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Polydextrose


NulloModo
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Stevia can be downright nasty if used in quantity. When you sweeten your coffee with it you'll use a smidge not a big ole heaping teaspoon! Then see if you mind the taste after that. I've mixed it with xylitol, erythritol and liquid splenda with ok results but I am under no illusion that it replaces the taste of sugar.

Josette

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...Also, the quality of stevia can vary tremendously from brand to brand.  If you do go the stevia route, get a good brand (talk to Nullo)...

I tried stevia and I apparently got some bad stuff - it was horrible!!! And let me hasten to say that I have not ventured out into any kind of sugar-free baking. This thread however is very eye-opening.

Nullo, is there a good brand of stevia???

Actually, I do happen to know a little bit about stevia :wink: (I was in a rush before).

From the 20-30 stevia users that I've talked to, there appears to be three brands that get a lot of favorable nods:

Sooolite (from NuNaturals)

SteviaPlus

Now brand white stevia powder

Where most brands isolate the steviosides, sooolite uses a special process to isolate the rebaudiosides, which are supposed to have no bitterness. They have a sample pack for $1 so I gave it a shot. The sample pack was phenomenal. Better than liquid splenda. Better than even sugar (a 'cleaner' sweetness if that's possible). My third sweetener was in place (along with liquid splenda and erythritol), the synergy was through the roof, the quality, superb. All my artifical sweetener angst had passed. Life was good. When I ran out of my sample, I trotted on over to Whole Foods and picked up a box. It took me a couple of uses to figure it out, but the stuff in the box was bitter :( My heart was dashed against a stone. I traded a few emails with the company only to find out that these were from two different batches, and that although they agreed that the second batch was inferior to the first, it was close enough for them.

Bottom line, consistency issues. That was about 6 months ago. I haven't gone near stevia since. I highly recommend trying the samples, though. Even the bad batch was quite a bit better than your average brand of stevia. And the bitterness wasn't an anise/licorice note, but more of a slight burning sensation on the tongue. If they ever get their consistency issues worked out, I'll be praising their name once again.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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Josette, I can point you towards a few really top notch low carb recipes that use polyd.

Are you interested in polyd from a perspective of calorie reduction, carb reduction, increasing fiber, eating sugar free or something else?

Calorie reduction. Thanks.

I can't help you with calorie reduced recipes, but I can give you a ballpark formula for replacing the sugar in the recipes you've got.

For each cup of sugar, use:

1 C. PDX (scoop and level measure)

2 T. erythritol

2 T. xylitol

1/3 C. sweetening equivalent of liquid splenda

You might need a drop or two less or more of liquid splenda (probably less), but from a textural perpective, this should be right on the money. Just a take a recipe you like and incorporate this mixture.

One catch. PDX has some assimilation issues. If you try to cream it with butter, you'll get rocks, due to the butter's moisture content. I have found that either mixing it in with the dry ingredients and then adding it to the wet works well, as does hand blending it with the eggs.

The last and most foolproof method is to utilize a recipe with either warm liquids or liquids that can be warmed and then cooled/incorporated.

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...Actually, I do happen to know a little bit about stevia :wink: (I was in a rush before).

From the 20-30 stevia users that I've talked to, there appears to be three brands that get a lot of favorable nods:

...but the stuff in the box was bitter :( My heart was dashed against a stone. I traded a few emails with the company only to find out that these were from two different batches, and that although they agreed that the second batch was inferior to the first, it was close enough for them.

Bottom line, consistency issues. That was about 6 months ago.  I haven't gone near stevia since.  I highly recommend trying the samples, though.  Even the bad batch was quite a bit better than your average brand of stevia.  And the bitterness wasn't an anise/licorice note, but more of a slight burning sensation on the tongue.  If they ever get their consistency issues worked out, I'll be praising their name once again.

Thanks for your insight, Scott, I appreciate it very much.

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Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but from the information on the Splenda web site it appears that Splenda in packets and granular Splenda in boxes have identical carbohydrate content per equivalent sweetening power; that is, the granular stuff has no additional filler, but is simply the stuff in packets fluffed up (and perhaps differently textured).

Therefore, there's only a minimal advantage carb-wise in using polydextrose plus packet Splenda instead of granular Splenda, since polydextrose contributes relatively little sweetening power. It's the liquid Splenda that's the low-carb key.

