Looking for inexpensive ways to stir caramel

John Duxbury
@john-duxbury
09/04/14 05:19:00PM
45 posts

Hello All. We're starting to do a fair amount of caramel business and it's very time consuming stirring a batch of caramel for an hour or so. I'd love to have the $$$ to buy a Savage melter but that's not in the cards for right now. Has anyone tried to make / adapt their own stirring equipment, similar in concept to the professional models? I'm using a 5qt pot to make it now and would like to go up to a 20qt pot. Thanks for the help, John


updated by @john-duxbury: 04/09/15 11:52:43PM
Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
09/08/14 02:05:05PM
98 posts

I've tried to do the same but gave up, ended up wasting more then we were making. Having the right balance of heat and correct agitation was difficult to achieve. If you find a way I'd love to hear about it. We ended up altering our recipe to make it a little quicker and with less agitation.

John Duxbury
@john-duxbury
09/09/14 06:40:49PM
45 posts

Thanks Dirke. I'm finding the same thing. I just came back from the Philadelphia Candy Show and was talking to Savage Brothers about the same issue. They don't see any other solution than buying a fairly expensive machine. if you don't mind me asking, what changes were you able to make that allowed the manual process to go faster? John

Larry2
@larry2
09/10/14 12:24:33AM
110 posts
Using evaporated milk instead of regular milk would speed the process up because there is less liquid to evaporate. Same with sweetened condensed milk (although the brands of sweetened condensed milk I've checked don't have any protein; which would increase the cold flow).Letting your butter come to room temp helps a lot as well.I've tried using a fan to blow the caramel while cooking, but I'm not sure that helped much.Also the pot shape could help. ( a wider pot will have a greater surface area for evaporation than a tall narrow one).
John Duxbury
@john-duxbury
09/10/14 01:06:55PM
45 posts

Thanks Larry. I do use sweetened condensed milk and I'll try your other suggestions.

Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
09/12/14 01:37:28PM
98 posts

I cook all the sugars, corn syrups, butters etc together first and bring it up to 240 then add the creams then bring it back up again. Reduces the time by about 20 minutes for me. similar taste to a traditional caramel BUT not exactly the same.

Marie Schorp
@marie-schorp
12/08/14 02:38:45PM
2 posts

Hi!

My store has a Savage stove with the largest copper kettle. You may want to know that it takes 3 hours of hand stirring to produce the caramel though....

BTW I was reading your post about fudge. I am new to the forum. Did anyone respond. I too am having the devil's time finding commercial recipes for fudge, specifically copper kettle fudge (the Savage kettle again).

Would much appreciate it if you could share what comes your way???

Tx,

Marie

Larry2
@larry2
02/26/15 09:25:38AM
110 posts

I've found a reasonable way to stir caramel for most of the cook time. It's the Ardente Gourmet Stirrer. It is a battery powered stirrer that has two blade sizes. One is 9" and the other is around 14". Another chocolate site suggested that a deep fryer makes a good caramel cooker. I bought a Presto Multi Cooker (6 quart). It works pretty well.

I can let the caramel stir in the device until it reaches 218 or so. Then I have to stir it by hand to prevent scorching. It's not a perfect solution as the batch size is really small, I still have to stir it by hand for a little while, and it is easy to overshoot the target  temperature, but it sure is wonderful to be able to put a batch of caramel on, then continue prepping the pans and such to recieve the caramel. It takes the hands on time for a single batch of about 4 pounds from 40 minutes down to about 10 minutes. :)

I haven't tried it with my regular large pot because frankly my stove is crappy (glass top) and the presto cooker gets the heat into the caramel so much faster and more consitently.

Paul2
@paul2
02/28/15 12:44:47PM
20 posts

I use a groen steam kettle for both my caramel and fudge. It get's up to about 295f which is hot enough to caramelize sugar, but not hot enough to scorch it. I just add the ingredients, stir until dissolved, add a temp probe attached to a thermometer with an alarm set to the desired temp, then walk away to do something else. The syrup will stir its self through convection. I should mention I'm making American style caramel as opposed to European style. I don't caramelize the suger first, just let it happen during the cook. The other advantage is the kettle tilts, so pouring out the syrup is easy. The down side is they can be pricey, though I bought my 40 qt used for less then $1000USD.

cannoli.killer
@cannolikiller
05/07/15 04:56:32PM
10 posts

@larry2 It looks as though you're using a stand to hang the stirrer above your pot.  Does this help with the issue of blades missing the bottom of the pot, (read in Amazon reviews) or was this constructed for another reason?

Thanks!

Larry2
@larry2
05/08/15 11:41:00AM
110 posts

No, the stand is there to keep the stirrer from acting like a lid. When the stirrer was resting on the cooker, the caramel quickly boiled over. With it raised up a bit, the water evaporates faster and helps prevent boilover.

The spindle is in contact with the pot, however the stirring blades are 1/16" to 1/8" inch from the bottom of the pot. You could sand or machine the tip of the spindle to reduce that distance, but there would still probably be some gap.

I tried adding silicone scrapers to the blades. That experiment failed as the caramel still scorched. I found it more effective to simply use the stirrer til 218 degrees, then stir by hand. No more scorching, but I still saved time over stirring the entire time.

