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Caramel - How to make it more runny

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3 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

Were you following Kerry Beal's recipe (discussed earlier)?  If you are getting 225F after adding the cream and if you are adding the amount prescribed in whatever recipe you are following, then you can let the caramelized sugar sit a bit before adding the cream. I have one recipe in which the caramel reaches its final temp very quickly. In that recipe (it's for apple caramel), the liquid added is a mixture of cream and melted apple cider jelly. Since it's the same proportions as for other caramels I make, the only explanation I have come up with is that it has to do with using jelly plus cream (so more liquid than using just cream). But I don't think the explanation makes sense, and I remain puzzled. In any event, when the apple caramel reaches its final temp (as I said, almost immediately), it is still rather fluid, but it tests as done (a bit beyond soft-ball stage), and when it firms up, it is the perfect texture for piping.

Wouldn’t jelly have less water than cream? So it reaches the final temp sooner because there is far less water to boil out? 

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Hi all - I have a question - I am making some caramels that I want to dip in chocolate and I am wondering how much chocolate per caramel I should be budgeting for - I haven't paid close enough attention in the past when dipping caramels to know.  I think the last time I did a batch I tempered 1kg of chocolate to dip 140 caramels and had 300 g left over (saved to use for ganache)  I am asking as I am aiming to make 1800 pieces for an event and wonder if I have enough chocolate of if I should get some more.   (that was for a super bowl party I attended by 20 people and there were no caramels left by the end of the game - I was shocked - I only had 2)

 

I think that works out to about 5 g of chocolate per caramel, or 9 kg total -  I have on hand between bitter, dark and milk chocolate

 

Anyone here with more experience dipping chocolates who can give me an idea of how much chocolate per piece would be much appreciated.

TIA

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What are the dimensions of your caramels?  5 g sounds like enough for a small piece but better safe than sorry. If you end up with an extra kg or two of chocolate, Christmas is coming soon enough. 

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1 hour ago, pastrygirl said:

What are the dimensions of your caramels?  5 g sounds like enough for a small piece but better safe than sorry. If you end up with an extra kg or two of chocolate, Christmas is coming soon enough. 

Hi pastrygirl - thx for weighing in - they are a 1" round dome - hopefully I make as many as planned and I sell out but if not, I do have a back up plan to sell any left overs.

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On 7/12/2019 at 4:08 PM, Bentley said:

If you look back in the forum to my early days, I once had an issue with a cherry caramel separating.  Never figured out why.  But I've never had a caramel separate since then.  

I take the caramel off the heat as soon as it hits my temp, then let it rest for maybe 5 minutes before putting the butter in.  I am certainly not an expert in emulsification, but it makes sense that the blender would help emulsify the mixture, as the blades are creating smaller and smaller particles of fat to be suspended in the water.   

 

@Bentley, I've been waiting to post regarding your technique of using an immersion blender to add the butter at the end of making a caramel as a way of avoiding the issue of having the butter separate out. I wanted to make sure I had given this idea a fair test. So now I am writing to thank you for this suggestion. I have used a blender for every caramel I have made since then, and so far there has been no more separation of butter. It helped to think of adding the butter as similar to making a ganache, adding fat to the caramel, which does have some fat in it but is basically a liquid. My only concern is how robust my blender will prove to be since the caramel thickens as time passes. Maybe I need to look for an industrial stick blender if there is such a thing. Thank you very much for this suggestion.


Edited by Jim D. (log)
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My recipe is based on someone else's award winning caramel sauce for ice cream and it's so easy to fill the truffles.  The filling needs o set up before you cap them. If you use clarified butter the consistency will be more velvety and they set up within a half hour.

 

My ratios are 5 parts sugar to 3 parts cream to 3 parts (clarified) butter.

I cook the sugar over 300 degrees before adding the butter then I take it off the burner and add the cream. You want the caramel dark brown but not black before you add the butter. If it smells like it's burning it is and creates a most wonderful taste.

