Equipment for making caramel / recipe

Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
02/01/13 09:18:47PM
98 posts

Besides loving to eat caramel. yes by the handful, I make it and it's a great seller. only problem is I need some equipment to make it in large batches and faster then what I am doing on a stove top. I need help and suggestions. If you have any great recipes and want to share, I would love it.

I have a great recipe but I think it needs to be tweeked or changed altogether as it takes 2-3 hours sometimes to make a large batch. Maybe I am crazy and it does take that long but I don't know many others that have the patience to make caramel so they don't. I've only just started digging deeper into the world of caramel so any seasoned advice would be greatly appreciated. this stuff is tricky!

Thanks in advance.


updated by @dirke-botsford: 04/09/15 06:16:42AM
Sebastian
@sebastian
02/02/13 06:01:20AM
754 posts

The folks at Savage equipment should be able to help you with both.

Jenny Bunker
@jenny-bunker
02/04/13 08:22:13PM
10 posts

I am not sure what you consider a large batch, but it usually takes me about 45 min from measuring ingredients to pouring the caramel and it makes about a180 pieces. Most people that make huge batches use a rounded copper sugar pot with an open flame, but that is some serious stuff! I dip them and I find the most time consuming part cutting them up. I just bought a caramel cutter so that should help. Hope this helps.

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
02/04/13 09:43:32PM
194 posts

My batch makes about 350 pieces and takes about an hour. I have the round-bottomed copper pot and a Savage stove. Cooking caramels can be fast or slow. If you want more color and possibly deeper flavor, it takes a longer time. For me, I want a medium dark color and a nice caramel flavor. I can do it with my recipe in the hour. If I need to slow it down because of not having someone around to help pour, I can cook slower and just let it cook for several hours. As Jenny said, cutting takes almost as much time as cooking.

Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
02/04/13 11:37:06PM
98 posts

Thanks for the replies. So from the response I'm in line with time and batch counts. I've been in touch with Savage, we'll see where to go from here....

chocochoco
@chocochoco
02/05/13 06:19:18AM
56 posts

Hi Jenny, what caramel cutter did you buy? Thanks.

Omar

Jenny Bunker
@jenny-bunker
02/05/13 12:07:12PM
10 posts

Omar, here is the link to the cutter that I bought.

http://tomric.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2960

chocochoco
@chocochoco
02/05/13 12:59:43PM
56 posts

Jenny, thanks for the info. Unfortunately, the website doesn't give any detail. Could you help me with it?

What is the cutting area (length)?

What is the total length (including handles)?

Do the handles rotate independently from the wheels and rod/shaft?

How many wheels the cutter has?

Can you adjust the width of the wheels to any need or are you limited by spacers or combination of spacers?

What is the maximum thickness it can cut (wheel diameter - spacer diameter)?

Thanks a lot :)

Sharon Strika - Webb
@sharon-strika-webb
02/05/13 07:05:36PM
4 posts

How about a copper kettel and a paddle? Anyone work with Real butter and Pet milk anymore? I do. Cook quik and high, temp dependes on if you are coating apples or making pieces.

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
02/05/13 11:01:23PM
132 posts

Caramels are tricky. One degree off and you can have a batch that is too soft or too hard to cut properly. My recipe is designed so that I can cut the caramels on the confectionery guitar. I cut and seperate 250 pieces in about 10-15 minutes I find this to be more efficient that working with a caramel cutter. Of course not all recipes are fit for a confectionery guitar.

Susan Van Horn
@susan-van-horn
02/05/13 11:13:32PM
32 posts

Daniel ~ If you are using a confectionary guitar, does that mean that your caramels a quite soft? I thought that the strings on guitars were too fragile to cut caramels that had some chew to them. And if yours are soft, how do you get them to keep their shape without spreading?

Jenny Bunker
@jenny-bunker
02/05/13 11:59:56PM
10 posts

The cutter is adjusted by putting little spacers in between the blades so you are limited to what spacers you have. The cutting area is 12in and the total length with handles is 24 in. The blade are fixed to the rod so you have to kind of roll it and reposition. The cutter came with about 20 blades, and you could probably cut something up to 1.5 inches thick.

Larry2
@larry2
02/06/13 08:40:12AM
110 posts

We're using a caramel cutter & I've found that after cutting in one direction & getting long strips, I need to separate the strips before they stick back together. Thus I can just score the top & cut with a knife to make the dippable pieces. - It is a relatively soft caramel, but does everyone else cut both ways with a caramel cutter?

