Carbohydrates: Caramelisation

Caramelisation causes changes to a food’s colour and flavour.  It leads to a desirable golden brown colour and attractive flavour in baked goods and drinks.

How does it occur?

  • It is the process of sugar in foods turning brown through applied heat (about 180ºC).

Why does it happen?

  • Water is released from the sugar as it is heated. The water is released as steam.

If the sugar is overheated, it will burn and produce a bitter taste.  The sugar begins to break down to pure carbon at 200ºC.  Caramelisation also occurs during the dry heating, shallow frying and roasting of meat and vegetables.

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