Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Belgian Candi Sugar

After reading on many home brewing forums that buying clear candi sugar is a waste of money; forums where the recommended procedure is just to use table sugar. I'm not convinced that table sugar will yield the same results. Candi sugar is an inverted sugar created by heating Sucrose(table sugar) in solution with water to produce Glucose and Fructose. This is achieved most often by adding a catalyst such as lemon juice(citric acid) or cream of tartar(tartaric acid) to sugar and water while applying heat.

(read more after the break)

The Why:
To understand why I think clear candi sugar isn't a waste you have to understand yeast a little better, and sugar a little better. Sucrose is a disaccharide composed of Glucose and Fructose. Glucose and Fructose are monosaccharides. When pure Sucrose is broken down by inversion you get a near 50/50 mix of Glucose and Fructose. For yeast to break down Sucrose they need to create an enzyme called Invertase. This process might negatively impact fermentation by stressing the yeast; it really impacts making starters according to information from Jamil Zainashef's book "Yeast" by stress ing the yeast then making them lazy. Invertase can contribute to cidery off flavors according to several web pages I saw. Corn Syrup is also an inferior substitute because it's hard to guarantee that the corn syrup you buy is an even mix of Glucose and Fructose. All of the clear corn syrups at my local store also had vanilla listed as an ingrediant.

The How:
The simple recipe for Inverted Sugar Syrup is 1g Cream of Tartar(or 10ml of lemon juice) per 1kg of sugar(per wikipedia). The recipe I saw in an online guide was a ratio of 1 tsp CoT to 1 lb sugar. I'll be going with that one because I don't trust my scale to accurately measure 1 gram, and because I don't want 2.12 pounds of candi sugar. The equipment is mostly stuff I have, a teflon pan, measuring equipment, and a silpat.

Step 1:
Add 1lb of sugar, clean water, and 1 tsp of cream of tartar to the pan.

Step 2:
Bring the sugar to a boil while stirring, allow it to caramelize to the desired color; for clear just allow it to liquefy and then turn up the temp.

Step 3:
increase the heat under the pan and bring the mixture to hard crack temperature (295-310). you can measure it with a candy thermometer, or use the traditional method.

Step 4:
Pour the still liquid inverted sugar solution out onto a silpat.

Step 5:
When the sugar has cooled and hardened crack the sheet of candi sugar and store for up to 6 months.

Is it that simple?
Yes it is.

My clear candi sugar

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