I don't even use a thermometer any more. I go by look and smell.

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On 11/7/2019 at 9:37 PM, Jim D. said:

I wanted to make sure I had given this idea a fair test. So now I am writing to thank you for this suggestion. I have used a blender for every caramel I have made since then, and so far there has been no more separation of butter. It helped to think of adding the butter as similar to making a ganache, adding fat to the caramel, which does have some fat in it but is basically a liquid.

 

Cream is a fat in water emulsion, butter is a water in fat emulsion.

The base for caramel is caramelized sugar + cream, so it's a fat in water emulsion. Then you add butter, which is the other kind of emulsion. So you need to reverse the phase of the butter, transforming it from water in fat to fat in water. This takes a good amount of mixing, which you get easily with an immersion blender, but takes a lot of time by hand. You don't see by eye if you reversed all the butter. If you left a part of not-reversed butter (still water in fat) then this will separate.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Beware that there are good and bad immersion blenders not just about sturdiness, but also about geometry. Some blenders add lots of small air bubbles to what you are blending, others do not, it's a matter of the geometry of the blades and the rest of the mixing unit. For chocolate making you want to avoid added air bubbles like hell. So ask beforehand to someone who has the model you want to buy, or try it first hand before spending money.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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2 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Thanks for the link. Do you have a brand you would recommend?  The prices suggest these blenders are indeed heavy-duty appliances--or at least should be.

I am not the most experienced chocolatier in the world, but I've seen Waring immersion blenders in 90% of the commercial kitchens I've been in.

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21 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Thanks for the link. Do you have a brand you would recommend?  The prices suggest these blenders are indeed heavy-duty appliances--or at least should be.

 

19 hours ago, Bentley said:

I am not the most experienced chocolatier in the world, but I've seen Waring immersion blenders in 90% of the commercial kitchens I've been in.

 

Yes, either a small Waring or a Bamix should be heavier duty.

 https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B008ND7KYU/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_K8cYDbJ2D0E54

 

 

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:37 AM, teonzo said:

 

Cream is a fat in water emulsion, butter is a water in fat emulsion.

The base for caramel is caramelized sugar + cream, so it's a fat in water emulsion. Then you add butter, which is the other kind of emulsion. So you need to reverse the phase of the butter, transforming it from water in fat to fat in water. This takes a good amount of mixing, which you get easily with an immersion blender, but takes a lot of time by hand. You don't see by eye if you reversed all the butter. If you left a part of not-reversed butter (still water in fat) then this will separate.

 

Teo

 

 

Unfortunately my caramel separation issues have returned (twice since I started mixing in the butter with an immersion blender), and I wondered if you might have insights on what happened today:

 

I was making two caramels (one flavored with a fruit, the other a regular salted caramel), so I made a double batch. As I would be thinning out the caramel with fruit at the conclusion of the cooking (but not the salted one), I removed one-half of the batch after I had reached approximately 236F/113C (tested as forming a soft ball). I mixed in the soft butter with a spatula, and there was no separation at all. I put the other half of the caramel back on the heat and cooked it to about 245F/118C (firm-ball stage). After I had added about half of the butter (first by hand, then with blender), the mixture began separating. But I persevered, adding the flavoring (reduced yuzu purée), and, to my pleasure, the caramel came back together perfectly. This leads me to wonder whether cooking the caramel longer could have any bearing on the separation. Could removing more of the water by longer cooking cause an imbalance between fat and water that was (just as happens with a ganache) smoothed out by adding a little more liquid?  I'm reaching for straws here so that I can conquer my caramel-phobic condition.  Of course, even if this guess is correct, I am left with the unhappy fact that, as far as I can judge, most other people's caramel does not separate, regardless of cooking time.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

Unfortunately my caramel separation issues have returned (twice since I started mixing in the butter with an immersion blender), and I wondered if you might have insights on what happened today:

