Science! Draft experiment plan for simple syrup production

December 19th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Does heat change the flavor of a simple syrup? Or, is there a difference or preference between cold-process and hot-process simple syrup?

I’d expect heat to alter the flavor of complex ingredients like fruit juice (another experiment perhaps). That is, I would not make grenadine by heating my pomegranate juice, I add simple to concentrated juice (which hopefully was concentrated through evaporation). But does heat significantly change the flavor of the base syrup? It is my hypothesis that the method has no significance to the flavor of the product. Below is the draft of my experiment plan. Please comment and criticize. My goal is to produce an experiment that my be reproduced for any peer analysis that others may wish to take part in.

Experiment setup:

Cold process: 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water are added to a mason jar. Lid is applied and mason jar is occasionally agitated until sugar completely dissolves. If any solids are left after 24 hours, they are filtered out, dried and measured. Volume is measured.

Hot process: 2 cups of sugar (minus mass equal to any undissolved solute of cold process) and 1 cup of water is added to saucepan. Mixture is brought to gentle boil and removed from heat. Mixture is cooled to room temperature and volume is measured. Enough water is added to equal volume of Cold process (to replace water lost through boiling).

Person alpha transfers mixtures into jars, marks them with ‘A’ and ‘B’ and places into refrigerator. Only person alpha knows the identities of ‘A’ and ‘B’.

Experiment Execution:

Person beta removes mixtures from refrigerator after 24 hours and secretly dispences into shot glasses/cups labeled 1,2,3 and 4. 2 cups will contain mixture ‘A’ and 2 will contain mixture “B.” Only person beta knows which mixture is in each numbered cup/glass. This is done for as many test subjects that will be taking part.

Test subjects record experiences and try to match sets (i.e. 1&3, 2&4 — I preferred 1&3, the mouth feel was better).

Test recordings are collected by person beta and correlated to ‘A’ and ‘B’. Person alpha reveals identities of cold and heat-processed syrups.

5 Responses to “Science! Draft experiment plan for simple syrup production”

  1. Heather says:

    I have this gut feeling that the cooked will be darker, but maybe I’m crazy. In any case, person alpha ought to check for color matching, a little yellow food coloring should be able to match.

    I would suggest they both get dyed the same color (blue, green) but I have a feeling that a distinct color will color taste perception. Ha!

  2. Craig Hermann says:

    If they are different in color, another solution would be to blindfold the test subject.

  3. Brian says:

    hey guys! :)

    I think this looks like a good experiment – I have a gut feeling the cooked version may have a very faint caramely flavor despite how little heat is used on it.

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  5. [...] Simple Syrup Science has completed. The results are in! Noel was kind enough to be the last test subject for this round. [...]

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