Due to the change of osmotic properties when the single molecule of sucrose is changed to the two molecules of glucose and fructose, the microbiological characteristics of the composition are also improved by the action of Invertin.
Sorbitol is used to enhance the shelf life of a confectionery product and to create a smoother texture. It is especially useful when used in ganaches, fondants, cremes and pralines and ideal, for example, for those seasonal articles which have to be made well in advance.
With most confectionery, the water content - which is responsible for the softness of most masses - gradually evaporates causing the sugar to crystallise. This causes hardness, dryness, cracks, shrinking and discolouration, all of which are undesirable.The addition of a small quantity of Sorbitol “F” liquid can significantly reduce this tendency due to its ability to bind the water molecules and thereby stabilise the mass.
Sorbitol “F” liquid (SFL) is a sweet, syrupy, colour-and-odourless, taste-neutral aqueous sorbitol solution (70% dry solids), containing small quantities of certain related natural carbohydrates which improve its frost resistance and other characteristics. It can very advantageously take the place of part of the sucrose or glucose in many confectionery products; the sweetness of pure sorbitol is similar to that of glucose (just under one half that of normal sugar).
Structurally, sorbitol is closely related to glucose, has the same calorific value (3.97 kcal/g) and exists naturally in many common fruits. In excessive doses (more than 100g per day) it has a slightly laxative effect. At the concentrations normally recommended, however, this would correspond to an intake of several pounds of finished product, so that the effect is insignificant. (Sorbitol is a mandatory ingredient, at 6% concentration, in confectionery specified for the US forces).
Unlike invertin, which can be used to produce similar beneficial results by converting sucrose to non-crystallising invert sugar, SFL is unaffected by heating and can be cooked without loss of effectiveness. SFL will not crystallise out at even -5°C and its relative liquidity, even when cold, permits easy storage, handling and pouring. However, SFL may tend to crystallise on prolonged exposure to air. It is therefore advisable to ensure that containers are as full as possible and well closed.
SFL binds and holds water and inhibits the crystallisation of sucrose resulting in smaller and finer crystal grains. This imparts to products a creamier and smoother texture; this characteristic is particularly significant in ganaches, fondants, cremes, etc. SFL also assists good flavour distribution, tends to refine aromas, and produces a slight and pleasant cooling effect on the tongue. Its relatively low sweetness is of benefit where a cloying effect is to be avoided and flavours must not be masked.
The addition of SFL reduces the viscosity of sugar solutions (at equivalent levels of total solids) and thus facilitates, in particular, the addition of foamy or whipped components (egg whites, gelatine, etc). It also permits increased cooking without producing excessive toughness. Unlike sucrose and glucose, SFL is not fermentable and retards certain types of (auto-oxidative) rancidity.
As a rule of thumb, it can be assumed that SFL can beneficially replace, in most recipes, some 5 -15% of the sucrose and glucose normally used -remembering that 5kg of SFL, in terms of solids content, corresponds to 3.5kg of sucrose. Processes and procedures can almost always remain unchanged.
In the case of some products (fudge, or alcohol-containing centres) the percentage is sometimes as high as 25 or 30%; in others (marzipan, biscuit masses, etc) it is kept at 5-7% and Invertin is used as well. In general, the higher the SFL percentage, the creamier the product, and the less its hardening tendency.
SFL is recommended for ganaches, cremes and fondants but is also particularly helpful in liqueur centres because of its low viscosity compared to sugar or glucose solutions of similar concentration. (Viscosity in cP at 20% and 70% total solids: SFL - 160; Sucrose - 452; Invert sugar- 375; Glucose Syrup - 6100). At the same time, the high solids content improves keeping, while the low sweetness emphasises the alcoholic flavours. Concentrations up to 30% are therefore not unusual in these cases but care must be taken with sugar-crust type products where SFL may tend to encourage dissolving of the crust.
The above information is given in good faith, and in the light of current knowledge, but without obligation or responsibility on our part. Producers are recommended to carry out their own tests and assure conformity with any regulations etc. that may be relevant from time to time.
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