Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Troubleshooting Caramels


Recommended Posts

I didn't want to hijack the current topic on caramel issues but did wish to reactivate my previous question (which never had a definitive answer, assuming there is one) about the separation of fat from caramel. This happens all too often with a recipe that usually works. The situation: The caramel is finished, and I add the butter to it. I have tried doing this immediately and also doing it after the caramel has cooled to about 90F, and that does not seem to make a difference. As the caramel cools, the butter starts seeping out. Whether or not I stir does not seem to make a difference; there are times when I have not touched the caramel with a spoon (after it finished cooking), and slowly the butter oozes out. I concluded it must be my recipe (too much butter), but I have used some recipes that call for a huge amount of butter, and all goes well. Here are the basic ingredients of the recipe I use most often (from Ewald Notter):  280g sugar, 70g glucose, 345g cream, 70g butter. On some occasions stirring over cold water helps bring it back together, but other times the butter congeals into little blobs which refuse to reintegrate with the caramel. Any ideas would be most welcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Chocolot said:

Have you tried adding the butter before the end of the cook? I add it at about 10F before end temp. 

No, I haven't, but will give that a try. Thanks for the idea. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I am making caramel to be piped. I take it to around 236F or a little higher (to help keep it from leaking from the shell after capping); I always test by putting some in cold water. I wouldn't think the temp would make a difference, as stand-alone caramels require an even higher temp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can also add a bit of lecithin to your caramel which will help your emulsion.

 

when I make caramels with butter, I always add the butter to the beginning of the cook.  I was once told that adding it at the end can cause the butter to go rancid......

Edited by RobertM (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, RobertM said:

You can also add a bit of lecithin to your caramel which will help your emulsion.

 

when I make caramels with butter, I always add the butter to the beginning of the cook.  I was once told that adding it at the end can cause the butter to go rancid......

 

 

I'm glad you brought up lecithin. I tried that last time, using a very tiny amount (I was more or less following the amount specified in the recipe Auboine gave us in Vegas). It caused the caramel to foam up--the bubbles never went away and it was a total mess. Obviously I did something wrong, as it did not help with emulsification.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

I'm glad you brought up lecithin. I tried that last time, using a very tiny amount (I was more or less following the amount specified in the recipe Auboine gave us in Vegas). It caused the caramel to foam up--the bubbles never went away and it was a total mess. Obviously I did something wrong, as it did not help with emulsification.

 

Powder or liquid? solid lecithin is very hard to dissolve iirc. Even with lecithin in it, you'll still need to stir the bejeezus out of it to make the emulsion!

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, keychris said:

 

Powder or liquid? solid lecithin is very hard to dissolve iirc. Even with lecithin in it, you'll still need to stir the bejeezus out of it to make the emulsion!

I used liquid lecithin. Puzzled by the foaming that took place (I thought baking soda added to caramel might do that).

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, RobertM said:

I e never heard of lecithin causing foaming.  When did you add it?  I always add it to the fat addition....

It depends on how viscous the mix is. Seeing as this is for a sauce consistency and not a set caramel, this is likely to occur through agitation.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Yet another caramel question:  I just made Greweling's Soft Caramels (all-dairy version). I've made it before but maybe only once. I cooked it to a temp I thought would work for piping it and it is fairly thick, but it remains rather pale. I checked Greweling's recipe, and the photo there shows a rather pale caramel, just about like mine. Mine has a light caramel taste. Maybe I'm just used to the other kind (cooking sugar first to a dark brown, then adding cream), which gives that "bowl-you-over" caramel taste? But I have seen cut caramels considerably darker in color. I could not cook mine any longer or it would never pipe. Does this kind of caramel (a Maillard caramel, as @Chocolot refers to it) ever get darker? If I need to thin mine out to pipe it, should I add some cream and reheat slightly? I wish I had some way to bump up the caramel flavor.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To get the color darker and flavor stronger, just cook it longer. So when the temp goes too high, add a little water to drop it down. Try to not let it stop boiling when you do this. You can keep doing this for a long time and get it to the color you want. Glucose interferes with browning, baking soda increases browning. You can cook caramel for hours this way. Just remember that the longer you cook it, the more sugar is inverted. 

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Chocolot said:

To get the color darker and flavor stronger, just cook it longer. So when the temp goes too high, add a little water to drop it down. Try to not let it stop boiling when you do this. You can keep doing this for a long time and get it to the color you want. Glucose interferes with browning, baking soda increases browning. You can cook caramel for hours this way. Just remember that the longer you cook it, the more sugar is inverted. 

