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Caramel Troubleshooting


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255 replies to this topic

#241 Darienne

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:15 AM

Yesterday's unused defrosted whipping cream has been joined by a much larger portion of whipping cream. These are the defrosted blocks of cream from the freezer. I took out one block from the frozen package to make up the needed mass of cream for the intended batch of caramel and then stupidly left the package on the counter...overnight. Oh yay! :wacko: now I have LOTS of defrosted whipping cream. And now I shall make LOTS of caramel. (Too many things on the go at once and very little brain in gear.) :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:


My question, please: what is the very best way to heat and melt the formed caramel to use it for the turtles? microwave? over hot water? oven? other?

Thanks. :smile:

Edited in the pm: The caramel turned out fine, except just a tad too hard for turtles. So, following directions from this topic, I softened it up in the microwave and blended in a bit more cream. Then a portion of the butter separated from the caramel. Hardened like ghee. Otherwise all is fine for the turtle making. Can someone please tell me why? :huh:

Edited by Darienne, 18 December 2008 - 03:08 PM.

Darienne


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#242 Desiderio

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 03:37 PM

I think the best way to softner harder caramel is to remelted ( I usually do it on low heat ) with little bit of water, no adding extra fat, I think there is a topic somewhere here about using water and no extra butter or cream. The caramel might be too saturated with fat?
Vanessa

#243 Darienne

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:38 PM

I think the best way to softner harder caramel is to remelted ( I usually do  it on low heat ) with little bit of water, no adding extra fat, I think there is a topic somewhere here about using water and no extra butter or cream. The caramel might be too saturated with fat?

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Quoting Tri2Cook:
'I know a firm caramel simply warmed to melt over water with a small amount of cream will set again when cooled and be softer. '
The quote above is just one of at least two directing the addition of a small bit of cream when softening caramel.

The last time I overcooked the caramel (I am a flatlander living now at 4500' and unused to it) I added water. OK. This time I added cream and the separating butter is what happened. BTW, the caramel is now just perfect for turtles.

When you say you heat the caramel on low heat, do you mean straight on the heat source or in a double boiler?

I think I'll stick with the water when softening from now on. Thanks. :smile:
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#244 Desiderio

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 08:42 PM

Yes in a pot straight on the fire on low heat.
Vanessa

#245 Chocolot

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 08:46 PM

Remember that you simply removed too much water when you over cooked the caramel. therefore, you only need to add water back to the batch to recook to the proper temp. By adding cream, you added extra fat and it couldn't handle it all. When you have cooked out too much water, just add water back.

Ruth Kendrick

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#246 Darienne

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 07:42 AM

Yes in a pot straight on the fire on low heat.

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Gotcha. Thanks. :smile:
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#247 Darienne

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 07:51 AM

Remember that you simply removed too much water when you over cooked the caramel.  therefore, you only need to add water back to the batch to recook to the proper temp.  By adding cream, you added extra fat and it couldn't handle it all.  When you have cooked out too much water, just add water back.

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Thanks, Ruth.

I now understand the process better. If only...if only...I had had one of those Mothers at whose knees I could have stood. :biggrin: :biggrin:

If I make a thousand mistakes and ask about each one, I will finally get it. It's been one heck of a learning process!

Cooking caramels at 4500 feet, like everything else confectionary-wise, is something to be noted. The caramels were fine as they were originally, if I were simply going to cut them and wrap them; they were too hard to go on a turtle. I had cooked them within 3 degrees of the prescribed 121 degrees. Next time, I cut back even more.

...then there is the confusing discussion about how by the time you have evaporated almost all of the water anyway...how much does the 'boiling temperature of water at high altitudes' factor make a difference in the final product? :wacko:
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#248 prasantrin

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 03:22 AM

Can I freeze caramels? I have a ton of them, and want to save some for a future trip (end of March). I was thinking of vacuum packing them (they're wrapped) and sticking them in the freezer. Bad idea?

#249 mrose

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 07:36 AM

Can I freeze caramels?  I have a ton of them, and want to save some for a future trip (end of March).  I was thinking of vacuum packing them (they're wrapped) and sticking them in the freezer.  Bad idea?

