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Elizabeth_11

Troubleshooting Caramels

265 posts in this topic

Thank goodness for eGullet. I made a Rum Caramel Sauce yesterday and, for the first time ever, had two batches of sugar sieze before they caramelized. Unfortunately, I hadn't read this thread yet, so I tossed them (dummy--I should have realized that sugar will eventually melt, even when the pan looks like the Great Salt Lake). On the third batch, I added a little corn syrup, which did the trick and now I am the proud owner of two (er, one--had to taste test :raz: ) bottle of Rum Caramel Sauce.

Now that I've read all of this, I wish I hadn't washed away my "failures" but sugar is cheap (and I hadn't wasted my rum on them before I quit).


Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

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I am sorry if this question has already been discussed. I am making Alain Ducasse's salty caramels- at 248 I poured and cooled. To sticky. I re-melted to 250. Cooled and still to sticky to form into caramels. Is their any point to re-melting to 255 or 260. Or has all the chemistry happened already and the caramel won't change texture at this point. This was a practice run.

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I have successfully recooked a too-soft caramel, so it is possible.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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You can recook them but it seems like your temperatures are already way above where they would normally be...what elevation are you at? and are you sure your thermometer is working correctly?

You can always use the Ice water method to test if the caramel is done...when it is getting close to temp...take out the thermometer and then have a bowl of water and ice....with your spatula drip some caramel into the ice water and give it about 5-10 seconds...then go into the water with your hand and pick up the caramel...roll it around in your fingers...if you can form a soft-medium hard ball them you are done....

The water basically brings the temp down so you will see how hard the caramel will be when it is cooled....try it out...

Robert

Chocolate Forum

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You can recook them but it seems like your temperatures are already way above where they would normally be...what elevation are you at? and are you sure your thermometer is working correctly?

You can always use the Ice water method to test if the caramel is done...when it is getting close to temp...take out the thermometer and then have a bowl of water and ice....with your spatula drip some caramel into the ice water and give it about 5-10 seconds...then go into the water with your hand and pick up the caramel...roll it around in your fingers...if you can form a soft-medium hard ball them you are done....

The water basically brings the temp down so you will see how hard the caramel will be when it is cooled....try it out...

Robert

Chocolate Forum

Thanks- I had planned to check my thermometer last week and then forgot- and then I just went ahead and made the caramels. I will check tonight. At sea level.

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Okey Dokey...at sea level your caramels should end in a range of 236-245 F(roughly)....I usually end mine at about 238-240 F and they are perfect...unless you want a hard hard caramel I wouldn't go above the mid 240's...

Good Luck and let us know how the next batch turns out...

Robert

Chocolate Forum

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I usually do remelt my caramels if they are too soft and cook them little higher.I live over 5000 feet above sea level ,a dn the sea salt caramels have to go at least at 248 ( wich is what the recipe calls for ) I tryed to do the math and recalculate the temperature at my level and it was like 9 degree lower , wich would give me a very very soft caramel .I do need to buy a couple of those good termometer that you put the end on the pan ( what are they called again )?


Vanessa

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Okey Dokey...at sea level your caramels should end in a range of 236-245 F(roughly)....I usually end mine at about 238-240 F and they are perfect...unless you want a hard hard caramel I wouldn't go above the mid 240's...

Good Luck and let us know how the next batch turns out...

Robert

Chocolate Forum

You must be using a very different recipe. I've found the 248 in that particular recipe to be the absolute minimum - usually I cook them to 250 to get the texture I'm looking for.


Tammy's Tastings

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I cooked to almost 255 - they hardend some- however they were oily- should they be oily?

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hum....if they are oily then some of the fat might have seperated out...possibly...How much did they harden? enough for you to cut them in squares?

Yeah I always take my caramel to right below 240 Degrees and they hold their shape and they are soft....hum....I actually never have seem caramels taken up to temps that you guys are except for a place I worked for a while back and if you were one degree over the caramels would be rocks....hum....I'll have to make some to the degree you guys are saying and see how they look...

Robert

Chocolate Forum

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I could cut them into squares- but they were still pliable- hm...maybe I need to go to a chocolatier and buy a caramel- maybe I am expecting them to be something they are not- more solid like a kraft caramel- is that the texture - or are they supposed to be more unctious (sp.)

still I do believe you maybe right the fat may have separated out.

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gallery_44494_2818_4339.jpg

This how my caramels look before dipping , they hold their shape and arent greasy ( you still will have some fat since they are made with lots of fat anyway )I cook them at 248-250.


Vanessa

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gallery_44494_2818_4339.jpg

This how my caramels look before dipping , they hold their shape and arent greasy ( you still will have some fat since they are made with lots of fat anyway )I cook them at 248-250.

thank you- they are beautiful... and the picture really helps me see what they should be like ....I will re-attempt tonight to achieve that

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I am sure they will come as you wanted them :smile: , never give up never surrender :laugh:


Vanessa

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I am sorry if this question has already been discussed. I am making Alain Ducasse's salty caramels- at 248 I poured and cooled. To sticky.  I re-melted to 250.  Cooled and still to sticky to form into caramels.  Is their any point to re-melting to 255 or 260.  Or has all the chemistry happened already and the caramel won't change texture at this point.  This was a practice run.

Have you read the Kendrick & Atkinson book Candymaking. It's a great reference and covers many of the basics of candymaking. I learned many good things from this book, especially about caramel making.

1) Don't cook the caramel too quickly. (med-hi temp is probably fine)

2) Be sure to mix in your fat well or otherwise it will separate out.

3) DON'T SCRAPE THE BOWL to get the late little bit out when you pour; otherwise, you'll get crystallization.

Hope this helps.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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thanks all for your help. I in the end did get a fairly firm and tasty caramel. Now to try a chocolate caramel. I do think the above is true- slow cook, less stirring and emptying the bowl. Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

Will keeping them in the fridge affect the texture if they are individually wrapped and then in a plastic sealed container.

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I personally rarely measure the temp of my caramel. You really can tell what stage it's at just by the color. Next time you make it and get it to the right temp, just look at the color...memorize it. Eventually, you'll rarely need a candy thermometer for it.

I agree with the advice about low and slow...

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Hi,

I'm new to the site. It looks great, lots of excellent advice. I'm new to candy making, when I'm making caramels can using them before they cool lead to crystallization? Iv'e had a few batches that come out of the pan looking great, I let them sit for a few hours, mould them, and the next day they are sugary, and grainy.

Also, how do you prevent them from sticking? I'm using a marble slate, oiling it slightly but they seem to stick to the marble.

Thanks,

Mark

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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.

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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:')

smilie


Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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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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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

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.

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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.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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