AskTheChef basic technique caramelisation

Technique: caramelisation

Below you can find essential information about the caramelisation technique.

Technique: caramelisation

Equipment required:
– pan with a thick bottom
– Réaumur thermometer or Celsius-thermometer
– brush
– bowl with iced water.

Caramelisation. The molecular characteristics of sugar change when it is heated. These changes cause the sugar to liquefy when heated and the colour to brown at 118°C. This temperature must be carefully monitored with a Réaumur thermometer, or Celsius thermometer. The temperature determines the texture of the resulting caramel. You can create caramel in two different ways: the wet preparation and the dry preparation.

Basic ingredients for caramel:

100gwhite syrup

Step-by-step instructions for the wet preparation of caramel:

  • Precisely measure the ingredients.
  • Boil the water in a pan (preferably copper).
  • Add the sugar and the white syrup and stir until everything has dissolved.
  • Gently heat the sugar solution on a low heat until it starts to boil. Please note that the temperature of boiling sugar is higher than boiling water so do not test the solution with your fingers.
  • Carefully monitor the temperature with a Réaumur thermometer or Celsius-thermometer.
  • Keep the edges of the pan clean with the brush moistened with iced water. By cleaning the edges of the pan you prevent the graining or crystallisation of the caramel.
  • Once the mixture has reached the desired temperature, cool it down by placing the pan in some ice water to prevent further caramelising.

Step-by-step instructions for the dry preparation of caramel:

  • Pour an even layer of sugar in the pan and slowly heat this on a low heat.
  • Once the sugar starts to melt, gently swirl the pan and allow the sugar to dissolve equally. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to move sugar from the edges of the pan to the centre.
  • Heat the sugar until the desired temperature and colour are reached.

Temperature table for caramel:

Thin string84°R105°C
Thick string86°R107°C
Small ball92°R115°C
Large ball97°R121°C
Very breakable115°R144°C

Can be used for:
Granulated sugar, cane sugar, muscovado sugar, isomalt


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