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Sugar production & sweetener alternatives

We covered the history of sugar yesterday. Today, I would like to look at the chemistry of sugar, it's benefits and negative aspects. Also, we will discuss alternatives to cane sugar. All this is a leading to a out topic tomorrow....very exciting! Using sugar for played dessert presentation. Not only will I share sugar techniques, but a few other interesting variations that are healthier.

So, on with your lesson. The sugar may be transported in bulk to the country where it will be used and the refining process often takes place there. The first stage is known as affination and involves immersing the sugar crystals in a concentrated syrup that softens and removes the sticky brown coating without dissolving them. The crystals are then separated from the liquor and dissolved in water. The resulting syrup is treated either by a carbonatation or by a phosphatation process. Both involve the precipitation of a fine solid in the syrup and when this is filtered out, many of the impurities are removed at the same time. Removal of color is achieved by using either a granular activated carbon or an ion-exchange resin. The sugar syrup is concentrated by boiling and then cooled and seeded with sugar crystals, causing the sugar to crystallize out. The liquor is spun off in a centrifuge and the white crystals are dried in hot air and ready to be packaged or used. The surplus liquor is made into molasses.

Next, let's discuss the alternatives. I will present them in my order of preference, due with them as you see fit.

Maple syrup: 5 star rating, healthy, low glycemic index, flavourful.

Honey: see above

Fresh or frozen fruits: see

Coconut sugar: Packed with polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous and other phytonutrients, coconut sugar is versatile and now readily available.

And there are many more, do a little research. I haven't included any chemical sweetners, as they have no use in the pastry kitchen! Stay away from them, deadly they are 🤔

Cheers, and happy baking!

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