Caramel Color

Caramel Color Topping on Cake Caramel Color Topping on Cake Caramel color is brown to dark brown in appearance and used in many desserts, puddings, cakes and industrial products to make them more tasty and appealing. It is a water soluble color and made by heating the carbohydrates through the process of caramelization. Caramel color has the bit bitter taste of burnt sugar. Caramel food coloring agent is used as ingredients in many recipes.

You will find caramel coloring in almost every kind of packed and industrial food. It is also one of the oldest forms of colors used by mankind for coloring the food. Like caramel color is found in custards, cough drops, chocolates, cookies, brandy, rum, pickles, sauces and many more food items, drinks and industrial products.

Basics of Caramel Food Coloring

Color - Golden brown to dark brown
Source - Burnt sugar and other carbohydrates
Solubility - water
Stability - ¾ of the caramel contains negative charge Acts as an emulsifier
Application - baked goods, poultry, milk, canned meats, syrups and soups

Caramel Color Classification

As per the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives there are basically four classes of Caramel color. Each caramel coloring classification has its own E Number and INS number.

  • Class I is Plain Caramel Color and has e number E150a
  • Class II is Caustic Sulfite Process Caramel Color and has e number E150b
  • Class III is Ammonia Process Caramel Color and has e number E150c
  • Class IV is Sulfite Ammonia Process Caramel Color and has e number E150d

Caramel Color Preparation

Caramel color is one of the most widely used colorants in foods. It is also called the color of burnt sugar. It is made by heating food grade carbohydrates, generally a high dextrose-containing starch hydrolysate or corn syrup. Acids such as acetic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, or phosphoric acid may be used to break the bonds between sugars before the sugars are raised to a higher temperature for caramelization. Heat is carefully controlled during the process.

Caramel Color Properties

It can produce synthetic color ranging from light brown to almost black and this color strength is called its tinctorial power (the absorbency at 560 nanometers measured by spectrophotometer). The color tone, as per the hue index, measures the red characteristics of the color. The higher the strength, the lower the hue index. Some caramel colors are termed "double strength." This varies with the color range.

Caramel colour is a colloid . The specific gravity indicates the solids content and the strength of the color. Being colloid, most of the caramel color carry a positive or negative ionic charge. Negatively charged product uses sulfite in its manufacturing. The ionic charge of the caramel coloring agent determines what caramel color should be used in what product.

This allows manufacturers to use negative colloidal caramel in acidic soft drinks, and positive in beers and soy sauces. Caramel color is an emulsifying agent as well. In soft drinks, it helps keep the flavor oils suspended in the solution.

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