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Old 04-16-2005, 03:05 PM   #1
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Smile Why is my caramel sauce grainy?

I just made good old caramel sauce from sugar, creme and a bit of butter and vanilla...after a try or two I got the caramelizing down... The color is great and the flavor good--rich and deep. The trouble is that as it cools it isn't that smooth to taste..has a bit of a grainy consistency--how do I fix this--do I need more butter or creme...help...

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Old 04-16-2005, 05:08 PM   #2
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I'm no candy expert, so I hope someone comes round quickly to help you out. It can be a bit quiet here on weekends so be patient. I just wanted to welcome you to the boards. Hope you enjoy it around here.
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:46 AM   #3
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Plain sugar, or sucrose, crystalizes as it cools. It is a real challenge to avoid this problem. Most recipes I know for caranel add a bit of corn syrup. The corn syrup remains smooth and syrupy and helps keep the sucrose from crystalizing.

Oh, and you must scrape the syrup from the pan sides to prevent them from overcooking and crystallizing as well.

Hope this helps you.

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Old 04-17-2005, 05:11 AM   #4
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ALso, not cooking long enough, or cooking at too high a heat can cause the crystallization.
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Old 04-17-2005, 06:11 AM   #5
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While making the sugar caramel brush the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water. I have also heard that a little lemon juice will also help stop crystalisation.
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Old 04-17-2005, 04:57 PM   #6
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Humm ... several things can cause the problem - as others have noted.

(1) Temperature ... either undercooked (below 234-F/112-C) or overcooked (above 240-F/115-C). This is a very small window ... you can't just eyeball it ... you need a good candy thermometer.

(2) One undissolved sugar crystal can be the seed to start a recrystalization chain reaction. Don't know if you're using the dry (melting the sugar without added water) or the wet (disolving the sugar in water) method ... but as it cooks and bubbles up - you can get a stray sugar crystal on the side of the pan that can then fall back into the mix when you add the cream and butter. You have a couple of options: (1) as Haggis suggested, keep brushing the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, and keep a lid on the pot when it first starts to boil for about the first 3 minutes or so, so that any crystals will dissolve and go back into the mix before it reaches caramel temp, or (2) at the beginning when you start to heat the sugar add (a) lemon juice or (b) corn syrup.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:26 PM   #7
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Grainy Caramel Sauce...my fix.

I can't explain the science of it but I notice that when I cook something like this, I get better and creamier results if I turn down the temp a little and let it take it's time.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pattycake
I just made good old caramel sauce from sugar, creme and a bit of butter and vanilla...after a try or two I got the caramelizing down... The color is great and the flavor good--rich and deep. The trouble is that as it cools it isn't that smooth to taste..has a bit of a grainy consistency--how do I fix this--do I need more butter or creme...help...
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:42 PM   #8
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Definitely keep the cooking temperature fairly slow. It takes longer, and your arm aches from stirring, but you get better caramel!

Also, when pouring out, DO NOT scrape the sides! Empty the pan as quickly as possible, but without scraping it out. It's those scrapings which crystallise, and spoil the end-product nby giving it that graininess.
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:06 AM   #9
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caramel

did you use a dark sugar, (raw) and did you stir after it came to the boil, i found that spoilt the whole deal, but the sugar does make a difference.
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:10 AM   #10
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Definitely reduce the heat, don't stop stirring for a second, don't scrape down the sides and when done, pour out REALLY QUICKLY and don't scrape out the saucepan. And add a drop or two of glycerine!
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:25 AM   #11
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A few tips you might want to consider:

(1). Agitation causes crystallization.
(2). The spoon you use to stir should be washed before you place it back in the caramel.

Candy formulas are like people no two are the same. And since you are adding cream and butter which are fats you are going to need twice as much corn syrup mainly because these products interfere with crystallization. Caramels contain both a lot of corn syrup and fat. You would need twice as much to keep the crystals fine like in divinity or fudge. But in caramel making you want to prevent crystallization. Your heat should be about 244 to 248, use a pan that is smaller than your stove top eye this way the pan will heat up the sides as well, you can also lightly grease the inside of your pan with peanut oil or vegetable oil before you begin. One key thing here is too have your pan spotlessly clean before you begin wipe it out with vinegar this insures all residue is removed.

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Old 11-09-2006, 09:29 PM   #12
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If fats interfere with crystallization, and so does corn syrup (right?), then why would I need to add "twice as much corn syrup" if I am using fats? For flavor purposes? Or science purposes?

Thanks
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:44 AM   #13
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I think everyone is confusing caramel with caramel sauce. I think that patty was refereing to caramel sauce in which you caramelize the sugar to about 310 degrees F and then add in the boiling cream or milk and then that makes the sauce.
Caramel is made by bring all the ingredients to the mid 230's F and is much easier to crystalize.
All good suggestions from everyone...

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Old 06-04-2007, 04:16 PM   #14
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I dont use butter in caramel. I simply put 2 measures sugar + enough water to cover. Once caramelized I add 1 measure of cream. Stir well and let it cool. It never crystalizes nor get grainy,so I guess the butter might have something to do with it.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #15
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The easiest way I have discovered to make smooth caramel is to add sugar to pan with a few tablespoons of water. Swirl the sugar and water in the pan do its combined and the turn to medium heat. Don't stir at all. Just swirl every so often to ensure even heating. When the sugar is bubbling I usually turn it up a bit to speed the caramelisation, but slow and steady at medium heat works also. Once the desired depth of colour has been achieved (and keep an eye on it because perfect caramel is only a short distraction from a burnt mess) take off the heat and add cream (warming cream is a good idea) stirring vigorously until combined. At this stage it may seem like it is going to crystal use but keep stirring (after cream is in and while I am stirring I get the pan back on medium heat to help combine). This works for me every time. Best advice is melt the sugar down before adding any of the fat (cream, butter, milk) and don't stir!! Until the fat is added.
Good luck.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:23 PM   #16
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This thread has brought us a whole new bunch of newbies. Welcom to all to DC. Great place to find an answer to any problems. Lot of fun, and don't forget to look at the Breville Pie Maker thread. We are always looking for new members to the purple cult group. But please read the whole thread before you rush out in the middle of the night to purchase your own pie maker.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:23 PM   #17
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Welcome to DC, Meegle! You gave some excellent advice that I will definitely use for making caramel! Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:46 AM   #18
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Corn syrup corn syrup corn syrup. That's what is for. :)
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