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
02/06/13 09:50:24PM
132 posts

Susan, My caramels are firm enough to have straight sides and be enrobed well. I would not describe my caramel as overly chewy. I was taught to add cocoa butter to my caramel recipe so that it makes a very clean cut. Other caramel recipes are indeed to sticky or firm to be cut by a guitar.

Daniel Martin
@daniel-martin
02/20/13 10:11:57PM
3 posts

Dirke,

I used to make caramel on the stove top and 12 lbs was the max size I could make. It took at least 2 hours and I had to stir to keep it from scorching. I bought a Savage table top firemixer and made a few 25lb batches in it but I didn't like it because it stirs too fast and heats only from the bottom. I bought a Groen TDB-7 Steam kettle (much cheaper than Fremixer and easier to find used)and it makes great caramel. I used to use the sweetened condensed milk but now use half & half because the kettle boils it so fast. The kettle doesn't scorch it either. I make about 25 lbs which is the max the kettle can do. I only cook it to 240F. I have found that commercial corn syrup (confectioner's) works a lot better than the store brands and doesn't sugar as easily.If you want I can give you the recipe, its not very complicated

Dan

Patricia Chapman
@patricia-chapman
02/20/13 11:07:33PM
5 posts

I would also like to know the process you guys are using if wrapping caramels (unenrobed) into parchment squares. I cannot visualize how to reduce the time commitment for individually wrapped pieces. Not sure if anyone can describe it in words. Folded, envelope-style? Rectangles with twisted ends? Maybe this is one of those processes that goes very slowly at first, then you get a rhythym and it moves quickly?

Kerry2
@kerry2
10/09/13 10:53:33AM
2 posts

Dan,

I am also looking for a larger batch recipe. Could you please share it with me also?

Thanks,

Kerry

RebeccaC
@rebeccac
10/09/13 11:51:54AM
8 posts

Cooking: A Firemixer-14, a single batch of about 15lbs takes 1-1.5 hours to cook.

Cutting: Savage Bros. large roller cutters. (I also have a Tomric caramel cutter but in my experience it won't work for anything more than .25" or so thick.)

Recipe Scaling: We found that no changes were necessary to the ratios used in our recipe.

Daniel Martin
@daniel-martin
10/09/13 04:30:00PM
3 posts

4lb butter, 6lbs (8c) corn syrup, 4 lb brown sugar, 5 lb white sugar,2 tsp salt, 1tbs soy lecithin, 3 qts half and half. 2 tbs vanilla.

Melt butter, add cornsyrup, sugars, salt,lecithin,- stir until mixed well- add half and half- 1qt at a time.

Bring to boil and cook to 240F. remove heat, add vanilla and pour out in confined 30"x30" or +square to cool.

I don't cut or wrap but extrude later to portion for "turtles"

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
10/10/13 01:32:21AM
527 posts

Kerry;

I can provide you a recipe for an amazing cream caramel that is soft at room temp, but can be cooked longer and made more firm. My recipe doesn't need lecithin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You need to adjust for altitude. Water boils 1.25 degrees C less for every thousand feet of altitude you climb from sea level, and this makes a HUGE difference in cooking caramel.

4L Whipping Cream (35% MF)

3.6kg unsalted butter

3.6kg granulated sugar

4L Rogers Golden Corn Syrup (helps prevent crystalization)

80ml Good vanilla extract.

  • Heat the butter, sugar, corn syrup and of the cream until all is dissolved.
  • Cover and boil for 3-5 minutes.
  • Uncover and boil until 224 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the rest of the whipping cream and the vanilla.
  • Cook to EXACTLY 244 Degrees Fahrenheit for truffle centers (our altitude is 3500 feet).
  • Pour into a large NON MELTABLE container and date it.
  • Remelt and use as needed.
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
10/10/13 01:35:00AM
527 posts

I agree. The Savage Firemixer works great. We have one, and just dump the ingredients in, turn on the cooking cycle and forget about it until the alarm goes off. Free's up LOTS of time in our shop.


updated by @brad-churchill: 09/09/15 05:39:59AM
Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
10/10/13 10:11:32AM
132 posts

This past summer I really struggled with our caramels. I had to throw out several batches of crystallized caramel. I read and researched about every tip. I used clean utensils, pots, lemon juice, added sorbitol (which I am not sure helps?...) and dehumidified my room.

With the recipe that I use, I realized that if I boiled everything together I was more likely to get a crystallized batch. If I boiled the sugar with water and lemon juice(then added the glucose -- followed by the cream) I was more likely to get successful results.