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If you wrap them well in saran wrap then tin foil, & vacuum seal them, freezing isn't necessary. I have done this and opened them several months later. They were as in the same condition as when packaged.
Mark
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#250 prasantrin

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:54 AM

If you wrap them well in saran wrap then tin foil, & vacuum seal them, freezing isn't necessary. I have done this and opened them several months later. They were as in the same condition as when packaged.

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Oops! Thanks, Mark! I did as you suggested, and as far as I know (I was giving them to someone else), they were fine. I'll be doing it again soon, too!

I have some new caramel questions. I picked up some caramels at Le Chocolat de H in Tokyo. The regular caramels suck, but the black sesame ones are awesome! I'd like to try replicating them, but have no idea where to start. Judging from the texture, the caramel recipe is much like the recipe Kerry did for the confectionary class (which is the standard one I use), but they add black sesame paste to it and also some whole sesame seeds.

The matcha one is really good, too. Any idea of how to make matcha ones, too?

The pics are here (I hope).

Oh, one more question. . . when you add nuts to caramel, do you toast the nuts first, or let the heat of the caramel toast them?

#251 Kerry Beal

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 06:08 AM

I'd add about 1/2 a cup of sesame paste to the cooked caramel before pouring it out - and a good handful of toasted sesame seeds and see how it turns out.

I'd toast the seeds - the only time you don't need to toast the nuts is in things like krokant or brittle where the nuts are cooked with the syrup and the temperature gets up to about 300 F.

For the matcha - in order not to lose the flavour, I'd probably stir it in before pouring out the caramel.

#252 prasantrin

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:34 PM

I'd add about 1/2 a cup of sesame paste to the cooked caramel before pouring it out - and a good handful of toasted sesame seeds and see how it turns out.

I'd toast the seeds - the only time you don't need to toast the nuts is in things like krokant or brittle where the nuts are cooked with the syrup and the temperature gets up to about 300 F. 

For the matcha - in order not to lose the flavour, I'd probably stir it in before pouring out the caramel.

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Thanks! I wish I had picked up some of the black sesame extract from the Flavor Shop when I was in Tokyo. I think it would perk up the flavour. But I can always do mail order, the man said! If my experiment is successful, care to try my final product? You can be my official guinea pig!

#253 Kerry Beal

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:00 PM

I'd add about 1/2 a cup of sesame paste to the cooked caramel before pouring it out - and a good handful of toasted sesame seeds and see how it turns out.

I'd toast the seeds - the only time you don't need to toast the nuts is in things like krokant or brittle where the nuts are cooked with the syrup and the temperature gets up to about 300 F. 

For the matcha - in order not to lose the flavour, I'd probably stir it in before pouring out the caramel.

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Thanks! I wish I had picked up some of the black sesame extract from the Flavor Shop when I was in Tokyo. I think it would perk up the flavour. But I can always do mail order, the man said! If my experiment is successful, care to try my final product? You can be my official guinea pig!

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I'd be thrilled to try them.

#254 prasantrin

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 11:30 PM

New questions. . .

I haven't made my sesame caramels, yet, but am now buying supplies. Should I just get ground black sesame seeds and add those, or should it really be a paste (i.e. should the oil have separated from the seeds)?

If it should be a paste, is there any reason I couldn't use other nut or seed pastes in my caramels? I'm thinking of adding some hazelnut praline paste to my order. I think it would be smashing in caramels, but it's also expensive. That means I can't afford to waste any in trial-and-error experiments.

#255 Kerry Beal

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:27 AM

New questions. . .

I haven't made my sesame caramels, yet, but am now buying supplies. Should I just get ground black sesame seeds and add those, or should it really be a paste (i.e. should the oil have separated from the seeds)?

If it should be a paste, is there any reason I couldn't use other nut or seed pastes in my caramels? I'm thinking of adding some hazelnut praline paste to my order. I think it would be smashing in caramels, but it's also expensive. That means I can't afford to waste any in trial-and-error experiments.

I suspect you'll be fine with the ground rather than the paste.

#256 EvanT

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 01:04 PM

I make a lot of caramels - And I rarely have problems with crystalization at the time of them being made, but I sometimes have problems with it several days after making...

However, there are some batches, when about a week or two after being made and wrapped, develop a very fine crystal on the outside of the already wrapped caramel.

I'm not sure why, or when, and it will happen on an entire batch or two at the same time...

Any ideas? It's driving me crazy. And I never know when it's going to happen...