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Caramel Troubleshooting


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#121 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 01:48 PM

Welcome Mark.

Sounds like something happened to encourage cryatallization. There are a couple of spots where this can happen. Initially you need to make sure all crystals are melted, and you aren't reintroducing them on spoon. Crystals take time to grow, especially when you have added stuff to prevent them, so having them show up a day later is not unusual. What do you mean by moulding them?

What sort of doctor are you using in your caramel to inhibit crystallization (ie corn syrup, some sort of acid such as cream of tartar)? Would you be able to give us your recipe?

I find that the recipe I use for chewy caramel poured out into a frame or confectionary rulers on parchment doesn't give me any problem with sticking.

#122 sugarseattle

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:00 PM

I've been making caramel for 4 years, and still seem to have the occasional problem with crystallization occurring a day after making the caramel, so as a precaution, I always let the caramel rest for a day or so just to be sure it's ok before remelting it and using it.

Using a small squeeze of corn syrup helps, as well as being extremely careful that all crystals are melted before the syrup comes to a boil. It just takes practice. I still am very cautious and only make small batches to minimize waste.

PS. crystallized caramel can still be used to bake with, say for example in some brownies or to make a caramel apple cake java script:emoticon(':biggrin:')
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#123 markg109

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:02 PM

Thanks Kerry,

Im using corn syrup tp prevent crstallization, washing down the sides of the pan. The recipe is as follows:
16 oz sugar
8 oz water
1 oz corn syrup
cook untill 254 F add
8 oz whipping cream
4 oz butter

cook untill 240 for soft 255 for chewy.

By molding them I mean I heat them slightly in the microwave to improve there viscocity and pipe them into molds.

thanks for the prompt reply.

mark

#124 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:52 PM

Thanks Kerry,

Im using corn syrup tp prevent crstallization, washing down the sides of the pan. The recipe is as follows:
                                  16 oz sugar
                                  8 oz water
                                  1 oz corn syrup
cook untill 254 F add
                                  8 oz whipping cream
                                  4 oz butter

cook untill 240 for soft 255 for chewy.

By molding them I mean I heat them slightly in the microwave to improve there viscocity and pipe them into molds.

thanks for the prompt reply.

mark

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Mark,

That seems like a very small proportion of corn syrup. The recipe that I use uses almost as much glucose as sucrose.

Have a look at the recipe here in the confectionary course.

I suspect part of the problem may simply be that there isn't enough doctor to prevent the crystallization. Sounds like you are doing everything else to prevent the crytallization. So I might just fiddle with your recipe and increase the corn syrup.

#125 John DePaula

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 03:43 PM

I agree with Kerry: that sounds like a pretty small amount of corn syrup. Recchiuti's Salted Caramel uses a 10:1 ratio sugar:corn syrup.

Also, it just occurred to me to ask how you're getting the hot caramel from pot to slab. I assume you're just pouring it out onto the slab but do you also try to scrape the pot? If so, you will cause the mixture to develop crystals.

When i'm making caramel, I like to pour it between caramel rulers sitting on top of a silpat silicone mat. Note: never cut anything that's on a silicone mat.
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When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

#126 mrose

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 06:30 PM

If you are just using the caramel to fill molds, you can cook it to ~230. This is what I do for filling molds & store it in a jar. It pipes very well & firms up great in molded chocolates.

Mark
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#127 markg109

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 09:33 AM

Thanks Everone,

I will definetly try adding more corn syrup. It's confusing though, I know in Sherry Yard's book she calls for 2Tbl spoons per 1c of sugar in her master caramel recipe. Also I'm taking a course online which calls for 4oz of glucose powder per 8oz of sugar and they say to substitute corn syrup for glucose powder at a 10% ratio. For example instead of 4oz of glucose powder they say to use .4 oz of corn syrup.

I agree this seems to be a small amount. I'm also pretty careful not to scrape anything from the pot. I will have to try the silpat though to try to prevent the sticking problem.


Thanks,
Mark

#128 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:21 PM

Thanks Everone,

I will definetly try adding more corn syrup. It's confusing though, I know in Sherry Yard's book she calls for 2Tbl spoons per 1c of sugar in her master caramel recipe.  Also I'm taking a course online which calls for 4oz of glucose powder per 8oz of sugar and they say to substitute corn syrup for glucose powder at a 10% ratio. For example instead of 4oz of glucose powder they say to use .4 oz of corn syrup.