Thank you so much for that reply. I was hoping you would chime in. So perhaps I should add some baking soda?

 

I like this caramel because it seems virtually foolproof--no crystallizing sugar (though I shouldn't tempt the sugar gods by saying that), but it does take a long time to cook. And I was not prepared for how much it expands during cooking, so had to switch pots halfway through.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can control the heat to a specific degree, you can cook the caramel at about 150 F and hold it at that temp for 15 minutes which should be plenty of time to develop the malliard effect.  Then, raise the temp to finish the cook.....

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, RobertM said:

If you can control the heat to a specific degree, you can cook the caramel at about 150 F and hold it at that temp for 15 minutes which should be plenty of time to develop the malliard effect.  Then, raise the temp to finish the cook.....

Bob, thanks for that insight. I know you have a lot of experience cooking caramel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In continuing my quest to become adept at making caramel, I think the next step is finding the right pot. I have Rose Levy Beranbaum's caramel pot, which is fairly tall and narrow--ideal for making small batches, but I question whether it really qualifies as the heavy pot caramel requires (it is really quite lightweight, tipping over easily, and I am surprised that she would put her name on it). In any event, as I make larger batches, it is definitely not large enough. My next size up is an old Le Creuset pot. It certainly qualifies as heavy and works well for medium batches. But as I discovered yesterday in making Peter Greweling's Soft Caramel, it is not large enough when the foaming starts. My largest pot is a "ceramic nonstick" Greenpan, but it too is not heavy.

 

So what do people recommend for fairly large batches of caramel? I suspect a Le Creuset of adequate size might require a bank loan, so perhaps something else?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

So what do people recommend for fairly large batches of caramel? I suspect a Le Creuset of adequate size might require a bank loan, so perhaps something else?

As a used-to-be hobbyist/small chocolate business,?I recommend the base of a six or 8 quart stainless steel, stove top pressure cooker. Should be able to find one cheap now in any thrift store after the advent of the Instant Pot. 

Edited by Anna N
To add stove top to make sure it is differentiated from the new electric ones. (log)
  • Like 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Anna N said:

As a used-to-be hobbyist/small chocolate business,?I recommend the base of a six or 8 quart stainless steel, stove top pressure cooker. Should be able to find one cheap now in any thrift store after the advent of the Instant Pot. 

 

Thanks for that suggestion. I didn't know you are a former chocolatier. When did you come to your senses and get out of the business?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, Bob has a brilliant solution.  He uses a large Presto electric cooker. They are only about $30 at Walmart. You can control the temp. I use it when I only want a few hundred pieces. When I need more, I use the large copper kettle.

  • Like 3

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Thanks for that suggestion. I didn't know you are a former chocolatier. When did you come to your senses and get out of the business?

Not even an interesting story and certainly not worth taking this off topic.  I only mentioned it so you didn’t think I was out of line chiming in. 😊

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Anna N said:

Not even an interesting story and certainly not worth taking this off topic.  I only mentioned it so you didn’t think I was out of line chiming in. 😊

Last summer - working on caramel recipe development while up north - I used the pressure cooker we have up there with great success. And wouldn't have thought of it if Anna haven't suggested it!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Chocolot said:

I use it when I only want a few hundred pieces.


Maybe I'm not really cut out for this after all... I'm not sure I can completely comprehend having to scale down to "only a few hundred pieces". :D

  • Like 2

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


Maybe I'm not really cut out for this after all... I'm not sure I can completely comprehend having to scale down to "only a few hundred pieces". :D

 

Baby steps!

 

I'm still always amazed when I get to the bottom of a stack of 1000 candy foils or caramel wrappers. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, RobertM said:

The Presto cooker is a go to for small batches of caramel.....I’ve actually gone through a few of them, wearing one out after another

 

My first reaction to this idea was to wonder how I would cope with the sudden changes sometimes required in caramel making. When, for example, the caramel temp goes high too quickly, I remove it from the heat for a little while and turn down the gas a bit. I can't imagine that the Presto cooker temp would drop that quickly. I suppose if it's not too heavy, I could take it off the heat the same way.  How quickly does the temp control respond to a change? Or do you use it more or less as a regular pot without too much attention to its temp controls?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...