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Caramel separated....what happened?


Bentley
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He calls for caramelizing 200g sucrose and 150g glucose, then quenching with 300g cream.   Add 65g butter, then 160g pineapple purée and cook to 112C/234F.  Note that it's unusual to add the butter so early in the process.  And as I stated previously, it seems to me that there is quite a lot of liquid for the amount of sugars.

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Thanks, pastrygirl, for the various suggestions about the pineapple caramel.  I have now made three versions and can clearly taste a winner.

 

In version #1 (made in a panic last week and based on Kerry Beal's passion fruit caramel recipe), the pineapple is the only liquid added, and the resulting caramel is cooked briefly before being mixed with white chocolate and cocoa butter.  It turned out somewhat soft but (to me) acceptable for a piped caramel.

 

For version #2, I used my regular caramel recipe for a bonbon filling (thus moving away from the rather large amount of liquid Wybauw calls for) but substituted pineapple purée (barely chunky, mostly liquid) for the cream.  As previously it took a long time to reach temp.  When finished it had a faint but detectable scorched taste and smell (though I stirred constantly).  There is just so much sugar in pineapple that avoiding that hazard seems difficult, at least for me.

 

In version #3, I divided the liquid between half pineapple purée and half cream.  I used the same recipe as for version #2 but added just the cream to make the caramel.  I let it reach almost the end temp, meanwhile heating the pineapple.  When I added the pineapple, however, in spite of all my efforts not to let the temp drop too far, it did, and the caramel again took a fairly long time to get back to temp.  When I thought about it, I realized why: The caramel was around 230F, but since I could not get the pineapple above the boiling point, it was bound to lower the caramel's temp.  Again, there is a very faint aroma of scorching, but it's probably not something most people would notice.  The flavor is quite good, since the pineapple was not cooked so long.

 

Conclusions:  In none of the three attempts did the caramel separate (the problem that started this pineapple lament).  Unless it has something to do with Wybauw's high liquid content, I still have no clue about that.  Version #3 is certajnly acceptable, but I think version #1 (with the white chocolate) has the best taste.  Its color leaves a bit to be desired (it's quite light in color, so the "caramelized pineapple" name I have been using for this filling might not work any longer--perhaps I could cook the caramel to a darker color before adding the chocolate), but to have a recipe that works consistently and has good flavor is crucial.

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On 7/8/2016 at 11:10 AM, Chocolot said:

Why don't you cook the caramel near the final temp, then add the pineapple. This will reduce the temp with the addition of liquid. It won't take long for it to cook back to final temp and you won't have to worry about cooking out the flavor or scorching. 

At the Philly Candy Show, I attended a workshop on caramel. They did just this repeatedly And it seemed to work well. We have been making our fruit caramel this way.

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  • 3 years later...

Hello everyone!  Could anyone please help me troubleshoot my soft butter caramels?  I made two separate batches and let them sit over night.  I cut and wrapped all of them, but the next day I found one of the batches looking like the caramel on the left, leaking butter.  Any advice on what could have caused this?  Any help is appreciated.

thumbnail_IMG_7230.jpg

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On 12/10/2019 at 2:15 AM, teonzo said:

 

You can find some discussions and explanations in this thread.

 

 

 

Teo

 

I have looked over that thread and the main thing that I could gather from it was that I probably didn't whisk the caramels on the left enough?  Is that correct?  Is there anywhere else I could have gone wrong?  Both caramels shown in the picture I posted are the exact same recipe made on the same day, just different batches.  Still trying to track down why one came out but the other didn't.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, MoonChild said:

@teonzo  Thank you for helping me with my caramels.  I've used a hand blender and haven't had any separation problems sincethen.  Also, the thread you've linked me to helped me to fine tune my caramel filling for bon bons.

 

Same for me. Since I began using a blender, I've had no separation of fat. You do have to blend in the butter fairly soon after taking the caramel off the heat or it gets too thick.

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So I've made a fair amount of caramels before, and never had separation issues.  This time, though, I cannot get it to work.  I've boiled this batch 6 times, adding water each time to "reset" it.  I've checked my thermometer in plain water, raised the temperature, used a stick blender as it cooks, used a whisk as it cooks, left it alone while it cooks, cooled it quickly, cooled it slowly... I thought I had it this time, but as you can see, I did not.  I cooked it to 248F the first time, and this most recent time, in the pictures, cooked it to 275, just trying to get a chewy caramel firm enough for dipping!

 

Approx. recipe:

4 C granulated sugar

1 C corn syrup

1/4 C lemon juice

8 oz butter

 

Any tips? 

 

image4.thumb.jpeg.dc50d888859a3af3e50f967955eb8aa6.jpeg

image2.thumb.jpeg.b9ca0a703d5d39ec1aa4652aff229a2a.jpeg

image5.thumb.jpeg.5cd67d547e402f2d37d07bf21f16cfa0.jpeg

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How does it taste? Can you use it as a caramel sauce instead? I’d be considered that boiling it 6 times has changed the chemical composition of your original ingredients. Can you try a smaller batch with virgin ingredients and see if they behave properly?