I agree this seems to be a small amount. I'm also pretty careful not to scrape anything from the pot. I will have to try the silpat though to try to prevent the sticking problem.


Thanks,
Mark

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Sherry Yard's master caramel recipe - is it for chewy caramel? or is it for caramel sauces etc, ie more for caramel flavouring?

Silpat is great with anything that sticks, but as noted - don't cut on it!

#129 alanamoana

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:52 PM

also, the fact that you're reheating your caramel in order to pipe it might cause problems with crystallization.

can't it?

edited to add: following mrose's advice regarding cooking to a lower temp would solve this issue

Edited by alanamoana, 03 March 2007 - 12:53 PM.


#130 Desiderio

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:44 PM

COuld it be that the recipe has too much water compare glucose?
I have notice that caramel that uses water have more the tendecy to crystallies etc.Maybe too much water and not enough glucose.I would reduce the water to the same amount of the glucose or bring them both to the same quantity ,something like that. :raz:
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#131 markg109

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 08:38 AM

Thnaks All,

Just to let you know,I added more glucose and the caramel came out fine.

Mark

#132 John DePaula

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 08:44 AM

Thnaks All,

Just to let you know,I added more glucose and the caramel came out fine.

Mark

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Thanks for the update, Mark. Good to get feedback.
John DePaula
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When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

#133 Anna Skigin

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:03 AM

I tried to make caramelized nuts. Everything went OK but in about an hour my caramel got sticky at room temperature. Nuts were warm and dry.
I have some leftovers of these caramel and now it got so soft that I can't even lift it from the baking sheet. :sad:
Is it the quality of the sugar? Or air humidity?

#134 nduran

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:14 AM

Caramel is supposed to be sticky, so I'm a little confused. Are you talking about a praline? If so, what was your recipe, how were they stored, and do you live in Houston?

#135 alanamoana

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:25 AM

I tried to make caramelized nuts. Everything went OK but in about an hour my caramel got sticky at room temperature. Nuts were warm and dry.
I have some leftovers of these caramel and now it got so soft that I can't even lift it from the baking sheet.  :sad:
Is it the quality of the sugar? Or air humidity?

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it is very likely humidity. if you can, work in air conditioning and as soon as the nuts are cool enough put them into an airtight container...preferably with dessicant (drying agent) of some sort.

#136 Anna Skigin

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 10:27 AM

nduran, Actually I made that cake. Do you see now what I mean ?
And no, I don't live in Huston, I live in Israel.

alanamoana, thanks for your advise. :smile:

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#137 nduran

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 11:42 AM

nduran, Actually I made that cake. Do you see now what I mean ?


I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be familiar with "that cake" exactly, but if you're attempting to produce a sparse brittle as depicted in "that photo" then yes, moisture is definitely going to be a problem for you. Not sure I'd want a mouthful of gum-slicing, tooth-cracking shrapnel in a cake anyway, so it may actually be beneficial to soften it up a bit.

#138 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 09:43 PM

nduran, Actually I made that cake. Do you see now what I mean ?


I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be familiar with "that cake" exactly, but if you're attempting to produce a sparse brittle as depicted in "that photo" then yes, moisture is definitely going to be a problem for you. Not sure I'd want a mouthful of gum-slicing, tooth-cracking shrapnel in a cake anyway, so it may actually be beneficial to soften it up a bit.

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No, no, when it softens up a bit you can't get your teeth apart. :blink: I made caramelized pecans with the expectation that they would crunch when you bit them. A few of them did but the rest would have taken out your fillings. They looked pretty but that's about it.
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#139 Anna Skigin

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 01:38 AM

nduran, Actually I made that cake. Do you see now what I mean ?


I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be familiar with "that cake" exactly, but if you're attempting to produce a sparse brittle as depicted in "that photo" then yes, moisture is definitely going to be a problem for you. Not sure I'd want a mouthful of gum-slicing, tooth-cracking shrapnel in a cake anyway, so it may actually be beneficial to soften it up a bit.

