Editor: King of the End
I’m back in the kitchen hall of Duchess Renalier’s estate. It’s also a private hall. Even if only temporarily, serving as the head chef means getting this kind of special treatment. Besides me, there are also my assistants, the cute girl with fox ears Tina and the beautiful elf Chloe. Tina can operate the heating to a delicate level, while the water that Chloe produces is suitable for cooking.
Today, my purpose to come into this kitchen hall is to make white sugar.
I won’t start processing it from Sugar Cane, obviously. By refining the brown sugar in our hands, it will turn out as white sugar.
“Then, Tina, Chloe, let’s begin. Let’s turn that dark brown sugar into white.”
“White colored sugar, is it? So that kind of thing exists too.”
Tina asks with deep interest.
“Yes, when the sugar’s color is dark, there are hardened crystals of molasses mixed in it. If we take out the black molasses, it will turn white.”
Yes, this thing called brown sugar here is actually a stable product after processing the juice of sugar cane by boiling and letting it cool down. White sugar is something left behind after taking out the black molasses and leaving out the sucrose.
“Does the different names between the brown and white sugar mean different things too?”
“They’re entirely different. Brown sugar’s taste is muddled with a bitter and harsh flavor to some extent. But white sugar, it smoothly elevates the sweetness.”
“Then why does everyone only make brown sugar?”
“Because to make the other one takes too much time to separate the black treacle, and then it will reduce the amount. It’s only about the muddled taste too, because actually, unrefined brown sugar is packed with nutrition. If I don’t consider the nobles’ palate, I won’t deliberately make some white sugar in the first place.”
Yes, and to make it worse, sugar is really valuable. Sugar cane will only grow in a warm climate, it can’t be grown in our continent at all. That’s why, we can only import them from the continent across the ocean by ship. That’s the reason for their high prices. And that high priced sugar is deliberately being halved through a refinement process? No one would do that.
“Since it’ll use the white sugar that valuable, it will become a very luxurious pastry, won’t it?”
Tina’s words are justifiable.
“Honey itself is a product of our fief, so I’m hesitating to actually stock sugar. Besides, the other main ingredient, the cacao, is very expensive. It’s a pastry that I cannot serve if we’re not in these kind of circumstances. We should fully enjoy this opportunity to our heart’s content.”
I grinned while gradually pouring lukewarm water onto the brown sugar. When I do so, it melts into something that looks like clay. I pour that into a stone tub that I made, which has been covered with a cotton cloth.
And then, I tuck the clay-like brown sugar liquid in the cotton fabric’s wrap before sealing the tub with a stone lid. I carefully tilt the stone tub, as I have punched some fine holes on the bottom right part of the tub to remove the water. That stone tub was made from my Earth Magic Arte. I hope it’ll turn out good.
“Now, let’s knead out the molasses.”
I strengthen my whole body with mana. Originally, I was going to make a tool that had its own dedicated lever’s power, but this time, I’m going with manual labor. I press down the stone lid with my maximum strength. When I do so, black molasses start to flow out of the clay-like brown sugar inside the cotton fabric wrap, then run to the bottom part of the stone tub.
By doing this, I’m separating the molasses from the brown sugar. This is a taxing manual labor. My arms are tired. I cast [Recovery] to my tired arms and continue the work.
After taking out all the molasses at once, I opened the stone lid and took out the brown sugar inside the cotton wrap. That once dark brown has shed that murky color and became whiter.
“Uwaa, Kurt-sama, it really turned white.”
“It’s not nearly enough yet, we have just started.”
In that state, I continue to press down until there’s no longer any molasses that can get kneaded out. That’s why, I use this process called kneading. Adding water by hand, the clay becomes refined into whitish clumps.
Upon reaching that step, I still add more water, enabling me to extract even more molasses. Essentially, the water content, the temperature, the humidity level, and the refining time. Any of those needs artful skills. However, thanks to my Cooking Ability, I can act on my intuition, to some extent.
After I feel that it’s good enough, I add water to make it clay-like again, put it into a cotton wrap inside the stone tub again, press down the stone lid with my full strength again, and extract more molasses out.