 

I was making two caramels (one flavored with a fruit, the other a regular salted caramel), so I made a double batch. As I would be thinning out the caramel with fruit at the conclusion of the cooking (but not the salted one), I removed one-half of the batch after I had reached approximately 236F/113C (tested as forming a soft ball). I mixed in the soft butter with a spatula, and there was no separation at all. I put the other half of the caramel back on the heat and cooked it to about 245F/118C (firm-ball stage). After I had added about half of the butter (first by hand, then with blender), the mixture began separating. But I persevered, adding the flavoring (reduced yuzu purée), and, to my pleasure, the caramel came back together perfectly. This leads me to wonder whether cooking the caramel longer could have any bearing on the separation. Could removing more of the water by longer cooking cause an imbalance between fat and water that was (just as happens with a ganache) smoothed out by adding a little more liquid?  I'm reaching for straws here so that I can conquer my caramel-phobic condition.  Of course, even if this guess is correct, I am left with the unhappy fact that, as far as I can judge, most other people's caramel does not separate, regardless of cooking time.

Sounds quite plausible to me

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15 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I was making two caramels (one flavored with a fruit, the other a regular salted caramel), so I made a double batch. As I would be thinning out the caramel with fruit at the conclusion of the cooking (but not the salted one), I removed one-half of the batch after I had reached approximately 236F/113C (tested as forming a soft ball). I mixed in the soft butter with a spatula, and there was no separation at all. I put the other half of the caramel back on the heat and cooked it to about 245F/118C (firm-ball stage). After I had added about half of the butter (first by hand, then with blender), the mixture began separating. But I persevered, adding the flavoring (reduced yuzu purée), and, to my pleasure, the caramel came back together perfectly. This leads me to wonder whether cooking the caramel longer could have any bearing on the separation. Could removing more of the water by longer cooking cause an imbalance between fat and water that was (just as happens with a ganache) smoothed out by adding a little more liquid?  I'm reaching for straws here so that I can conquer my caramel-phobic condition.  Of course, even if this guess is correct, I am left with the unhappy fact that, as far as I can judge, most other people's caramel does not separate, regardless of cooking time.

 

Your explanation is correct.
You need proper water/fat ratio and proper method to get a fine emulsion. Which does not mean your method is not correct: what matters is the final result, if during the preparation you face separated phases but at the end you get the proper result, then it's not a problem. See the Valrhona technique for ganaches, they willingly separate the emulsion in the middle stages.
You got a separation of phases because when you added the first quantity of butter there was too low water for emulsifying the fat in butter. You are starting with a caramel at 118°C, which means really few water (I don't have the tables here, I'm pretty sure in one of your books there are the tables of the water content in syrups at each °C). Then you add butter. When you mix this butter you are going to reverse its phases: it's going to change from a water-in-fat emulsion (butter) to a fat-in-water emulsion (caramel), so you need enough water to coat the fat droplets. Butter is around 82% fat and 15% water (at least here), the water in a 118°C caramel is really low, so you don't have enough water to produce a proper fat-in-water emulsion at that stage. Beware that the critical stage is the beginning: you need a high enough water-to-fat ratio to create a proper fat-in-water emulsion, then you can add more fat and maintain the emulsion (think about making mayonnaise). If the ratio is not in the correct window then the emulsion separates, you can get it back when you restore the correct ratio, which is what happens when you add the fruit puree. So you don't need to think you are making something wrong, it's just part of the method you are using.
When adding butter to caramel you are always going to reverse the butter phase. Which means that when you are reversing it, the butter emulsion separates, then it re-emulsifies with inverted phases (from water-in-fat to fat-in-water). During this stage the original butter emulsion is separating no matter what, that's the goal of the recipe/method. Most of the times it's happening at microscopic level, droplets separates and re-emulsify quick, so you don't see the separation stage because it's on a small scale (and you don't see if you did it properly, see the case when caramels separate after days). With the method you are using you see a separation at macroscopic scale in the middle stages, which is not a problem. The problem would be if you did not get a proper emulsion at the end of the method, which does not seem to be your case.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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3 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