"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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Those who are in the know about stevia:

Since it is a plant, do you find that the better stevia brands are using a superior extraction method than the lesser brands? i.e. is the extraction method in direct relation to the final taste/bitterness/astringency factor, or is this all in the final processing? If it is in the extraction, do you know which method is superior or which method produces superior results?

Also, I know that it has been said that polydextrose can be caramelized, but I wanted to be clear that it can be cooked down to caramel straight. Is this true, or should it always be thinned with something (sucrose, glucose, invert sugars, etc.)?

And, does anyone know what polydextrose's hygroscopicity is in relation to fondant? To regular sugar? What about in relation to a sorbet stabilizer like Cremodan?

Thanks. Great thread!

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By carmelize I meant that PolyD will melt like sugar, and then re-harden into a shell like sugar, not sure if that is how you would use the term. I have no idea what fondant or sorbet stabilizers are, so, unfortunately I can't help there.

With regard to Stevia - I use NOW! Brand liquid Stevia extract. A couple drops provides a very nice sweetness, but it is best not to be used on its own. I don't detect a licorice or a burning taste, but there is a certain emptyness to it that is best filled out with other sweeteners.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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By caramelize, I mean to melt like sugar, and when it approaches 338F, start to darken and develop flavors, and when cooled, reharden.

And my question about the stevia was more directed to the extraction method, rather than simply if it was a pure extract or not.

Thanks

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Re: Stevia, I don't know the answer to your question exactly, but I will say that, in general, the less processed a brand of stevia is, the worse it tastes. Nullo's brand (Now White Powder) is very processed/standardized as is the sooolite and those, as I said earlier get some of the best reviews.

I was under the misconception that PDX could caramelize until I looked further into it recently. The 90% fiber constituent can't caramelize, but the 4% glucose can. So, technically one can say PDX caramelizes, but in reality, you can barely detect any color. So, no.

PDX is extremely hygroscopic. Working with it is very much like working with corn syrup. It is also highly resistant to crystallization. I keep adding more and more to a water solution, heating it and expecting, like sugar, for crystals to form when it cools - nope. Nothing. It glasses for candy, but due to the hygroscopicity, the candies can end up sticky.

It definitely can't be used for everything.

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one other note i forgot to mention - in order to be labelled sugar free, your total sugars content must be less than or equal to 0.5g of sugar / serving size (RACC as defined by the FDA).  Note that sugar is not just sucrose, but all sugars (lactose, sucrose, etc).

Sebastian, Scott and Nullo -

Thanks for all the info...definitely have some experimenting to do...

One other question on the sugar free labeling issue...Doesn't fructose count as a sugar? Can desserts with fruit be labeled sugarfree?

Edited by Matsu (log)
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Matsu, from Sebastion's description it's 'total sugars,' so the sugar from the fruit definitely has to be counted.

I don't know what was in the tart, but raspberries happen to have relatively little sugar in them. This applies to most berries. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries - low sugar as well. Lemons are okay, used in the minimal context they tend to appear.

When you see high sugar fruit mentioned in low carb/sugar free commercial products, it's usually a combination of fruit and flavoring, not 100% fruit.

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Yup, it's total sugars. What you may wish to consider doing is labelling them as No Sugar Added products, assuming of course, you're not adding any sugars 8-) I'm not very familiar with how regulatory bodies approach areas such as deserts in restaraunts - but i've never heard of an action taken for mislabelling there, so my guess is that from a regulatory perspective you're probably pretty safe. However, from a pure informational standpoint, if you're wanting to give as much info to your customers as possible, NSA is probably the way to go. There are sources online (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/) where you can go to get a pretty good idea of what the nutritional makeup is of various foods.

Re: sucralose - there are essentially 3 versions of sucralose. Liquid (25% soln.), commercially available (think the stuff in the packets - it's a mixture of sucralose and maltodextrin), and the industrial powder (this is straight unadulterated sucralose, 600x sweeter than sugar). The latter is what I always use, but given the state of supply right now, it's probably going to be fairly difficult to source this if you'd not had an allottment from the previous year.

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Thanks for the polydextrose information.