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39 minutes ago, WayUpNorth said:

Tastes great!  Yeah, I guess I'll have to start over, this batch has just been so much work it's hard to lay it down.  I've seen people use an immersion blender, is that meant to be after reaching temperature and taking it off the heat? 

 

Yes, the blender is used to mix in the butter, making an emulsion. But if you are cooking the caramel to the 275 range, you may need an industrial-strength blender. Regular ones may not be able to cope.

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  • 5 months later...
On 6/24/2016 at 5:01 PM, Jim D. said:

Well, it happened again.  I made Wybauw's caramelized pineapple.  All was well, but as it cooled, the fat from the cream (I assume) formed a pool in the pan (no butter had been added at this point).  I have made this recipe 3-4 times without incident.  With an immersion blender I added the butter and some additional pineapple.  Again all looked well, but I came back later to find it separated once more.  In desperation (what did I have to lose?) I put the solid part of the caramel in the food processor.  I added the fat little by little; it mixed in a bit but not enough.  I then added skim milk (the trick I have used for fixing ganache) and processed some more.  A very nice caramel formed--and stayed formed.  The problem, however, was that the skim milk had made the caramel too loose.  At that point I was afraid of heating it again (which would have been the obvious thing to do), so added some cocoa butter (from the Eztemper machine).  It thickened enough to give me some hope, but it was very soft.  I put a little in the freezer to see what would happen, and it did get reasonably thick.  So I went ahead and piped the stuff into shells.  I will probably refrigerate it for a while to see if that helps.  The only consolation is that the caramel tastes delicious, but overall not a happy day in the caramel factory.

 

I should know enough by now that the FIRST thing I should do before trying a new technique, or a new recipe..is search the egullet forums. I’ve been wanting to do some fruit based centres for my bonbons but hesitated because of concerns about AW levels.  I figured the safest way forward was to use commercially available purées that have been vetted in published recipes. I was finally able to get some frozen purees that didn't cost an arm and a leg to ship (thank you Albert Uster) and confidently dove straight in to....Wybauw’s Pineapple caramel. Results...same as yours. I saw a tiny hint of separation while it was still on the hob so i just stirred like a maniac - and thought i took care of it. As it cooled in the pot it was getting quite thick so i transferred to a pastry bag ready to pipe once it was cool enough. Disaster. Loads of separation. I tried to squeeze out the oily butter and forged ahead. Ugh. I was trying it in combination with a white chocolate coconut layer so this batch will be consumed as a test of the flavours. Although, if caramels with fruit puree are this vexing, i may not do it again.

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On 7/12/2016 at 8:12 PM, Jim D. said:

Thanks, pastrygirl, for the various suggestions about the pineapple caramel.  I have now made three versions and can clearly taste a winner.

 

In version #1 (made in a panic last week and based on Kerry Beal's passion fruit caramel recipe), the pineapple is the only liquid added, and the resulting caramel is cooked briefly before being mixed with white chocolate and cocoa butter.  It turned out somewhat soft but (to me) acceptable for a piped caramel.

 

For version #2, I used my regular caramel recipe for a bonbon filling (thus moving away from the rather large amount of liquid Wybauw calls for) but substituted pineapple purée (barely chunky, mostly liquid) for the cream.  As previously it took a long time to reach temp.  When finished it had a faint but detectable scorched taste and smell (though I stirred constantly).  There is just so much sugar in pineapple that avoiding that hazard seems difficult, at least for me.

 

In version #3, I divided the liquid between half pineapple purée and half cream.  I used the same recipe as for version #2 but added just the cream to make the caramel.  I let it reach almost the end temp, meanwhile heating the pineapple.  When I added the pineapple, however, in spite of all my efforts not to let the temp drop too far, it did, and the caramel again took a fairly long time to get back to temp.  When I thought about it, I realized why: The caramel was around 230F, but since I could not get the pineapple above the boiling point, it was bound to lower the caramel's temp.  Again, there is a very faint aroma of scorching, but it's probably not something most people would notice.  The flavor is quite good, since the pineapple was not cooked so long.

 

Conclusions:  In none of the three attempts did the caramel separate (the problem that started this pineapple lament).  Unless it has something to do with Wybauw's high liquid content, I still have no clue about that.  Version #3 is certajnly acceptable, but I think version #1 (with the white chocolate) has the best taste.  Its color leaves a bit to be desired (it's quite light in color, so the "caramelized pineapple" name I have been using for this filling might not work any longer--perhaps I could cook the caramel to a darker color before adding the chocolate), but to have a recipe that works consistently and has good flavor is crucial.

Ooh! And i should have read a little further! I will be trying your recipes. Thanks!

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8 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Assuming Kerry’s recipe is on here somewhere.

Search and you shall find...

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/123427-reporteg-chocolate-and-confectionery-conference/page/3/

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/142372-adapting-caramel-recipe-for-bon-bon-filling/?do=findComment&comment=1871030

 

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9 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Ooh! And i should have read a little further! I will be trying your recipes. Thanks!

