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Corn syrup/glucose/trimoline/invert sugars


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The post on invert sugars in ganache led me to ask this, a question that I really should have asked a while ago and which I can't find having been asked on eG before.

I'm in the UK, where light corn syrup is fairly hard to come by. I've never managed to track it down; even specialist catering suppliers like West Country Fine Foods, who supply all the other patisserie requisites I use, draw a blank.

A lot of recipes and cookbooks I have use light corn syrup, and I'm wondering how best to substitute other invert sugars to achieve the best result. I know that none of them are directly equivalent, but there must be some rough rule of thumb which would give me a good idea of what to use in a given circumstance.

I have the usual suspects available, i.e. trimoline and glucose (also acidic sugar solutions of whatever density I choose to make).

Can anyone help?

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I'd substitiute glucose, 1-1, especially for a ganache.

If it's just for keeping ice cream pliable or something like that, use invert because its cheaper and you'll need less of it. Not sure on the exact ratio.

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that's interesting... Neil (nightsctosman) posted this in the other thread :

When it comes to something as finely balanced as a ganache recipe, even corn syrup and glucose aren't interchangeable since corn syrup contains significantly more water.

I've seen corn syrup used, and it was much less viscous than glucose.

I always use a 50:50 mix of glucose and trimoline in i/c and sobet recipes anyway, it was more for other uses I was thinking.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Okay, here's the nutrition information for Karo brand light corn syrup

KARO Light Corn Syrup

Serving size: 2.0 tablespoon(s) (30.0 g) Nutrition Facts

Calories: 120.00 | Calories from fat: 0.00

Fat

0.00 g

Cholesterol

0.00 mg

Saturated fat

0.00 g

Sodium

35.00 mg

Carbohydrate

31.00 g

Sugar

12.00 g

Dietary fiber

0.00 g

Protein

0.00 g

Ingredients: Light corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, salt, vanilla

From the Karo Corn Syrup FAQ

Corn syrup is a mildly sweet, concentrated solution of dextrose and other sugars derived from corn starch. It is naturally sweet. Corn syrup contains between 15% to 20% dextrose (glucose) and a mixture of various other types of sugar.

From Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.Com

Corn syrup: Containing 24 percent water, corn syrup is obtained by partial hydrolysis of cornstarch by acid, alkaline, or enzymatic catalysts. Fructose is added to prevent crystallization.
Glucose: Containing 15 to 19.7 percent water, this is an invert sugar found in many plants and in great abundance in corn.

The plot just thickened :)

From the Encyclopædia Britannica

Corn syrup contains dextrins, maltose, and dextrose and is used in baked goods, jelly and jam, and candy

I was under the misconception that the carbs in corn syrup were all sugar. If you look at the nutrional label, they're not. I'm guessing this has to do with the dextrins.

This site here is for a Belgian organic corn syrup that isn't light in color, but it has a complete breakdown of the sugars:

Fructose: 0 %

Glucose: 25 %

Maltose: 41 %

Poly-saccharides: 29%

I'm guessing this is pretty close to corn syrup without the high fructose corn syrup component.

According to this discussion forum, Lily White Corn Syrup (a Canadian corn syrup) lists the following ingredients:

glucose,glucose-fructose, water, salt, vanillin

From this description, it looks like they are equating pure corn syrup to glucose and high fructose corn syrup to gluctose-fructose.

Lastly, here's a treatise from 1898 that lists the sugars in glucose syrup.

"glucose syrup" contains from 34 to 42 per cent dextrose, from 0 to 19 per cent maltose, and from 30 to 45 per cent dextrin

I think you have enough here to do some reverse engineering. Using the nutritional label and the 20% glucose claim, I'd give a shot at reverse engineering it from glucose syrup and invert sugar. Since those glucose specs are from 1898, they might be a little dated, so you might want to track down a better source. If none of the combinations of glucose syrup and invert sugar give you enough non sugar carbs, you might have to rely on something like maltodextrin to make up the difference.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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  • 9 months later...