Not to be too far off topic, what other sugar substitutes/derivatives do you know of with very low hygroscopicity that can be caramelized (or at the very least cooked down and cooled to a hard-crack-like state)? I know very little about maltodextrin, but to the best of my knowledge, has a relatively low hygroscopicity in relation to sugar and has many of the properties that I am looking for, but I my interest was piqued hearing about polydextrose's low sweetening power. The goals - being able to achieve paper-thin croquants/sugar tuiles that don't immediately turn into a sticky mess in coastal, somewhat more humid environments.

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Chefwoody, the kind of specs you'r describing (low hygroscopicity, caramelization, glassing, proportionally less sweet than sugar) are tailor made for isomalt, a sugar alcohol.

Unfortunately, once you wander into the non-erythritol sugar alcohol realm you have laxation/digestive issues to worry about.

Whey Low should caramelize/glass in the manner you're looking for, but, being a combination of sucrose, fructose and lactose, I don't consider Whey Low a 'sugar substitute.'

I've been reading a little bit about tagatose lately. That sounds like another likely candidate, if you can get your hands on some. You might be able to play the business to business card with one of the tagatose manufacturers. Tagatose can't be purchased retail, but commercial... possibly.

I've heard it mentioned here a few times. Maybe one of our esteemed members has an 'in' :smile:

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Chefwoody, the kind of specs you'r describing (low hygroscopicity, caramelization, glassing, proportionally less sweet than sugar) are tailor made for isomalt, a sugar alcohol.

One advantage of using isomalt instead of sugar for sugar type garnishes is that if you have any left, you can remelt it whereas you can't with sugar.

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Chefwoody, the kind of specs you'r describing (low hygroscopicity, caramelization, glassing, proportionally less sweet than sugar) are tailor made for isomalt, a sugar alcohol.

One advantage of using isomalt instead of sugar for sugar type garnishes is that if you have any left, you can remelt it whereas you can't with sugar.

Fascinating, thanks!

I'm curious... what happens if you try to remelt sugar?

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It seems to work ok up to about 7-10%, then you're going to get reversion back into it's crystalline state..

I've been thinking about this lately... how certain are you of the '7-10%' figure?

I have tens of people in the forum that I moderate that are seeking answers to the erythritol crystallization issue. If there's any chance that this 7-10% could be a hard and fast rule, it would make a lot of people, including me, happy.

Also, I have read that polydextrose, when used in conjunction with erythritol, will inhibit crystallization, but so far, I have yet to notice that occuring. Have you had any experience with this?

And lastly, a polydextrose/erythritol fudge... In theory I think it's quite feasible - a liquid phase polydextrose solution combined with a solid phase crystallized erythritol. My biggest obstacle is obtaining a small enough crystal size. Ideas?

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I would'nt think isomalt would caramalize - isomalt is a blend of two hydrogenated sugars, which by default means they've already been reduced (the chemical group that takes place in the mailliard rxns isn't available to do so any longer). That said, I've never tried to do it, but would be very surprised if you could caramalize it.

Tagatose is a neat sugar (i think you can get it from arla foods), but if memory serves, it's limited to a usage level of 10% is confections.

Re: erythritol and 7-10% - how sure am i? i'd put a bet on it, but wouldn't stake my life on it, how's that 8-)? soluability levels that you're able to achieve would be heavily dependant on a host of other factors, i'd think - what types of fats you've got present, what other types of solids, how much, temperatures. I'll stick to my guns with saying that as a general rule, i'd expect a 7-10% max lvl before you get reversion. I would not expect polydextrose to inhibit reviersion more than any other solid. I think i've seen erythritol fudges, but if memory serves, you're going to have to use it conjunction with another type of sweetners..

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I would'nt think isomalt would caramalize - isomalt is a blend of two hydrogenated sugars, which by default means they've already been reduced (the chemical group that takes place in the mailliard rxns isn't available to do so any longer).  That said, I've never tried to do it, but would be very surprised if you could caramalize it. 

Tagatose is a neat sugar (i think you can get it from arla foods), but if memory serves, it's limited to a usage level of 10% is confections.

Re: erythritol and 7-10% - how sure am i?  i'd put a bet on it, but wouldn't stake my life on it, how's that 8-)?  soluability levels that you're able to achieve would be heavily dependant on a host of other factors, i'd think - what types of fats you've got present, what other types of solids, how much, temperatures.  I'll stick to my guns with saying that as a general rule, i'd expect a 7-10% max lvl before you get reversion.  I would not expect polydextrose to inhibit reviersion more than any other solid.  I think i've seen erythritol fudges, but if memory serves, you're going to have to use it conjunction with another type of sweetners..