Since my pineapple experiments posted earlier (the ones you found), I have continued to work on my fruit caramel recipes. The white chocolate approach does work, but if someone wants to get the "pure" caramel-plus-fruit taste (no chocolate), there is no way I have found to avoid the strong possibility of scorching when using the normal method. I now add flavoring after the caramel has been completely cooked. You may not like or even approve of this approach, but at times I can be practical, and it's the flavor I care about (plus not having the ugly separation issue, even sometimes when using an immersion blender). I was present a few days ago when one of my customers ate a mango and passion fruit caramel, and her comments on the taste cemented my decision to use this method.

 

So I cook the caramel (to be piped) to the hardball stage, where you would normally cook a caramel to be cut, then remove from the heat and add the butter with a blender. If there is a bit of separation, I don't panic because I know it will be fixed later (see below). Then I add flavoring, and for this I use Amoretti's "natural artisan" flavorings. According to the labels, these are mostly fruit with various types of sugars added, but the key is that the fruit purée has already been reduced--so no scorching.  In addition to the two I mentioned, I have used apricot, cherry, raspberry, and pineapple. I find the flavors of these ingredients strong and authentic; the downside is that they are expensive. Using them has the additional advantage that it adds to the water content of the caramel, thus making the emulsification of the butter easier--I have not had a single case of separation since I began using them.

 

One other hint I learned from Kerry Beal (who else?) is to add a pinch of citric acid; this cuts the sweetness substantially. With your pineapple and coconut experiment (which sounds very promising), I think citric acid would be a must for the caramel.

 

On caramel emulsification in general:  @teonzo posted a comment explaining the science that helped me. So when caramel separates, I now realize that it is just like a ganache in that more liquid is needed. Therefore I cook caramel beyond the soft ball stage so that it can be thinned out if necessary; I have also reduced the quantity of butter I add (and detect no taste difference). 

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2 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Since my pineapple experiments posted earlier (the ones you found), I have continued to work on my fruit caramel recipes. The white chocolate approach does work, but if someone wants to get the "pure" caramel-plus-fruit taste (no chocolate), there is no way I have found to avoid the strong possibility of scorching when using the normal method. I now add flavoring after the caramel has been completely cooked. You may not like or even approve of this approach, but at times I can be practical, and it's the flavor I care about (plus not having the ugly separation issue, even sometimes when using an immersion blender). I was present a few days ago when one of my customers ate a mango and passion fruit caramel, and her comments on the taste cemented my decision to use this method.

 

So I cook the caramel (to be piped) to the hardball stage, where you would normally cook a caramel to be cut, then remove from the heat and add the butter with a blender. If there is a bit of separation, I don't panic because I know it will be fixed later (see below). Then I add flavoring, and for this I use Amoretti's "natural artisan" flavorings. According to the labels, these are mostly fruit with various types of sugars added, but the key is that the fruit purée has already been reduced--so no scorching.  In addition to the two I mentioned, I have used apricot, cherry, raspberry, and pineapple. I find the flavors of these ingredients strong and authentic; the downside is that they are expensive. Using them has the additional advantage that it adds to the water content of the caramel, thus making the emulsification of the butter easier--I have not had a single case of separation since I began using them.

 

One other hint I learned from Kerry Beal (who else?) is to add a pinch of citric acid; this cuts the sweetness substantially. With your pineapple and coconut experiment (which sounds very promising), I think citric acid would be a must for the caramel.

 

On caramel emulsification in general:  @teonzo posted a comment explaining the science that helped me. So when caramel separates, I now realize that it is just like a ganache in that more liquid is needed. Therefore I cook caramel beyond the soft ball stage so that it can be thinned out if necessary; I have also reduced the quantity of butter I add (and detect no taste difference). 

Jim D as always - very generous with your knowledge and experiencce - THANK YOU! I will explore all of your suggestions. I appreciate your time. 😁

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  • 4 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

@Jim D. great advice on these for caramel - thank you! Delicious and no stress 😁 i was wondering if you have tried using these in a ganache? Or any other application besides caramel?

 

Yes, I have used the Amoretti flavorings in ganache. In fact, I just got their blueberry flavoring in my long-standing search for a blueberry bonbon with actual blueberry flavor, and it worked. The flavor is still subtle (by the time you add the necessary chocolate), but it's there. I first piped in a small layer of blueberry jam (I was given this from Stonewall Kitchen in Maine, and it has strong blueberry flavor, with an Aw reading low enough that it didn't frighten me too much), then made blueberry ganache with blueberry purée. the Amoretti flavoring, a dash of Chambord, and (of all things) milk chocolate (thanks to @ChocoMom for that idea), then a thin layer of lemon ganache on top. The flavorings are liquid, so that has to be taken into account when figuring the liquefier-cocoa butter balance. And, back to caramel, I just made a batch of cherry caramel using the Amoretti flavoring.

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