I too faced the problem of finding ingredients that I was used to using prior to moving to the UK from WA state. All my cookbooks are from the US and Canada and call for ingredients readily available back home. However, with a little searching on the net and asking the locals here, I found that Lyle's Golden Syrup is a good substitution for corn syrup. Hope that helps. Oh and treacle, I found out, is the English molasses. :wink:

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Here's a question from a home cook who can't get corn syrup.  What exactly does it do in making candy like divinity?  Is there any acceptable substitution that I can make at home from common ingredients found in the kitchen?  Would honey work?

I think the purpose of corn syrup is to inhibit the crystallization of sucrose, and thus make the texture smoother. When sucrose molecules in a solution stick together, they form crystals. If the crystals are big enough, the texture will be grainy. If you add corn syrup to the solution, its free sugars get in the way and limits the ability for sucrose molecules to stick together. I've never tried substituting honey for CS, but honey divinity sounds mighty tasty.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Unfortunately, honey is also much sweeter than corn syrup, which is only about half as sweet at sugar, so your candy might come out tasting a bit overpowering. Honey is better as a substitute for Trimoline (a brand name for invert sugar). In fact, Trimoline is basically a man-made honey without the "impurities" that give honey it's flavor. Trimoline also has some emulsifying properties, which is why you sometimes see it in professional recipes for ganache and ice cream.

Glucose is a much better sub for corn syrup if it's easier to find. The main difference is corn syrup contains more water.

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I've always wondered, what happens to honey if you heat it hot enough to caramelize the sugars? I love the flavor of honey in candy. The only candy I've made with honey is nougat, and the honey was only heated to 250F. If you were to take it up to, say, 350F (suppose you were making caramels), would you lose the honey flavor, or would the non-sugar stuff in the honey burn and taste nasty? I'm just curious if anyone has done this.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I can get Karo's corn syrup if I search hard enough in my neck of the woods, but it's expensive. Stumbled on a substitute in a modelling chocolate recipe. Please refer to this thread. As you can see in Sugarella's recipe, it's 500g chocolate to 5 oz corn syrup. The recipe I use has 500g chocolate to 5 oz liquid glucose plus 2 oz liquid sugar. Works fine.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I ended up making the divinity using honey. The reason why I decided to do it was because while out looking at labels, I saw that a label listed per 100g of honey there is 78 grams of glucose. I also noted that in various recipes for divinity, the corn syrup ratio differs, which made me think that if I'm off a few grams here or there, I'll at least have put in enough glucose to keep it from becoming grainy. What I did was for the volume of corn syrup, I used 1/3 honey and 2/3 volume filled with water. In this candy the sugar is heated to 260F, which is done without stirring. The candy came together like the divinity I know, with a good result. Although I was prepared for a little bit of honey taste, there was no honey flavor at all in the finished product. I tasted it before and after the addition of the raspberry eau de vie!

Patrick, about the non-sugar stuff in the honey, there was just a little brown foam at the surface on one side of the syrup, which stayed with the pan when I poured the syrup. I'm assuming that came from the honey.

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The post on invert sugars in ganache led me to ask this, a question that I really should have asked a while ago and which I can't find having been asked on eG before.

I'm in the UK, where light corn syrup is fairly hard to come by.  I've never managed to track it down; even specialist catering suppliers like West Country Fine Foods, who supply all the other patisserie requisites I use, draw a blank.

A lot of recipes and cookbooks I have use light corn syrup, and I'm wondering how best to substitute other invert sugars to achieve the best result.  I know that none of them are directly equivalent, but there must be some rough rule of thumb which would give me a good idea of what to use in a given circumstance.

I have the usual suspects available, i.e. trimoline and glucose (also acidic sugar solutions of whatever density I choose to make).

Can anyone help?

To the inverse situation, in the US I've seen quite a few recipes that call for the use of Lyle's Golden Syrup, and bakers have recommended to me to substitute corn syrup for it, saying that the biggest difference you'll notice is that the Lyle's Golden is not as sweet as corn syrup and has a bit more complex flavor. I think you would be quite safe simply substituting Lyle's Golden for corn syrup measure for measure.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm allergic to corn and my allergy has gotten much, much worse in the past couple years. I'm a former baker and very comfortable making subs for corn syrup, corn starch, etc in my baking- and thankfully Big Chief Sugar here in Michigan makes a Confectioners Sugar with wheat starch instead of the typical corn starch. Where I'm really stuck is when it comes to making candies and those dang holiday peeps have been calling my name every time I go to the store...they are definitely not worth an ER trip or weeks on Prednisone.

