Invert Sugar: Uses and Recipes
Invert sugar, also known in the cooking world as trimoline, is a liquid form of sugar that is highly preferred by commercial food producers because this type of sugar resists the crystallization process and it also helps to keep food and candy moist. You see, sugar, also known as sucrose, is made up of two major parts: glucose and fructose. Inverted sugar is created by introducing an acidic element that breaks the sucrose back down into glucose and fructose. As a result, the physical texture of the sugar is much finer as the crystals are smaller—which allows for smoother cakes, brioche, jellies, fondant, fudge, ganache, taffy, and many other candies with fewer incidents of crystallization. Invert sugar isn’t just handy for large food production companies—it can also be a useful ingredient to keep in the kitchen of anyone who loves to bake or create candy.
The Process of Inverting Sugar
The general idea behind sugar inversion is to break it down into its two baser elements, which we mentioned above as being glucose and fructose. There are different percentages at which you can reduce sucrose, all of which can yield different consistencies and sweetness. As a general rule, however, invert sugar is sweeter and seemingly more concentrated than regular sucrose. And although it is classed as a liquid, you will find that the resulting consistency after the sugar has been inverted is more of a thick syrup, similar to molasses or corn syrup.
In order to invert sugar, there are three additional components that you must have: an acidic property, heat, and water. When making this concoction yourself, you simply pour granulated sugar, water, and an acidic element into a pan and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. It’s best to use a non-reactive pot and to stir the mixture often as it heats up and begins to boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and use a candy thermometer to better track the temperature. Some might argue that the mixture should be boiled constantly at a medium temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes. –You might try both methods to see which method seems to work the best for you.
Do not stir the contents of the pot at this time; however it is a good idea to use a pastry brush dipped in a bit of water to wipe clean the sides of the pot which will probably be speckled with crystallized sugar. If the crystallized sugar on the sides is reintroduced to the rest of the mixture after it has cooled it could cause the mixture to re-crystallize. Once the sugar mixture reaches 236 degrees Fahrenheit the pan should be removed from the burner and covered with a well-fitting lid. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then you can transfer it to a storage container and place it into the refrigerator. Stainless steel equipment is the best for this type of project but definitely do not use wooden utensils.
Recipes for Homemade Invert Sugar
If you’re looking to make your own inverted sugar then definitely consider the recipes below. Inverted sugar is an excellent replacement for corn syrup and can be made using varying sweetness strengths. The recipes below offer different approaches to making inverted sugar.
4 cups and 6 tbsp of granulated sugar
2 cups of water
Quarter tsp of cream of tartar
This recipe yields just over two pounds of invert sugar.
2 cups of water
5 and one-third cups of granulated sugar
1tsp of citric acid
Just a pinch of salt
This recipe yields about a quart of inverted sugar.
4 cups of sugar
1 and a half cups of water
Quarter tsp of citric acid or lemon juice
32 ounces of water
16 ounces of granulated sugar
.7 ounces of lemon juice, citric acid, or cream of tartar
How Long Does Inverted Sugar Stay Useable?
Inverted sugar is quite thick in consistency and it has a fairly low amount of water. If the sugar is stored in a container such as a syrup bottle or a canning jar, you could expect it to have a shelf life for at least six months. Bear in mind that inverted sugar should be kept in the refrigerator and should remain sealed when it is not in use.
Inverted sugar has a very similar consistency to honey and reacts in the same way as honey when it has been allowed to chill for a long time. In most cases, especially when the sugar is not used on a regular basis, the syrup may begin to harden and show signs of mild crystallization. Scoop out the necessary amount into a microwave-safe dish and microwave the syrup for about 15 second, or until the mixture is warm enough that you can stir it. This should solve any issues of crystallization or hardness. If you don’t have a microwave you could use a stove top pot or pan to gently heat up the sugar syrup but be careful not to overheat it. To avoid having to clean a pot every time you use the syrup you could always place the storage jar into a bowl of hot water and allow it to warm up this way.