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Your post sounds as if I offended you. I'm so sorry. But the problem is that English is not my native language and I didn't practice for a long time. Please excuse me. I posted the picture just to show the nuts in order to explane what I tried to make. I'm really sorry if I didn't sound polite.
What I wanted in that cake are nuts in caramel. Before you eat the cake you take a piece of crunchy caramel and after that there's soft muss. I thought the contrast would be interesting.

#140 prasantrin

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 04:31 AM

Your post sounds as if I offended you. I'm so sorry. But the problem is that English is not my native language and I didn't practice for a long time. Please excuse me. I posted the picture just to show the nuts in order to explane what I tried to make. I'm really sorry if I didn't sound polite.


Don't worry, Anna. I thought it was pretty clear that English wasn't your native language, and I'm sure most people didn't think your reply was offensive.

What I wanted in that cake are nuts in  caramel. Before you eat the cake you take a piece of crunchy caramel and  after that there's soft muss. I thought the contrast would be interesting.

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It is not only interesting, but delicious! I love cake topped with caramel! One of my favourite cakes is Dobosh Torte with crunchy caramelized sugar on top. Unfortunately, if you live in a humid area, there's no way you can prevent the caramel from softening unless you eat it within a very short period of time. So if you want to make a cake like that again, finish making it within 20 minutes or so before you eat it. You might be able to make it earlier than that, but really no more than a couple of hours.

Your cake looks beautiful, by the way. I'd certainly eat it, even with "gum-slicing, tooth-cracking shrapnel" on it!

#141 Anna Skigin

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 08:09 AM

Thanks, Rona, you're very supportive. :) And helpful. I had to give up making merengue because of humidity and now I see that caramel is also out of my list . At least while we live here.

#142 Desiderio

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 08:35 AM

I am wondering if making a dry caramel ,would help with humidity issues.Probably not much ,but I was thinking that might be something you can use to keep the caramel from sticking.
Vanessa

#143 Anna Skigin

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 08:43 AM

Vanessa, I don't know what a dry caramel is. :(

Edited by Anna Skigin, 18 June 2007 - 08:44 AM.


#144 miladyinsanity

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 09:10 AM

A dry caramel is one made without any sugar added. So you just dump the sugar in the pot and heat.
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#145 nduran

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 09:31 AM

No, no, when it softens up a bit you can't get your teeth apart. :blink:  I made caramelized pecans with the expectation that they would crunch when you bit them. A few of them did but the rest would have taken out your fillings. They looked pretty but that's about it.

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True. That cake'd be dangerous any way you slice it. I believe it was Apu who said "A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir."

#146 gfron1

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 10:54 AM

Anna,

I also wanted to congratulate you on a beautiful dessert. Its funny because I made a saffron mousse and wanted to decorate it with a pine nut brittle (very similarly to what you did), and had the exact same problem.
Posted Image
I wanted the texture contrast, but it ended up being painful in the mouth. I've leaned toward tuile/cookies or other items for that reason.

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#147 Anna Skigin

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 11:33 AM

Thanks everyone for your advice.

#148 alanamoana

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 11:33 AM

A dry caramel is one made without any sugar added. So you just dump the sugar in the pot and heat.

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pretty sure you meant "without any water added"... :raz:

#149 miladyinsanity

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 11:57 AM

A dry caramel is one made without any sugar added. So you just dump the sugar in the pot and heat.

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pretty sure you meant "without any water added"... :raz:

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:blush: :blush: Oops!

Gawd, I hope I didn't make a similar mistake in the chemistry exams I had today... :wacko:
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#150 aguynamedrobert

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 02:03 PM

Hello,
First off, the reason why your caramel is getting sticky is because sugar is "hygroscopic". Meaning it attracks sugar from the atmosphere around it to itself. This will happen when you have a candy that primarily sugar. Since a caramalized sugar piece is almost all sugar this is why it gets sticky quick...there is no way around it unless you use different types of sugar(which are not as good or as good for you).

I would just suggest making the caramel pieces close to when serving...Just be in the least humid place you can be and store them air tight if you ever need to store them.

Hope this helps....

Edited by aguynamedrobert, 18 June 2007 - 10:39 PM.