Sugar sources and functions

28 February 2023
Sugar sources and functions | Bakery Academy

Sugars sources and funtions

If we take sugar in the broader sense of meaning sugar can come from different plant based materials and some animal based products:

  •           Honey
  •           Maple
  •           Cane
  •           Grapes/ Raisins
  •           Beet
  •           Palm
  •           Date
  •           Acacia
  •           Wheat
  •           Potato
  •           Corn/ Mais

What they all have in common is that they fulfill different function in our day to day bakery products:

  •           Sweetening
  •           Tenderizing
  •           Moisture retention
  •           Improving Shelf life
  •           Leavening
  •           Energy
  •           Stabilising Egg Foams
  •           Structure builder (or ‘Bulk’)
  •           Flavour and release or lingering effect of flavour and sweetness perception
  •           Lowering the pH
  •           Spread in Cookies
  •           Crispiness
  •           Colouration by Caramelisation and Maillard Reactions
  •           Food for yeast based fermentations

From a chemical perspective we are looking at carbohydrates:  literally a family of molecules having Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. In the molecular combinations we see that with sugar we normally imply mono- and disaccharides, 1 or 2 molecules combined:

  •           Fructose (1)
  •           Glucose (1)
  •           Galactose (1)
  •           Sucrose (2; Fructose with Glucose)
  •           Maltose (2; Glucose with Glucose)
  •           Lactose (2; Glucose with Galactose)

When there are 3 or more units we would consider them to be higher sugars, so called degree of polymerisation (DP) of 3 and more. In the same it can occur that we would classify longer chains  as starch or fibers; this has dominantly to do with the functional changes that happen when the comination of molecules become longer.

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