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ElsieD

Cooking and baking with sugar substitutes

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Has anyone baked using sugar substitutes?  I looked to see if this had been covered before but I mainly found oldish threads and they mainly seemed to deal with beverages.  When I went to the grocery store the other day there seemed to be a plethora of them, but the ingredient list (chemical  make-up?) of them were different.  I know zero about the ingredients that are used as sugar substitutes and wondered if anyone on this forum had any experience with them.   My husband is trying to loose weight and if I can use a sugar substitute in baking and desserts with a reasonable assurance that what I produce won't taste like a chemical stew I would like to try it.

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In the past I have baked with the Splenda/Sugar baking mixtures, both white and brown and the results were just fine.

however a couple of years ago I decided to stop using Splenda and switched to the Truvia Blend - Stevia extract and sugar with erythritol.

This is a REDUCED SUGAR mixture that has been formulate to work in baked goods.  And it works beautifully in quick breads, cakes, sweet years breads and rolls, and you need less of it so don't depend on the "cup for cup" recommended measure.

In fact in many things I use about half the recommended amount and add a tablespoon or so of flour to make up for the less dry stuff.

 

There are other Stevia blends - I have tried one from Amazon - Natural fiber something.  It also said to use 1 for 1 but I cut it. 

 

The thing is that for some recipes you have to have some sugar.  I had poor results using just the plain Stevia powder product.  So I took what I had left of that and mixed it with sugar myself - no erythritol in that mixture.   I have no concerns with erythritol but some people do so I keep some of my mixture - NuNaturals NuStevia powder - contains maltodextrin, stevia extract and natural flavors.  

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Elsie,  I have a very old cook book by Dr. Mercola, 'Just What the Doctor Ordered' (no idea of the date...first thing I ever ordered on line) and it has some stevia dessert recipes.  I actually made some of them in an earlier life and they weren't too bad.  I could send you some of the recipes if you like. 

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I know you asked about sugar substitutes but before you go that route have you thought about simply reducing the amount of sugar in the recipes you are using?  Very many baked goods can be made with from a quarter to a half less sugar than called for. I know when @Kerry Beal and I are up in Manitoulin where she bakes most days she rarely uses the full amount of sugar in the original recipe. 

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

I know you asked about sugar substitutes but before you go that route have you thought about simply reducing the amount of sugar in the recipes you are using?  Very many baked goods can be made with from a quarter to a half less sugar than called for. I know when @Kerry Beal and I are up in Manitoulin where she bakes most days she rarely uses the full amount of sugar in the original recipe. 

Me too.  Before the advent of the substitutes, I used less sugar - often using brown sugar instead of white because it imparts a deeper flavor that seems to taste sweeter in some baked goods.

A great many quick breads are far too sweet for my taste anyway.

 


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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In my opinion, there's no easy answer because it depends on what you're baking and personal preference.

Most alternative sweeteners have their own peculiar issues and, usually, take some getting used to.

I tend to only use products that don't affect my blood sugar in any appreciable way.

 

Some of the products that I use the most.....

 

Natural, or fairly "natural," alternative sweeteners:

  • Stevia — tends to be noticeably bitter. Bitterness varies from product to product.
  • Erythritol — mildly sweet with a cooling effect that can be rather weird depending on how much is used and in what way.
  • Monk Fruit (Lo Han Go) doesn't have the bitterness of stevia, but it's very expensive in its pure form.
  • Liquid isomalto-oligosaccharide — mildly sweet with a pleasant flavor reminiscent of light corn syrup.
  • PolyD Fiber — mildly sweet, adds chewiness to things like low-carb brownies.

Not so natural sweetener that I use (sparingly):

  • Liquid Sucralose: Highly concentrated with little to no noticeable objectionable flavor when used in small amounts.

Some specific products I use:

  • Vitacost Erythritol — pretty good deal on pure erythritol at regular price and they do run frequent sales. I often use this in combination with liquid stevia or sucralose. I also mix in a tiny amount of robust molasses for use as a brown sugar substitute.
  • Swerve Confectioners — a finely ground erythritol blend that I use when making frostings.
  • Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener Golden — expensive but works great for spiced nuts and the like. Sort of a very mild brown sugar-like flavor.
  • SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia — better than most stevia products but still mildly bitter in spite of what they claim.
  • FiberYum (Isomalto-Oligosaccharides) — expensive but a great product for some applications. 
  • Lifesource PolyD 
  • EZ-Sweetz liquid sucralose — this company makes liquid sucralose in 2 concentrations. The linked product is the most concentrated. One drop effectively equals 2 teaspoons of sugar in terms of sweetening power, so a little goes a long way.

