Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About
Water is probably the most overlooked ingredient in confectionery, and yet it is among the most important. Almost every confection contains water, and it serves vital functions in confectionery, including controlling texture and influencing shelf life. It also acts as a solvent to dissolve sugar and as a medium in which reactions such as Maillard browning can occur.

Controlling the amount of water in products is one of the most fundamental steps in confectionery. Water content directly affects the consistency of all finished products, from ganache to marzipan to hard candy. Along with affecting a confection’s firmness, excessive free water can also lead to spoilage. The total water content of confectionery is controlled by cooking to remove the desired quantity of water; the amount of free water is controlled by the dissolved-solids content, which binds water, preventing spoilage. (See Water Activity.)