About two years ago Sarah, an accomplished home-baker, started reducing the amount of sugar she used in her baking. None of her children complained about the change, and her baking was as popular as ever. She also noticed that her family started commenting on the over-sweet taste of commercial products they had previously enjoyed.
Nicky, Sarah’s sister and a food technologist by training, decided to follow suit. With her “food scientist” hat on, she started testing exactly how much sugar could be removed and which other ingredients needed to be adjusted to still produce great baking.
They discovered two interesting side effects to their “reduced-sugar” baking:-
First was the flavour. With the overpowering sweetness removed, the taste of the finished product was enhanced. Flavours like chocolate, lemon and vanilla were more pronounced, and the contrast between different elements of the finished product added depth and interest.
Secondly, we noticed an increase in our sensitivity to sweetness and a reduction in our desire for very sweet products – treats we had previously enjoyed now tasted sickly-sweet. Many people who have deliberately set out to reduce the amount of salt used in their cooking will have become familiar with a similar phenomenon.