TEMPERATURE DESCRIPTION USE FOR 215°-220°F (102°-104°C) Short thread Thin syrups la
225°-230°F (107°-110°C) Long thread Thick syrups |9
240°F (115°C) Softball Fondants and soft fudges
245°-250°F (118°-121°C) Hardball Hard fudges
310°F (155°C) Crack Soft toffees
325°F (163°C) Hard crack Hard toffees and spun sugar
380°-390°F (193°-199°C) Caramel Coating fruit, gateaux and cakes, also as a colouring agent for savoury sauces
Sugar is a crystalline substance obtained from various plants but made commercially from sugar cane and sugar beet. It is used to sweeten foods and beverages and as a preservative – for example in the preparation of jam.
Sugar cane, the major source of world sugar, is a bamboo-like grass which grows chiefly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Sugar beet grows in temperate climates. There is no noticeable difference, either in flavour or appearance, between cane and beet sugar.
The first stage of the refining process is the formation of massecuite, which is a mixture of crude crystals and syrup.
The crystals are separated from the syrup by being spun in a centrifugal machine. The isolated syrup is then used for the preparation of GOLDEN .
The partially refined crystals, which are brown, may be finely ground as in soft brown sugar or coarsely ground for .
White sugar is produced after further processes of refining. Granulated sugar is the coarsest and cheapest of the white sugars and is the most commonly used sugar in cooking. It is perfectly acceptable, except where a very fine texture or surface is necessary.
Castor sugar is obtained either by separating the finer from the coarser grains of granulated sugar or by grinding down granulated sugar. Castor sugar is less gritty than granulated sugar and is therefore most often used in making cakes, pastries and biscuits .
Cube or loaf sugar is made by compressing white sugar into lumps. This type of sugar is used to sweeten beverages or remove the zest from citrus fruits.
Icing sugar is very finely milled white sugar which is mixed with a maximum of 1.5% calcium phosphate to prevent lumps from forming.
Coffee sugar or crystals may be white, brown or multi-coloured and were originally developed for the benefit of coffee connoisseurs because they dissolve more slowly than other sugars.
Preserving sugar is composed of smaller granules than coffee sugar but larger than those of granulated sugar. This sugar produces brighter and more translucent jams and jellies, whose appearance justifies their extra cost.
Sugar, whether it is brown or white, is only valuable as an almost pure carbohydrate. Black treacle and molasses contain calcium and iron, but in such small quantities as to be almost negligible. Sugar provides a source of energy which is quickly assimilated into the body.
However, recent research has disclosed the fact that a decrease in sugar consumption is synonymous with a decrease in dental decay.
Cooked sugar is the basis for most sweet-making, some icings and the preservation and cooking of fruit. It is important when cooking with sugar to completely dissolve it before the mixture is brought to the boil. A heavy-based saucepan should be used if possible, so that an even temperature may be maintained.
For skilled sweet-making a sugar thermometer is required but many simple sweets may be made without one, in which case the condition of the sugar solution when cooled rapidly is used as a guide to temperature.
To test the sugar solution, drop about
½ teaspoon into a cup half-filled with cold water. A short thread means that the cooled sugar will feel sticky to the fingers and will form a short thread when the thumb and forefinger are pulled apart. A long thread means the syrup is slightly tackier and a longer thread can be formed when the thumb and forefinger are pulled apart. A soft ball means that the cooled sugar forms into a small lump which is very malleable. A hard ball means a firm, but still malleable lump is formed. A crack means that the cooled sugar sets as soon as it enters the water into a brittle thread which will bend and break. A hard crack, that the brittle thread formed snaps without bending. A caramel means the A selection of sugars-/ Preserving Sugar, 2 Granulated Sugar, 3 Light Soft Brown Sugar, 4 Dark Soft Brown Sugar,s Multi- Coloured Coffee Sugar Crystals, 6 Icing Sugar, 7 Demerara Sugar, 8 Cubes of Loaf Sugar, 9 Castor Sugar. colour of the sugar solution changes to light golden, then to deep brown and the cooled sugar is very brittle and breaks easily.
While the sugar solution is boiling, it should not be stirred as this causes sugar crystals to form, which in excess cause grainy textured sweets. When a fine texture is required, as in FONDANT, a little acid such as lemon juice or tartaric acid is added.
This is used for the decoration of desserts and pastries. A little liquid GLUCOSE is usually added to the syrup so that the strands are not too brittle. The sugar solution is boiled until it reaches 320°F or between crack and hard crack. A fork is dipped in the sugar mixture and it is ‘thrown’ so that minute strands of sugar set as they come into contact with the air and form a golden mist over the dessert or pastry. Spun sugar should be thrown about 30 minutes before it is served as it quickly picks up moisture from the atmosphere and softens.