Sugar, Sugar Blends, and Sugar Glasses
This chapter discusses the chemistry and physics of sugar. Sugar exhibits properties that go much beyond sweetness. For example, sugar molecules bind water molecules in a “hydrate shell”; in so doing, they increase the viscosity, especially at high concentrations, of the liquids that contain them. Sugar depresses the freezing point of water, a property that is exploited in the making of ice cream. Sugar can exist as a solid in both the crystalline and amorphous states. Granulated sugar has a crystalline structure. The sugar molecules are very much ordered with respect to one another, not unlike bricks in a wall. At the opposite end is the amorphous state, in which the molecules, randomly packed together, have no organization whatsoever. Scientists refer to solid, amorphous sugar as a glass, because its behavior is analogous to that of regular window glass—hard, brittle, and fragile. The remainder of the chapter discusses glass transition temperature and why it should be a culinary parameter.
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