You're right, isomalt won't caramelize. I had eaten isomalt toffees that I had assumed were made by caramelizing the isomalt, but I just looked into it - nope, just caramel flavoring. Sugar alcohols won't caramelize.

Chefwoody, cross isomalt off my list of recommendations :) It'll glass but it won't caramelize.

Now, speaking of caramelization... I've been thinking. As you caramelize sugar, it's being converted to other compounds, some sugars such as dextrose, some non sugars, correct? If you continue cooking sugar, you end up with carbon, correct? Carbon contains zero sugar, does it not? Doesn't the amount of sugar in a caramel decrease the longer you cook it/the darker color you achieve?

And, if so, is there any way of quantifying this loss of carbohydrate for use in sugar free baking?

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Yes, I've used isomalt quite a bit, but never straight up. I have combined it with sugar and then caramelized the mixture, but of course that's the sugar talking. Plus, with the high concentration of sugar that you have to use in relation to the isomalt, the hygroscopicity of the isomalt is all but wasted.

Can anyone offer any more information on tagatose? I'm assuming that this is not found in nature anywhere so how is it processed and made?

And yes, to my experience, sugar will EASILY reach a state of carbon if cooked down, taking up a permanent residence on the bottom of the pan (and even loves to ignite if left on the heat for very long after that).

As for your VERY interesting question about the amount of sugar decreasing as its compounds are undergoing their various reactions, I don't know. I'm sure someone here could make a much more informed conclusion about that. Now that you pose that question, I am dying to know the answer! I'm going to go dive into some reading to try to find out.

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Chefwoody, I have these three links for wholesale tagatose:

http://www.gaiotagatose.com/

http://www.arlafoodsingredients.com/C1256E...1256E6F003428F7

http://www.tagatose.com/index.htm

If, during your reading, you come across anything relating to the dextrinization of starches in roux, I have a similar question there as well. As we all know, a roux, as it darkens, loses it's thickening abilities. Does it burn away sugar as well?

My theory is that both very dark caramelized sugar and very dark roux have very few sugars/carbs left in them. At least that's what I'm hoping ;)

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That's an interesting question scott - I'd never thought about it. Caramaliztion is a specific reaction that takes place between specific groups (carbonyl) on sugars and specific groups (amine) often found in proteins. My guess is that as this type of reaction occurs (mailliard), that there's going to be a slight decrease in the sugars content, but it's probably not significant, unless you take the reaction to it's extreme, in which case it's probably not going to taste very good. I'll think about it some more though..it'd be easy enough to test with an HPLC.

As far as carbon goes, there's a difference between caramalization and carbonization rxns. Carbonization is essentially when you heat something high enough or react it with another compound that preferrentially uses up the oxygen and hydrogen (the other elements of sugar). If heated high enough, you'll end up with water and carbon, and the water boilis off. You can also react sugar with, say, sulferic acid which essentially does the same thing, leaving you with a blackened mess that's mostly carbon. In the case of carbonization, there's definately a reduction in sugar.

Chef Woody - again, going from memory (which is increasingly untrustworthy 8-) ) I believe tagatose is produced by acid hydrolysis of milk by products (arla's a pretty large dairy presence in Europe).

Edited by Sebastian (log)
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Seb,

Your memory did you right. On the natralose site (tagatose.com), it said that it is a ketose which naturally occurs in some dairy products. It looks like very interesting stuff. I'm thinking that the ideal solution might lie in a combination of isomalt (making up the largest percentage), tagatose, and sucrose. The only thing that gives me pause about the tagatose is the fact that they say, in comparison to sugar, the end product (in reference to confection) will tend to be soft (I'm not sure if that's due to the hygroscopicity of it or some other property).

Thanks for the links. I'm going to do some more reading.

Anybody played with mannitol?

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This is probably more info than anyone wanted, but the only reason i'd touch mannitol is when my daughter was very young, she'd tend to constipate badly all the time. I'd stir in a tbsp of mannitol into her drink to help... clear that problem up.

Mannitol's got one of the worst laxative tolerances, and in my opinion, has a very poor taste relative to your other options.

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