greatest power is to prevent crystallization and formation of very large crystals.
- Fructose: it is a sugar extracted from fruits and vegetables, like corn and in Brazil we find it at a very high price!
- Maltose: found in malt
- Lactose: found in milk
- Sucrose: commercially produced from sugar cane and beet sugar.
From these types of sugar, we produce the following products:
From confectioner – Contrary to what a lot of people think, icing sugar is not priceless sugar! No? Hi? NO! Icing sugar is refined sugar in a texture similar to talc, very fine, which after passing through a sieve, results in mini crystals. Because of these small crystals, it is a sugar that rocks very easily. So, in order to use it, it is always important – I said ALWAYS – to sift, otherwise you will be able to find several very hard sugar stones in your production. Here in Brazil it is better known as Glaçúcar, since the Union, apparently, is the only producer. [se você conhecer outras marcas, deixe nos comentários!]This sugar is great for making icing and for use in preparations where you need a more delicate texture.
Impalpable – Impalpable sugar is a mixture of icing sugar and starch – which can be corn, rice, etc. It is less sweet than icing sugar – precisely because of this concentration of starch – and less “cobblestone” [também por conta do amido de milho] that prevents one grain of sugar from sticking to the other. It is used to give that beautiful sugar rain that we see on top of cakes and pies. I consider it a blush for the sweets! In addition it is also the ideal sugar for the preparation of american folder and my favorite when I look for a smooth texture and not as sweet as icing sugar. The confusion between this sugar and icing sugar is that Americans give the same name to both sugars, and here in Brazil we differentiate through the presence or not of starch. For this sugar we can also find names like icy sugar – however, iced sugar, made from dextrose, contains other ingredients that give this “icy” sugar characteristic.
Refined sugar – As we have already said, refined sugar is a nutrient-poor sugar that has gone through a refining step with sulfur additives to make it beautifully white, thereby forming empty calories.
Crystal Sugar – It is a sugar, as the name says, it is a sugar with large crystals, which are more difficult to be dissolved. What differs it from refined sugar is that the refining to form crystal sugar removes “only 90 of its mineral salts, leaving some 10% to tell the story!
Raw sugar – It can be found both in the form of fine crystals and larger crystals and its difference, very significant. It is that it undergoes a light refinement without additives, allowing it to maintain a light brown color and contain nutritional values similar to brown sugar, which is the rawest sugar that we can easily find.
Brown sugar – Brown sugar, contrary to what many people think, is refined sugar too. Of course, it does not receive the same treatment as white or refined sugar, but in comparison to this sugar, brown sugar is 90% “pure” against almost 100% refined sugar. It is a sugar with more nutrients, since they were kept and are only removed during the washing and discoloration process. But don’t think that brown sugar is extremely rich in nutrients and minerals. Its intake does not represent great nutritional gains, but when compared to refined sugar, this is the best option.
The guy inverted sugar – This sugar mixes up to three powerful sweeteners, like glucose, fructose and sucrose, which we talked about at the beginning. The main power of this sugar is prevent crystallization of food. I know that in many cities it is almost impossible to find inverted sugar; to do this, just replace it with honey, which is a natural inverted sugar – just be careful with the taste, which may change your preparation a little. As the name says, inverted sugar has an inverted molecule – that is, in the structure of the glucose molecule, through hydrolysis, we invert a radical and padabam – we create inverted sugar!
Fructose – It is the sweetest sugar we can find – about 30 times more sweetening power than refined sugar. This sugar, extracted from fruits and mainly from corn, does not need any additives to be produced but, like refined sugar, it does not contain vitamins.
Finally the organic sugar, who has given something to talk about! – It is a sugar with the same sweetening power as refined, but its difference is that it does not take any chemical additives during its processing. The whole process, as natural as possible, makes it have a more golden color, with bigger grains and of course, precinho up there!
To finish our first contact with sugars, it is important to have their sweetness scale in mind, so it is easy when it is necessary to replace them to produce lighter and more balanced sweets! Starting from a number of 100, where sucrose, our refined sugar, is found, fructose would have a 173 [muito doce] – Glucose, or dextrose, glucose, is 74, that is, softer to our taste. Lactose, milk sugar, very weak, has a sweetness power 16, and finally maltose, coming from malt, which is just below glucose, with sweetness power 60.