Below is my recipe. I am wondering if I have an oversaturation of sugar or if it was more of an environmental problem considering that my problems were really bad this summer.I stir everything in a copper pot and multiply this recipe 7 times for my typical batch.

I would love to get some insight from you

750 grams cream

700 grams sugar (boiled with water (20% of weight of sugar) and a few tablespoons of lemon juice

200 grams glucose

30 grams sorbitol

200 grams butter

vanilla beans

sea salt

Cook to 245 degrees Farenhite

Susan Van Horn
@susan-van-horn
10/10/13 10:22:34AM
32 posts

Daniel ~ I see in a post to me in February - that I just saw. Sorry! - that you were taught to addcocoa butter to your caramels. How much do you add and when? Would you add it to your recipe above? And since I've never added sorbitol to my caramels, what exactly does it do? Does it help with crystallization? Thanks!

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
10/10/13 10:32:42AM
194 posts

In my experience, your glucose percentage is very low. I would bump up the glucose and cut out the sorbitol (for a lot of reasons).

Susan Van Horn
@susan-van-horn
10/10/13 10:42:37AM
32 posts

Hi, Ruth ~ Could you elaborate on why you would do this? Thank you so much!

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
10/10/13 11:33:15AM
132 posts

I use cocoa butter in a different recipe. The cocoa butter helps with high fat caramels from getting to oily or greasy. In addition, it can give the caramel extra structure and make the cutting a little better. I add it at the end of the cooking process.

I cut all of my caramels on the guitar. I've learned that a lot depends on how high the caramel is cooked. I find that 245 farenhite is the best temperature for me. Any higher and it will break the strings. Any lower and the caramel flows too much.

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
10/10/13 01:22:05PM
132 posts

How is sorbitol bad for caramel?

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
10/10/13 06:59:18PM
194 posts

Glucose slows down the crystallization. If you put too much in, you get excessive cold flow. I personally wouldn't use sorbitol because It can cause digestive problems, and I don't want it on my label. It is a sugar that metabolizes slower than sucrose, and binds water in a ganache. Not sure the purpose of it in a caramel. Sebastian???

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
10/10/13 07:15:42PM
132 posts

I thought sorbitol could possibly extend the shelf life of caramel and prevent it from getting grainy while in storage. With all of my crystallization problems this past summer I was willing to try a lot of things.

I would also love to get Kerry's input. I have learned a lot from her information on the web!

Kerry2
@kerry2
10/10/13 07:32:59PM
2 posts

Hi,

Thanks for all the info. I think you are thinking of another Kerry. I am just getting started and still working on my recipe. I was looking at steam kettles to make my caramel in. Can you tell me the pros and cons of both steam kettle and fire mixer? Thanks for all your help.

Larry2
@larry2
10/11/13 06:08:35PM
110 posts

I'm really intrigued with the idea of using cocoa butter to control stickiness and am going to try it out.

Daniel, may I ask what % of cocoa butter you use? I'm planning on starting with 2% by weight of raw ingredients is a good starting point but I really don't know.

Any suggestions would really help reduce the quantity of R&D batches. :)

Thank you,

Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
10/11/13 06:16:55PM
98 posts

Wow this is amazing. Fantastic response and so much great feedback! Thank you to everyone for sharing....I got a lot of experimenting to do and I gather we all got a little something out of this, hopefully you did anyways. Thanks everyone, what a great forum for conversations like these....

Susan Van Horn
@susan-van-horn
10/31/13 07:59:17PM
32 posts

Sorry for the late reply but, thank you so much for the information!

Larry2
@larry2
11/07/13 09:05:18AM
110 posts

I wanted to report back on my R&D batches. After making a few batches of caramel stirring in the cocoa butter as the caramel cooled (hoping to not burn the cocoabutter) and having those batches crystalize, we tried two methods that worked.

  1. Add melted cocoa butter to caramel immediately after taking it off the heat.
    1. This worked well and the caramel did not flow and had the added benefit of reduced stickinessdue to the increased fat content.
  2. Increase the protein in the recipe.
    1. I read that protein will help the caramel to not flow so I doubled the milk in the recipe. (increasing the net protein by about 0.35% of the total weight.

Both methods have worked very well & we've decided to go with the increased milk. - It takes longer to cook all that milk out, but tastes just right. :)

Down the road, I'm sure we'll try reducing the milk (from the increase) and increasing the sweetened condensed milk.

Larry2
@larry2
11/07/13 09:24:23AM
110 posts

We found cellophane squares at a local kitchen supply store. They look prettier than parchment because they are perfectly clear. We haven't had any issues with the caramel sticking to the cellophane.

The process is slow though. :(

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