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Natural stevia sweeteners are used as sugar substitutes in many food products. The preference for stevia over regular cane sugar is due to the fact that stevia does not heap on the calories and neither does it cause a rise in the blood sugar levels; stevia food products are therefore particularly recommended for people with diabetes. Baking with stevia is easy and convenient as stevia does not ferment and remains stable at a high temperature. Artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, generally disintegrate when heated. Stevia, which is several hundred times sweeter than natural sugar, does not change its flavor with increased temperatures; its stability is guaranteed up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius).
When baking with stevia, it is necessary to know that stevia does not work well in baking processes that involve yeast. In breads made with yeast, rising of the bread is assisted by the interaction of the yeast with the natural sugar. This does not happen in the case of the stevia and yeast interaction, so, when baking, it may be necessary to add a certain amount of sugar to the mix to get the bread to rise.
Stevia comes in both concentrated liquid form as well as powdered form, but many chefs prefer to use the liquid form when baking with stevia; it is easier to measure the correct amount of liquid than the powder. Since stevia is so much sweeter than sugar, it is necessary to use a conversion chart to know exactly how much stevia can be used without overdoing the flavor. Generally, a teaspoon of powdered stevia and a teaspoon of liquid stevia are each equal to a cupful of sugar. Baking with stevia does not give the product the bulk it would get from sugar, so it will help to make up by adding fruit juices, fruit purees, fruit sauces, curds, egg whites, and so on to the mix.
It should be noted that stevia had a flavor that is distinctly different from natural cane sugar. This fact is important when baking with stevia as the flavor, in some instances, can overpower the flavors of other ingredients. While this is not much of an issue with strong flavored foods, it can disturb the whole character of a more nuanced dish. It may help to downplay the use of the sweetener in baked items with delicate flavors.
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