Caramelization or caramelisation [See spelling differences.] is the
oxidationof sugar, a process used extensively in cooking for the resulting nutty flavor and brown color.
Maillard reaction, caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning. However, unlike the Maillard reaction, caramelization is pyrolysis, as opposed to reaction with amino acids.
As the process occurs, chemicals are released, producing the characteristic
caramelflavor. If a sucrose solution is left in a sand bathover night, the sucrose(once the water has evaporated) will caramelize.
When caramelization involves
sucrose, it adds one water molecule to sucrose to split it apart to form fructoseand glucose, increasing the mass of the sugar (caramel).
Caramelization is a complex, poorly understood process that produces hundreds of chemicals. Here is an overview:
# equilibration of
anomericand ring forms
sucrose inversionto fructose and glucose
# intramolecular bonding
isomerizationof aldoses to ketoses
# fragmentation reactions
* [http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/nfm236/sugar/index.cfm Sugar in food management]
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