I understand from the chemical reaction side of it, that corn syrup prevents the sugar from crystallizing in candies- is there any thing else that I can use that would do the same thing? Or at least help? I tried a small batch of marshmallows with Brown Rice Syrup and wasn't happy with the taste at all, so I went on to try the recipe from a 1930's Knox Gelatin recipe booklet with all sugar, but had some crystallization, even though I added a tablespoon of honey as insurance. I really want to make pumpkin marshmallows a try for Thanksgiving- the vanilla cinnamon ones from last night were great, even with the slight crystallization...but then I haven't had marshmallows in a long, long time :wink: Once I get marshmallows down, maybe I can make fudge again for Christmas...I use to have a wonderful old recipe from an aunt that was pre-corn syrup days that worked great that called for measurements like a 'piece of butter the size of a walnut', but I've misplaced it somewhere.

Another thought I've had, is there a big difference between cane sugar & beet sugar? I know some think there is and I would expect the biggest difference would show up in candy making. Living in Michigan, we almost always have beet sugar, as that's what most of the store brands are- even our Walmart's carry beet sugar as their store brand. Should I pick up a bag of cane sugar and give it a try?

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I understand from the chemical reaction side of it, that corn syrup prevents the sugar from crystallizing in candies- is there any thing else that I can use that would do the same thing?

I'm not a baker, but I've been researching similar things for making sorbets. Essentially, crystals are formed when all the pieces (molecules) are the same size. You just need to figure out something you can add that is a different size that doesn't taste bad!

Corn syrup (aka 'glucose' in Europe, to the despair of chemists everywhere who think that dextrose and glucose should mean the same thing, and realizing that not all corn syrups have the same concentrations) is a composed of fructose, dextrose, maltose, and larger saccharides. Different types of corn syrups contain different proportions of these sugars based on the process used to hydrolyze the starch.

In theory, 'glucose syrup' can be made from any starch, but given your allergy, in the US at least you'd be safest presuming that all of it is made from corn. But it's possible you can find one clearly made from wheat or rice, and that would just be a straight substitute. Otherwise, you could try adding any of those other sugars. Proceed cautiously, since it's possible these are made from corn starch.

For a safer, more sure-to-be-corn-free alternative, you could try using invert sugar, which is table sugar (sucrose) that has been split into its constituent parts (dextrose and fructose). You can buy this from a baking supply company as Trimoline, or you can try making your own by boiling sugar with a small amount of lemon juice.

Another thought I've had, is there a big difference between cane sugar & beet sugar?

I haven't done the side-by-side comparisons to have real evidence, but I doubt you would see much of a difference. The differences between them are at the level of trace elements, and it's the bulk properties that should make a difference with regard to crystallization. That said, if you are going to track something down, you might want to see if cane syrup makes a difference. I can't find out whether it contains enough different sugars to make a difference, but it's sure a tasty substitute for corn syrup in pecan pie.

ps. You mentioned 'the pre-corn syrup days'. You might be interested in this 1913 New York Times article I wandered across on whether corn syrup could be labelled as such. I hadn't realized corn syrup was around that long!

Edited by Nathan Kurz (log)
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AnnieC, you might try Agave Syrup...it's a little more spendy than corn syrup, but has a nice flavor, somewhere between honey and corn syrup. if you're using it as a crystallization inhibitor, I think it will work just fine, but I haven't tried swapping it out for candy making so don't know how it would behave at high temperatures. Incidentally, I just made a pumpkin pie yesterday with agave instead of cane sugar and it turned out fantastic.

I've been considering switching away from corn syrup because there doesn't seem to be a good supplier of just regular old corn syrup...they all seem to be high fructose corn syrup.

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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subs for corn syrup

Doing other research, I came across a list of other corn syrup substitutes. It's a list of non-genetically-modified syrups, which considering that corn is the main GMO used for syrups, essentially means corn syrup substitutes:

http://www.non-gmoreport.com/high_fructose_corn_syrup.php

Several of the options listed are available here:

http://www.barryfarm.com/sugars.htm

I'm planning to try the white rice syrup and tapioca syrups to see if they work for me.

