Making Corn Syrups

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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To make corn syrups, manufacturers extract starch granules from the kernels of common dent corn, and then treat them with acid and/or with microbial or malt enzymes to develop a sweet syrup that is then clarified, decolorized, and evaporated to the desired concentration. Nowadays, enzymes from the easily cultured molds Aspergillus oryzae (also used in Japan to break rice starch down into fermentable sugars for sake) and A. niger are used almost exclusively. In Europe, potato and wheat starch are the main sources for making what is called “glucose” or “glucose syrup,” which is essentially the same as American corn syrup.