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Sugar syrup in bread

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've used sugar syrup in my bread dough twice, and each time the bread rose like a hot air balloon. I'm a competent breadmaker at this point (after many so-so loaves) and both my plain bread (just flour. salt, yeast, and water) and my fancier breads (milk, eggs, butter, or oil added) rise well, have a tender crumb, etc. But they simply do not rise as high as the sugar syrup loaves did.

Both loaves were "what the heck" experiments. The first used some left-over chocolate sludge on the bottom of a pot of hot chocolate. Why NOT make chocolate bread? The second time I used sugar syrup, I did so because I was out of honey. Um, use the leftover orange syrup from another dessert -- why NOT?

My guess is that, IF sugar syrup does make the bread rise higher and more quickly, it's because the dissolved sugar is more immediately available to the yeast. Or perhaps I just used too much sugar? Though I should think that substituting 3 tablespoons of orange syrup for 3 tablespoons of honey shouldn't make the bread shoot for the roof.

I googled for answers, then asked at The Fresh Loaf bread forum. No one replied. Do the professionals here have any thoughts on the matter?

If no one knows, perhaps I'll just have to continue my mad scientist experiments until I get a definitive answer. Is there a peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Baking?
post #2 of 6
couple questions>
was there any acid in the sugar syrup?
was the syrup warm?
what else did you do differently?
what were your fromulas?

yeast loves a little vit c.
yeast loves the warm syrup.
yeast loves broken down sugar chains.
(makes 'em burp better :)
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
The chocolate bread was a riff on my basic recipe, taken from Lloyd M, the amateur baker who runs The Fresh Loaf website.

Poolish: 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon yeast.
Let it sit overnight. Next morning, add 1 cup water, 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon yeast, 2 teaspoons salt. Knead, rise, fold, rise, fold, rise, shape, rise, slash, bake with steam for 5 minutes at 500 degrees, 15 at 450 degrees. I usually make two boules with that recipe.

I should weigh, I know, but I'm broke and don't have a scale. So I just add flour or liquid until I get the right consistency.

As I remember, I let a mixture of hot chocolate sludge and one egg replace the 1 cup of liquid in the second-day ingredients. I used a mixture of Harvest King white and King Arthur white whole wheat. So, in that case, there was no Vit C, no acid, and the sludge was cold. Yet it still ballooned.

The bread with the sugar syrup was an attempt to make a yeasted cornbread per a recipe from 101 cookbooks.

4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grained sea salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (~105 degrees)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of fresh or frozen corn, if frozen defrosted to room temp
2/3 cup chopped chives

No poolish, just mix, knead, rise, folkd, rise, shape, rise, bake. I ended up making 4 smallish boules. The recipe did NOT work as promised (perhaps because I made so many replacements) and I had to add another 1/4 cup of water to get it to knead properly in my Kitchenaid.

I didn't have corn, so I used chopped olives. Left out the chives. One of my oh-what-the-heck moments. They weren't GOOD olives; I think they added more texture than flavor. Still, it was darn good bread. I want to try this one again, but using the same procedure (poolish, etc.) as my basic recipe. The combination of the cornmeal and egg made for a very interesting texture.

I replaced the honey with orange syrup. That definitely had Vit C, because i had made the syrup myself, with water, white sugar, and freshly-squeezed orange juice. The syrup was at room temp.

Broken down sugar chains. That was my guess.

I'll have to make some more orange syrup and see what it can do for my breads. Thanks for the comments.
post #4 of 6
Yeast eat sugar. The yeast used in baking can directly digest glucose and maltose. Anything else requires an enzyme, and more time.
post #5 of 6

acid in your cocoa

was there acid in your cocoa?

there are plenty of enzymes to break down the starches in the yeast, flour and perhaps added by the flour co. pre conditioners if you will.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

No acid in the cocoa

The cocoa shouldn't have been acidic. I used Hershey's Special Dark, which is dutch-process.

It would be hard to duplicate the chocolate bread.

A couple of days previous, I had mixed the cocoa and sugar, added a little water, made a chocolate syrup, added the milk, and made hot chocolate. I had made too much syrup; a lot of it settled out of the hot chocolate and ended up as sludge on the bottom of the pot. I saved the sludge and kept it in the refrigerator for a few days before it tempted me to add it to the bread.

I'm not sure I'd want to duplicate the bread because, even though it rose like a rocket, the main effect of the chocolate sludge was to turn it dark. It was surprisingly lacking in chocolate flavor. I would have gotten more flavor by throwing chocolate chips into the bread dough.

The corn bread, however ... that bears investigation. In fact, I made a poolish last night and I'm about to make orange syrup and then mix the bread dough. I will report back.
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