Your explanation is correct.
You need proper water/fat ratio and proper method to get a fine emulsion. Which does not mean your method is not correct: what matters is the final result, if during the preparation you face separated phases but at the end you get the proper result, then it's not a problem. See the Valrhona technique for ganaches, they willingly separate the emulsion in the middle stages.
You got a separation of phases because when you added the first quantity of butter there was too low water for emulsifying the fat in butter. You are starting with a caramel at 118°C, which means really few water (I don't have the tables here, I'm pretty sure in one of your books there are the tables of the water content in syrups at each °C). Then you add butter. When you mix this butter you are going to reverse its phases: it's going to change from a water-in-fat emulsion (butter) to a fat-in-water emulsion (caramel), so you need enough water to coat the fat droplets. Butter is around 82% fat and 15% water (at least here), the water in a 118°C caramel is really low, so you don't have enough water to produce a proper fat-in-water emulsion at that stage. Beware that the critical stage is the beginning: you need a high enough water-to-fat ratio to create a proper fat-in-water emulsion, then you can add more fat and maintain the emulsion (think about making mayonnaise). If the ratio is not in the correct window then the emulsion separates, you can get it back when you restore the correct ratio, which is what happens when you add the fruit puree. So you don't need to think you are making something wrong, it's just part of the method you are using.
When adding butter to caramel you are always going to reverse the butter phase. Which means that when you are reversing it, the butter emulsion separates, then it re-emulsifies with inverted phases (from water-in-fat to fat-in-water). During this stage the original butter emulsion is separating no matter what, that's the goal of the recipe/method. Most of the times it's happening at microscopic level, droplets separates and re-emulsify quick, so you don't see the separation stage because it's on a small scale (and you don't see if you did it properly, see the case when caramels separate after days). With the method you are using you see a separation at macroscopic scale in the middle stages, which is not a problem. The problem would be if you did not get a proper emulsion at the end of the method, which does not seem to be your case.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

Thanks for the detailed and helpful explanation. Would it make a difference if the butter were added to the caramel while it is still cooking? I know some people do that. It would not look so much like making an emulsion, but ultimately it's the same mixture.

 

And what about the case of "standup" caramels, intended to be cut and wrapped or dipped in chocolate and therefore cooked to a higher temp?  Do those work only if the amount of butter is not so high?


Edited by Jim D. (log)

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49 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

Thanks for the detailed and helpful explanation. Would it make a difference if the butter were added to the caramel while it is still cooking? I know some people do that. It would not look so much like making an emulsion, but ultimately it's the same mixture.

 

And what about the case of "standup" caramels, intended to be cut and wrapped or dipped in chocolate and therefore cooked to a higher temp?  Do those work only if the amount of butter is not so high?

 

And in the case of the caramel I described

Ramon Morató says butter added between 114-119 will incorporate better and that butter added after 120C won’t “bind to the dough” because too much water has evaporated. 
 

Someone else, and I’m sorry I can’t find the reference, said butter added at the end makes caramel easier to cut—it will lubricate whatever you’re cutting with. 

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1 minute ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

Ramon Morató says butter added between 114-119 will incorporate better and that butter added after 120C won’t “bind to the dough” because too much water has evaporated. 
 

Someone else, and I’m sorry I can’t find the reference, said butter added at the end makes caramel easier to cut—it will lubricate whatever you’re cutting with. 

It’s Greweling. 
“...fat added early in cooking is emulsified(...) Fat added late in cooking is not locked up in the emulsion (...) is also available to lubricate the cutters or knives (...)” page 236. 

