Does More Sugar Make Lemon Sauce Runny?
By N. Shane Cutler
Project Design Plan
Cornstarch is a common thickening agent in cooking. Plant starch is made of a mixture of amylose and amylopectin. When heated in a water-based solution, the starch molecules can unwind and then form new hydrogen bonds with other starch molecules, making a network of long molecular filaments that can hold water molecules in a gel (Holmes, 2012). The Argo Cornstarch website warns that too much sugar can interfere with thickening (Argo, 2012).
There are many different ways to thicken liquids and thickening liquids has many applications. Many experiments have been done to test different thickening methods.
GVSoapCo tested 4 different substances to thicken homemade liquid hand soap: Xanthan Gum, Borax, Salt or Crothix. This experiment used the same soap recipe, substituting the different thickening agents. The experimenter then tested the thickness or runniness of the finished soap by spooning it up and drizzling it. This showed that the Crothix thickener made the thickest, smoothest soap, whereas the salt made the thinnest, runniest soap. While the spooning method was effective at showing the qualitative difference the thickening agent made, it didn’t produce quantitative measurements of the relative thickness (GVSoapCo, 2013).
Foy compared low sugar pectin with traditional pectin in making grape jelly. She reported that the traditional pectin made firmer jelly than the low sugar pectin. She determined this by qualitative observation rather than measuring the thickness. She did not test the effect of increasing the sugar in the recipe (Foy, 2013).
For this experiment, the amount of sugar in lemon sauce will be altered, making the sauce with the amount of sugar called for in the recipe, then with half as much sugar, then with twice as much sugar. The runniness of the three sauces will then be measured by allowing them to run down a tilted...