HTH :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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9 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

better than most stevia products but still mildly bitter in spite of what they claim.

 

Yeah, I was so excited when I was able to actually purchase stevia after reading about it for years. I was so disappointed when I tasted it in hot drinks and baking applications. Bitter, bitter, bitter! A beautiful fantasy crushed to smithereens.  *Sigh* :)

 

One weird thing is I can put stevia in my husband's iced tea, and he doesn't notice any difference at all, so people's palates my vary quite a bit with this natural sweetener.

 

My best results with baking with sugar substitutes has been with the Splenda commercial baking mix, which is matrodextrin and sucralose. It is much more expensive than sugar, but if it's necessary for your health, I reckon it's still a bargain.

 

I've also had excellent result from drastically reducing the real sugar content in baking recipes, as AnnaN recommended. I always do this to very good results.

 

Thanks for all the great tips @DiggingDogFarm.


Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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We have always used the same brand of Stevia: Now.  It's now called Better Stevia.   I have no idea of whether it's better or not.  

 

It's a strange beast at best.  Tastes terrible on some stuff...to me but not to DH, namely my homemade granola.  But then DH has a sweeter tooth than I do.  OTOH, I put it on my popcorn along with olive oil, pepper, salt, and ground chipotle.  Ed would not touch this.  

When I cooked with Stevia, it was always with coconut oil and carob powder (yes, it was another lifetime).  Somehow the carob negated the taste which I didn't like about Stevia. 

 

So it's personal taste, plus brand of Stevia, plus what you are combining it with....  which doesn't give any answers, does it?

 

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I don't know if this might be helpful to you or not, but here goes. 

 

Sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) have a bad reputation, and I don't have the knowledge to judge if the research condemning them is sound or not, so I just avoid them. Aspartame is banned in the EU as far as I know. 

 

When I tried to reduce the sugar in mine and my family's diet, I looked at natural sweeteners with a lower glycaemic load, and which also contribute some (if minimal) nutrients (trace minerals which have not been removed by refining). 

I have not baked with white/brown sugar in a very, very long time. I have had very good success replacing white or brown sugar in recipes with coconut sugar. It has a much lower glycaemic load than sugar; it makes the product much less sweeter, and personally I love that - and it's incredible in chocolaty baked goods. It has a caramel/butterscotch flavour which I love, and you can replace sugar with it cup for cup. Its flavour does not work well with everything though. 

 

Maple sugar and sucanat also work well, just reduce the sugar called for in the recipe by half (I'd use 1/2 cup sucanat for every cup of sugar the recipe calls for). 

 

My favourite sweeteners are liquid sweeteners, I am very partial to maple syrup. There's also agave, brown rice syrup (it's stickiness works wonders in granola bar or nut bar recipes), and coconut nectar. But you have to reduce the liquids in the recipe, and since this can be tricky, I look for recipes specifically made for these sweeteners - there are tons! The beauty is that these liquid sweeteners are mostly interchangeable amongst themselves, so if you only buy one, you can use it in recipes calling for any of the others.

 

To me, the flavour of stevia is downright vile. I wanted badly to love it but no dice. It has a very bad aftertaste. 

Then, there is xylitol, but as with all sugar sugar alcohol, there is the trouser trumpet factor to be considered. :D

 

If you have any questions or are looking for recipes, I'd be happy to help. 

 

Diana

 

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Thank you all for your replies.  I was away over the weekend and on the way back it became apparent that I was coming down with the flu.  Today has been a tough day but as soon as I feel better, I will comment on your replies.

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I am wondering if anyone has experience making desserts, such as cookies or brownies, using a replacement sugar. Specifically I am speaking of %100 pure stevia or monk fruit extract. Each of these powders requres a much lower amount to achieve a strong enough sweetness. Instead of adding a whole cup of sugar you might just need a teaspoon or something like that- and the texture is different from sugar. . So obviously this will change how to baked goods turn out. Does anyone know good ways to use these substitutes and achieve desireable results in baked goods?


Edited by rbda (log)

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Thanks again, everyone.  I am going to try some of the suggestions and see how it works out for me.  The aim is to reduce calories, neither of us is diabetic nor pre-diabetic so that is not an issue.  If reducing the amount of sugar what effect does it have on baked goods?  For example,  does it make a normally chewy cookie less chewy?   Does less sugar have an effect on browning?   I don't mind reducing the level of sweetness as I find some stuff much to sweet anyway but I am curious about the end result.

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I have never baked anything with artificial sweeteners or substitutes. Have a look at the following blog - the blogger often uses stevia in her recipes. http://tandysinclair.com

 

I do not know the blogger nor have I tried any of her recipes, so cannot comment on them.

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