“Kurt, can you keep going?”
This time, Chloe the elf is the one asking worriedly. The water that I used this time is produced by her Magic Arte. That’s why it’s been going well so far.
“I think it’s going to turn out well. If I keep extracting, it’ll gradually become closer to white.”
My breaths are ragged. I’m surprised that I still get this tired even after strengthening my body with mana. If possible, this kind of manual labor isn’t something that I ever want to do again.
This sugar refining technique is the method to make wasanbon (fine-grained Japanese sugar) that Japan boasts about. I remember that, once, in order to adopt Japanese essence into Western pastry, I observed and studied the making process of wasanbon, the highest grade of sugar in Japan on-site as a part of my research. It never occurred to me that the experience would become useful in this kind of place.
“Kurt-sama, how many times do you have to repeat this kneading step?”
“At the very least, five times.”
“White sugar is highly troublesome, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but it’s worth all the manual labor. It’s a pastry chef‘s lifeline.”
The strong and peculiar taste of unrefined brown sugar isn’t bad, actually, but as I thought, the easy to use white sugar with its delicate sweetness is better.
This time, since we have enough budget to buy as much brown sugar as I please, I ended up buying it in large amounts. I intended to bring back home the remaining portions that I don’t end up using in this occasion, as much as possible. It’s necessary to pursue the special pastries that I aim for. I want to put them somewhere reachable…… It should be all fine and dandy to procure this much of a side benefit.
“Let’s keep this up until we get the pure white color.”
Like that, I continue making the white sugar with all my might.
I repeat the kneading process for five times. Finally, the sugar is completed. It’s a thoroughly pure white-colored sugar. This is what I aimed for. After wringing out the water content, it becomes solidified white clumps. Originally, it has to be aired out to completely remove the water content, but with Chloe’s Water Magic Arte, the water content can be isolated and removed in a second. I smash the stiff clumps before putting them through the sieve. It’s a very taxing labor, but this feeling of accomplishment is so good.
“Kurt-sama, it truly became white.”
“Shocking, right? The mass is cut down by more than a half, though.”
Being immensely curious about the pure white sugar, Tina and Chloe can’t stop themselves from staring at it.
“The value is definitely worth all the labor, you know? Tina, Chloe, try and taste the difference to some brown sugar.”
I plop a clump of brown sugar into their mouths.
“It’s sweet and tasty.”
“I never knew about sugar before, but the brown one is tasty enough for me.”
The both of them are already in glee from the brown sugar. It’s natural to be happy from it because brown sugar is already an expensive ingredient that is sweet enough to fill their cravings. However, if they’re already astonished by the brown sugar, I wonder how shocked they’re going to be after the white sugar next?
“Now, this is the white sugar.”
I plopped the white sugar clumps into their mouth just like before. Their eyes went wide.
“The sugar before is tasty, but this, this is so smooth, and velvety when it melts, so wonderful.”
“Un, compared to this, the brown one is too sticky and tastes sort of weird. I like this one better.”
Correct. That’s why people refine sugar despite the labor and the reduced amount.
It’s almost foul play to serve a pastry made with white sugar in a world that only knows brown sugar, really. And as if that’s not enough, there will be chocolate too. Using those two bombs, and with my best techniques. The pastry that I’m going to make will become the most wonderful pastry that no one has ever seen before. I should be able to easily get the full clear on this mission to fulfill Duchess Renalier’s conditions.
I could make my number one worry on the list, the white sugar. Now, let’s build up the rest of the menu upon that.
- Watch how wasanbon is made. (It’s an accidental ASMR— very heavenly to watch and listen from 0:00 to 4:21, after that the video’s sound is weird.
- Organic brown sugar from Agusthia Organic
- How to make sugar infographic from Imperial Sugar
I wonder if you can buy me some cookies? ????? https://ko-fi.com/isecai
It’s tricky to translate the terms in this chapter due to the color codes. When we say brown sugar, the Japan called it black and in the narration Kurt keeps saying black this and black that.
I’m a bit touched by wasanbon. There’s something very human-touch-ish about that ingredient that makes me feel moved.
This is a useful infographic about sugar I guess.