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21 hours ago, Jim D. said:

Thanks for the detailed and helpful explanation. Would it make a difference if the butter were added to the caramel while it is still cooking? I know some people do that. It would not look so much like making an emulsion, but ultimately it's the same mixture.

 

You would loose water during cooking: the water in butter would add to the water in the caramel, to reach your desired temperature you need to boil it out. This way you would end up with less water in the final result, which will make for a stiffer caramel (and possible separation troubles). So you would need to rework all the temperatures and the recipe balance.

 

 

 

21 hours ago, Jim D. said:

And what about the case of "standup" caramels, intended to be cut and wrapped or dipped in chocolate and therefore cooked to a higher temp?  Do those work only if the amount of butter is not so high?

 

I don't have much direct experience on these, for some strange reasons there aren't artisans making them here. Even the industrial ones have poor sales. It's one of the products that never caught here, like marshmallows.
You need to look at these caramels like a mix of 2 phases: the syrup (caramelized sugar dissolved in water) and the fat (tiny droplets, emulsified in the fat-in-water emulsion). So at room temperature the texture is given by the combination of both. Butter fat is (usually) soft at room temperature, it holds its shape but is pliable. The texture of the syrup depends on the amount of water, the more water there is the softer the syrup is.
You need enough butter fat for it to be pleasantly chewable (imagine a syrup cooked to the soft ball stage, not so pleasant to eat). You need to avoid having too much water otherwise they don't stand up. So those are the 2 windows to consider. I don't have practical data because I never experimented.
If you want to have more control on the final result then I would suggest using clarified butter. You cook the syrup to desired temperature, so that the amount of water is totally under control. Then add clarified butter. If you add standard butter, a part of its water will evaporate, this will depend on many factors (batch weight, which pan you are using, room temperature and humidity, so on), so you don't have control on it and you end up with varying results. If you add clarified butter then you are adding pure fat without water, so it's all under control. Taste will change a bit because you will loose some maillard reactions (no casein in clarified butter); if you want the kick of the maillard reactions, then use brown butter instead of clarified butter.
Beware that butter fat is composed of many different kinds of fat, which have different melting temperatures. Different butters have different textures at room temperature, there are semi-hard ones, soft ones, even liquid ones. It depends on their composition, which varies from producer to producer, if the butter was fractionated and so on. Liquid butter has been fractionated to keep only the low melting fats. Butter for laminations (sheets of butter for making puff pastry, croissants and so on) has been fractionated to keep the high melting fats. This will impact the final texture of the caramels.
If you want the caramels to hold a better shape then you can add cocoa butter, like Genin does.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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20 hours ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

It’s Greweling. 
“...fat added early in cooking is emulsified(...) Fat added late in cooking is not locked up in the emulsion (...) is also available to lubricate the cutters or knives (...)” page 236. 

 

I'm skeptical about both these things.
If fat was not "locked up in the emulsion", then it would separate with time.
Butter fat at room temperature is not liquid, it's semi-solid. If you try to cut butter at room temperature with a knife then it does not lubricate the knife, it sticks to it. Can't see why this would change in a caramel.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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Adding my caramel experiences to this thread.


Most of my caramel recipes are of the "cook everything except butter" type. I use a probe thermometer for accurate temperatures.

 

I have replaced up to half the butter with cocoa butter in my firm caramels, they set up with nice sharp edges and have a good mouth feel.

 

Rather than making slabs and stressing about the cutting process after they're set, I pour into the (somewhat expensive) silicon candy molds from ChefRubber that make perfect little squares or rectangles. I demold them chilled (a few minutes in the fridge) to avoid any deformations when I pop them out.

 

Be aware that if you're not enrobing them, and if the butters haven't been sufficiently emulsified, you may end up with little white cocoa butter splotches on the edges. To avoid this I always use a stick blender to start the caramel moving, add grated butter (which was left to reach room temperature while the caramel was cooking) and once completely incorporated add the just-melted cocoa butter.


Hope this helps.

 

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