Frank O'Kelly Written by Frank O'Kelly

Can syrups take the place of sugar in bakery?

Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugar manufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the baking, brewing, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries

With the government targeting refined sugar as part of its drive to cut obesity, bakers can use syrups to create sweetness in baked goods, but what complications do they bring?

In the ongoing clamour to cut sugar from the nation’s diets – given fresh impetus by last month’s Public Health England findings  – baked goods need special consideration as sugar does a lot more than sweeten – it adds texture, crumb and colour, and helps keep them moist.

But when it comes to reducing the sugar content of baked goods, syrups offer potential as they are sweeter and have other benefits. “Depending on the exact type of syrup used, they are around 40% sweeter than sucrose (granulated sugar) so less syrup is needed in a formulation,” says Ben Eastick, director at sugar and syrups supplier Ragus.

“Syrups also perform the role of a binding agent, moisture attractant and flavour enhancer, as well as aiding and controlling colour development in baking.”

Ben Eastick, Director at Ragus

Treacles, for example, can add a robust flavour, are a natural food colourant and are high in minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium), he explains, while cane treacle is a natural food supplement with over 5% of vitamin B6 daily requirements. And although syrups can cost around 20% more than sucrose, Eastick says this should be countered against their advantages. “Syrups are ready to mix, so reduce pre-mixing time, energy and labour costs,” he explains, “And depending on volume and application, they can also reduce raw material volume held in stock and costs.”

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