"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cooking Resources > Terms & Techniques
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-15-2007, 03:02 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 11
Carmelizing Sugar

I have a flan recipe that calls for carmelized sugar. I tried several times, following the recipe instructions, but the sugar never carmelizes. The recipe tells me to "combine 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook, without stirring, until syrup turns deep amber in color." Well, I followed those exact instructions - three different times - and the disolved sugar turns into crystals again. Is there a special type of sugar I need to use? What am I doing wrong?

__________________

__________________
lwaltero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Katie H's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: I live in the Heartland of the United States - Western Kentucky
Posts: 15,163
You don't need special sugar. Granulated sugar will do just fine. When you are caramelizing the sugar, combine it and the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot and put it over medium heat until the sugar melts.

Then, using a pastry brush dipped in water, wash down the sides of the pot so that there are no undissolved bits of sugar.

Keep cooking the sugar until it turns to the golden or dark brown you want. This can take a while. Just be patient. Use as your recipe directs. Understand that the darker the color of the caramelized sugar, the more pronounced the caramel flavor will be.
__________________

__________________
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
Katie H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:20 PM   #3
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,394
Hi, welcome to DC.

Your sugar recrystallized because some moisture probably got into the pan.

Next time add a tablespoon of corn syrup to the sugar and water mix.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
Senior Cook
 
aguynamedrobert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: California
Posts: 228
Yeah they didn't tell you some of the basic rules of working with sugar...

Combine sugar and water and stir together to combine into a solution while the heat is going...

THEN WASH DOWN THE SIDES OF THE POT WITH A BRUSH AND WATER!
You have to wash down all the crystals on the side of the pot because it they fall back in after you have boiled then it will grain the whole sugar solution.

Caramelization comes to sugar at about 305 Degrees F. So just be patient...it will start to brown if you wait for it to get to that temp...just be carefull because sugar can burn and light on fire so don't walk away from it...

Have fun,
Robert
Chocolate Guild :: learn about chocolate, talk about chocolate
__________________
aguynamedrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:23 PM   #5
Senior Cook
 
aguynamedrobert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: California
Posts: 228
I would say not to add corn starch...it crystalized because you must have had sugar crystals on the side of the pot from the beginning or you were stiring after the boil...just wash down the sides and then once it starts to boil then don't touch it unless you feel you need to wash the sides down again(which is completely ok)...

Robert
Chocolate Guild :: learn about chocolate, talk about chocolate
__________________
aguynamedrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 03:34 PM   #6
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 11
Thank you so much everyone for the great advice. I guess I need to purchase a pastry brush for this process. The recipe never mentioned that, either.
__________________
lwaltero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2007, 07:41 PM   #7
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: japan
Posts: 462
a pastry brush is nice, but you can use a soaking-wet tea towel or something too. also, starting off with a lid on for a few minutes will cause the steam to build up and run down the sides, helping to wash off the sugar granules. you shouldn't stir it while it's cooking, but if for some reason you need to, be sure to rinse off the spoon to make sure there are no sugar granules on it. also, granules can tend to build up on the sides as the syrup is reducing. it's best to either brush these with water or leave them there undisturbed; don't just push them down into the syrup.

finally, i use a thin stainless pan for more instantaneous heat control. if you use a thick-bottomed pan, pull it off the heat rather before it quite gets to the color you want, as it will continue to cook for a bit. at the end of the process, the difference in cooking time between caramel and burnt and be quite short.

good luck
__________________
let me make sure that wine's ok before i use it.
philso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2007, 02:45 PM   #8
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 12
Aha, carmelized sugar. 20 years-at least-I have tried this one. failure, failure. The recipes I have used do not ask for water to be added to sugar. Just pop the sugar in a pan, cook until melted, then turn caramel. HAH First the bloody stuff did not melt. Then scorched sugar was usually my next reward. Problem is, I want to make the foods that use the carmelized sugar. Shall I add water whenever the recipe calls for carmelized sugar? How much? Always the same amoun? Oh do I hope you good folks can help. thank you
graysmoke
__________________
graysmoke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2007, 02:51 PM   #9
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by aguynamedrobert
I would say not to add corn starch...it crystalized because you must have had sugar crystals on the side of the pot from the beginning or you were stiring after the boil...just wash down the sides and then once it starts to boil then don't touch it unless you feel you need to wash the sides down again(which is completely ok)...

Robert
Chocolate Guild :: learn about chocolate, talk about chocolate

Robert, it is my understanding that the addition of corn syrup will go a long way towards preventing crystalization. That would eliminate the need to wash down the sides.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2007, 03:08 PM   #10
Senior Cook
 
aguynamedrobert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: California
Posts: 228
Yes corn syrup is used to prevent crystalization but it is rarely used when caramelizing sugar...the reason is because it is much tougher to crystalize the sugar when it is taken to 305-310...the higher the temp the harder it is to crystalize it....but it still is possible...you can add the corn syrup but I would suggest just doing it with sugar and water....but whatever works for the person doing it.

Even when using corn syrup you still must wash down the sides...Even a caramel can crystalize and that has a lot of cornsyrup compared to sugar(it is used for the reason of preventing crystals)...Always wash down the sides when cooking sugar...No matter what

Have a good one everybody,
Robert
Chocolate Guild :: learn about chocolate, talk about chocolate
__________________

__________________
aguynamedrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.