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ps.  You mentioned 'the pre-corn syrup days'.  You might be interested in this 1913 New York Times article I wandered across on whether corn syrup could be labelled as such.  I hadn't realized corn syrup was around that long!

It was around way back then, but didn't come into wide scale use really until WWII, with the sugar rationing. Even then, it was recommended as a sub for sugar, along with honey. CS really didn't become a major part of recipes on its own until the 1950's, from what I can tell. Mamie's Eisenhower's "Million Dollar Fudge" is a perfect example from that era, and a sign of the end of real fudge, in my mind. And its not just the corn syrup, but all the corn derivatives that are used in so much of our foods today that make things so difficult for me- the list of names for corn is mile long.

I did finally get the pumpkin marshmallows to turn out, with using a homemade invert sugar technique. I also picked up Lyle's cane syrup, Agave syrup (both light & dark), sorghum syrup, and a couple bags of cane sugar....some people collect wines, I collect sugar syrups-lol. I really want to try some of the tapioca syrup- hopefully one of the health food stores around here will have it so I don't have to pay shipping. I also picked up a used desserts/sweets cookbook from Australia from the late 70's/early 80's that uses no refined sugars. It even has a recipe for making a grain syrup, which uses a small amount of sprouted wheat. I'll probably give it a try at some point, not so much for making marshmallows, fudge & such, but for regular baking it might be a nice alternative for me.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm trying to get away from using Karo and other light corn syrups, because I don't like that they contain high-fructose corn syrup. But given the consistency differences between light corn syrup and glucose syrup, I'm not sure that substituting gram for gram would give me the same result in my recipes (I'm mostly thinking about caramel recipes).

Any tips for me to keep in mind before I just jump in and try it?

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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I'm trying to get away from using Karo and other light corn syrups, because I don't like that they contain high-fructose corn syrup. But given the consistency differences between light corn syrup and glucose syrup, I'm not sure that substituting gram for gram would give me the same result in my recipes (I'm mostly thinking about caramel recipes).

Any tips for me to keep in mind before I just jump in and try it?

The water has to boil off in a caramel for it to reach temperature, there is less water in glucose proper - but I still just substitute 1 for 1.

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I am not a pro, so bear with me. In Denmark, HFCS is not readily available, so I happily substitute light beet syrup, which is the available syrup, with no ill effects. Or honey, which add a pleasant flavour :smile:

Just out of curiosity - why do you want to avoid HFCS?

Edited by Mette (log)
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I am not a pro, so bear with me. In Denmark, HFCS is not readily available, so I happily substitute light beet syrup, which is the available syrup, with no ill effects. Or honey, which add a pleasant flavour  :smile:

Just out of curiosity - why do you want to avoid HFCS?

I try to keep my products as natural as I can, using organic fruit purees and local dairy cream, etc. HFCS is an incredibly processed product, and one that (deservedly or not) has a bad wrap among people who pay attention to what they are eating. So the biggest reason is that I want to respond to those concerns, and not have to list it amidst all the "wholesome and pure" ingredients on my labels! :cool:

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Thanks, Kerry and Vanessa. I'll try a straight one to one substitution next time and see how it goes!

A little late, but yes, glucose can be used 1:1. Early on, I discovered that there are differences among glucose manufacturers. I, too, wanted to avoid products derived from corn. I got a pail of glucose that was wheat based and it was terrible; the flavor cast was anything but neutral. I wish that I could remember the name but it was a long time ago. The one I use now doesn't say what is the source of the glucose, so it may/may not be from corn. Glucose manufactured in the US is almost always made from cornstarch.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Thanks, Kerry and Vanessa. I'll try a straight one to one substitution next time and see how it goes!

A little late, but yes, glucose can be used 1:1. Early on, I discovered that there are differences among glucose manufacturers. I, too, wanted to avoid products derived from corn. I got a pail of glucose that was wheat based and it was terrible; the flavor cast was anything but neutral. I wish that I could remember the name but it was a long time ago. The one I use now doesn't say what is the source of the glucose, so it may/may not be from corn. Glucose manufactured in the US is almost always made from cornstarch.

Thanks, John!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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