 

I've toyed with the idea of stacking two stirring machines to increase the power of the stir, and hopefully stir the caramel faster, thus helping prevent scorching, but I haven't sprung for another stirrer to test this.

If you try it out, please let us know how it goes.

Thanks,

Larry

 

 

Sebastian
@sebastian
05/09/15 06:44:17AM
754 posts

Have you considered starting with powdered milk (NFDM), and adding butter and water to reconstitute it, but to a lower level of moisture than you'd have with your standard fluid milk to reduce the time needed for moisture removal?

cannoli.killer
@cannolikiller
05/30/15 03:17:50PM
10 posts

Thanks Larry!  I'm still on the fence about it, but it'd be really nice to free up some time whenever... things really get cookin'. ;)

@sebastian, have you done this?  What were your results like?


updated by @cannolikiller: 05/30/15 03:19:59PM
Sebastian
@sebastian
05/30/15 04:04:25PM
754 posts

Every day for years.  Some of the best caramels in the world are made that way.

cannoli.killer
@cannolikiller
05/30/15 04:40:14PM
10 posts

Sounds like a "do it and find out!"  I was under the impression that fat content made a difference in a caramel, but honestly I've never tried using a defatted liquid/powder.  I bet it works wonders for balancing that profitability equation, too.  Thanks for sharing!

Sebastian
@sebastian
05/30/15 05:17:02PM
754 posts

it does.  you'll need to compensate by adding milk fat (or a soft fat of your choosing).

Sebastian
@sebastian
05/30/15 06:12:24PM
754 posts

Here - this will be a good resource for you mate.  Let me know when you've got something you're happy with and i'll buy some 8-)

 

http://nca.files.cms-plus.com/ResidentCourse/Week2/Labs/ResCourseWk2LbCH10&11Caramel,Fudge&Toffee.pdf


updated by @sebastian: 05/30/15 06:12:35PM
cannoli.killer
@cannolikiller
05/30/15 08:53:40PM
10 posts

Hey, that looks fun!  Thanks for sharing that exercise.

My current recipe is pretty straight forward, but I've been using coconut milk.  The results are delightful, but I haven't figured out how to not lose money on it or compromise it's quality.  Some messing around is definitely in order before I can bring a caramel product to market.

Daniel Herskovic
@daniel-herskovic
06/22/15 08:35:14AM
132 posts

Sebastian,

Thank you for the link you provided. It is a gold mine of very valuable information!

 

Sebastian
@sebastian
06/22/15 03:48:18PM
754 posts

it's a very useful overview.  All i ask is for the opportunity to buy some caramels when you've reduced your learnings to practice 8-)

dromesburg
@dromesburg
12/28/17 12:24:43PM
3 posts

Paul2:

I use a groen steam kettle for both my caramel and fudge. It get's up to about 295f which is hot enough to caramelize sugar, but not hot enough to scorch it. I just add the ingredients, stir until dissolved, add a temp probe attached to a thermometer with an alarm set to the desired temp, then walk away to do something else. The syrup will stir its self through convection. I should mention I'm making American style caramel as opposed to European style. I don't caramelize the suger first, just let it happen during the cook. The other advantage is the kettle tilts, so pouring out the syrup is easy. The down side is they can be pricey, though I bought my 40 qt used for less then $1000USD.

Paul, I saw your post on the Groen steam kettle. I am starting to make larger than 5 lb batchs of caramels by hand. Also some of my 5 lb batches seem to be slightly off from time to time regarding the firmness. I check the temp of my thermometer by boiling the water, and checking. Also the firmness test in the glass of colder water form ball, yet slightly sticky.

Using the Groen, is it fairly easy to test your batch of caramels. I look for the chewy mainly Firm Ball stage, would you have a few minutes to explain or shed some light. The Savage Bros Fire Mixer14 is extremely expensive. Thank you in advance Paul or even anyone that has experience and exposure using the Groen Steam Kettle for Caramels.  Thanks!

Tags

Member Marketplace


Activity

Clay Gordon
 
@clay • one month ago • comments: 0
Posted a response to "Alcohol shot inclusions"
"Mark - This is the archive site and it's not getting many visitors. You can ask this over at the new ChocolateLife site. Use the "Forgot Password"..."
jisimni_mark
 
@joe-john • one month ago • comments: 0
Created a new forum topic:
Alcohol shot inclusions
Jerry Caudle
 
@jerry-caudle • 2 months ago • comments: 0
Posted a response to "F/S 45LB PER BATCH - PREFECT CHOCOLATE TEMPERING MINI WHEEL TEMPERING AIR-2.0"
"perfect chocolate temperer AIR 2.0"
Jerry Caudle
 
@jerry-caudle • 2 months ago • comments: 1
Posted a new Comment on @jerry-caudle:
"looking to purchase a perfect chocolate temperer AIR 2.0.....needed immediately. I can be reached at mayberrycandles@hotmail.com or call 336-786-6602 and..."
Clay Gordon
 
@clay • 2 months ago • comments: 0
Posted a response to "Nutritional Info"
" jisimni_mark: Hi guys, I miss this forum... I have a question which has been bugging me, related to labeling the finished product: So, if..."
jisimni_mark
 
@joe-john • 2 months ago • comments: 0
Created a new forum topic:
Nutritional Info
Coracao_Chocolate