Sweet crush: Swetha Sivakumar on spells solid with sugar and water

Put down the wand, pack away the potions. Sugar and water are all it takes to create some magic.


That, and the chef’s undivided consideration. Individuals name baking a exact science, however working with sugar requires way more accuracy. The excellent news is that, in contrast to with the somewhat unpredictable mixture of milk, flour and eggs, one can all the time inform precisely what pure white sugar will do.

Calculate the proportion of water to sugar precisely, and you may inform precisely the place a batch of boiling syrup is, simply from the temperature studying. Plain water boils at 100 levels Celsius. Including pure white sugar (which is 99.9% sucrose) raises that boiling level. At 113 levels Celsius, the boiling liquid is 85% sugar. At 149 levels Celsius, nearly all of the water has gone, and the focus is near 100% sugar.

In an apart, that is additionally why working with sugar options requires the utmost care; it could trigger extreme burns if it touches the pores and skin.

Now right here’s a little bit of that magic: Controlling the temperature because it rises causes syrup. Controlling it because it cools, causes crystals to type. At this level, relying on how a lot the chef stirs or pulls, they will management the scale of the crystals to make treats that vary from the cloud-like cotton sweet to the chewy, stringy soan papdi, or stop the formation of crystals altogether, to make sugar glass.

Sugar glass, additionally referred to as edible glass, is what you’re actually seeing on the display when a window shatters or one man punches one other by way of a see-through door.

It’s made by cooling the syrup so rapidly that the sugar doesn’t crystallise in any respect. As a substitute, it units in place as an amorphous construction, similar to actual glass. Since this type of edible deal with is extra-brittle, and fully clear, it’s an ideal substitute for the true factor as a result of it poses far much less of a danger to actors and stuntmen.

The one downside with sugar glass is that it’s sticky and temperamental at excessive humidity ranges, so filmmakers have changed it in latest many years with an artificial thermoplastic resin referred to as “breakaway glass”.

To make sugar glass – and you may definitely do this at dwelling – take sugar, water, an acidic component and a liquid sweetener. Sugar, left to itself, tends to type crystals. Crystallisation happens greatest when an identical molecules can get shut to one another with nothing in-between. When making sugar glass, the addition of acid (within the type of lemon juice, vinegar and so forth) helps break up the disaccharide sugar into its parts: unidentical molecules of glucose and fructose. This cleaving impairs crystallisation, step one in serving to sugar grow to be edible glass.

A liquid sweetener (usually corn syrup) is then added to flood the answer with extra unidentical molecules. Corn syrup, as an illustration, incorporates glucose, maltose and a few lengthy chain oligosaccharides; crystals discover it much more tough to type in a combination so numerous. The consequence, is crystal clear.

In sweet the place crystals are wished, there have to be loads of management too. It’s important to get simply the scale and kind that one desires.

Take cotton sweet. Spinning fibers this tiny was nearly not possible till the invention of the cotton-candy machine in 1897, by, of all individuals, an American dentist named William Morrison. However with the machine, even a baby can do it. The machine spins its ethereal clouds by first melting the sugar, then forcing the recent, molten sugar by way of tiny holes. Because the sugar solidifies, as a result of centrifugal pressure, its crystals type skinny threads that may be whipped round a stick.

In taffy and soan papdi, the sugar answer is cooked to the soft-crack stage (the place it resembles lava). At these temperatures, there’s some crystal formation. However earlier than the crystals can get giant and arduous, the gooey, lava-like combine is pulled like a rope and folded again into itself, aerating it and including new molecules from that air, thereby lowering the scale of crystals. The consequence, because it cools and units, is an ethereal, chewy candy.

Whereas all that is enjoyable, it’s in fact uniformly unhealthy for our well being. The human physique doesn’t want white sugar in any respect. For the chef, the ingredient’s attract holds, as a canvas of infinite inventive chance. If solely there have been some solution to take pleasure in that artwork with out swallowing it entire.

(To succeed in Swetha Sivakumar with questions or suggestions, electronic mail upgrademyfood@gmail.com)



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