Brown rice syrup is a sweet syrup derived from whole grain brown rice.

Brown Rice Syrup


 What is Brown Rice Syrup?

Brown rice syrup made from brown or whole rice flour. It is considered a premium sweetener due to its brown color and distinct flavors, which comes from the bran of the rice kernel.

Unlike glucose and fructose syrups made from pure starch sources, this rice syrup is less refined and has become very popular among U.S. consumers. This is particularly important for bakers concerned with clean labels.

Function

In addition to adding sweetness, brown rice syrup gives baked goods:

  • Moist cake and bread crumb
  • Food for yeast
  • Desirable flavor
  • Crumb and crust coloring
  • Shelf‐life extension
  • Masking of beany flavors in formulations rich in soy

Composition

Similar to other syrups produced from starch hydrolysis, rice syrup contains a mix of glucose, maltose, and higher saccharides. The following table summarizes its composition:1,2

Component %
Water 18.0–20.0
Glucose 3.0–5.0*
Maltose 45.0–65.0*
Water soluble complex carbohydrates (higher saccharides)** 50.0–30.0
°Brix Min. 78

*Make up 100% of total carbohydrates
**Comprised of maltotriose and dextrins (usually less than 10 glucose units in length)

Nutrition

In the U.S., this syrup is usually found in the “healthy food” section of grocery stores. It is considered a healthier option than other sweeteners, like high DE glucose syrups, or pure forms of sucrose and fructose.

Commercial production

By definition, this ingredient is considered a low-conversion glucose product since it ranges from 26 to 70 DE (dextrose equivalent). It is made by enzymatic hydrolysis, using processes similar to those normally found in making corn or glucose syrups.2,3 It is usually sold in the U.S. with the USDA Organic certification. And since it comes from whole rice, it retains some of the vitamins and minerals from the rice caryopsis.1

The following diagram shows the production process for this ingredient:

Diagram showing the production process for brown rice syrup.

Application

Totally or partially replacing sugar with brown rice syrup is possible. However, it’s not necessarily at a 1:1 ratio. It is mostly sold as a low DE sweetener, which means it’s less sweet and has a lower amount of fermentable solids than regular sucrose and corn syrups.

Due to its water content, brown rice syrup calls for a reduction in dough water absorption when partially or totally replacing sucrose.

Brown rice syrup cannot help cream cake batters, so formulas have to be adjusted. It is also important to have in mind that brown rice syrup is less sweet than table sugar, honey, glucose and high fructose corn syrup.

The following table summarizes some features of this syrup versus other sweeteners:

Brown rice syrup 92–95 DE glucose syrup / 42 HFCS Table sugar (granulated sucrose)
Browning power Medium High High
Fermentability Low to medium High High
Humectancy Medium High
Hygroscopicity (competition for water) Medium High High
Osmotic control on fermentation Medium High High
Sweetness Low to medium High High
Viscosity (ease for handling) High Medium
Creaming power (batter cakes) Very low Very low High
Compatibility with clean label, organic/natural trends Compatible Not compatible Compatible

FDA regulation

There is no Standard of Identity set by the FDA for brown rice syrup.

References

  1. Figoni, P. “Sugar and Other Sweeteners.” How Baking Works. Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011, pp. 164–212.
  2. Wilkinson, H.C., and Champagne, E.T. “Value-Added Rice Products.” Rice Chemistry and Technology, 3rd Edition, American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc., 2004, pp. 473–480.
  3. Mathewson, P.R. “Other Applications.” Enzymes, Eagan Press Handbook Series, AACC International, Inc., 1998, pp. 73–75.