It’s important to get timing and temperature right when making caramel, and this implies being vigilant. For small scale production of caramel, ensure that your heat source distributes heat evenly and monitor the caramelization process closely. This prevents recrystallization and burning the sugar. For medium to large scale caramel production, consider investing in automated caramel making equipment.
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Caramel making equipment for long and short caramel
“Short” and “long” caramels are terms that refer to soft and hard caramels, respectively. Short caramels are very moist and soft and would usually stick to their wrappers when you unwrap them. Long caramels, on the other hand, are chewy and do not leave residue on their wrappers.
The difference between these caramel types is in the amount of moisture present in each, and how much heat you use when cooking them. When making soft caramels, mix water (about a quarter of the sugar’s quantity) with sugar and transfer the syrup to a confectionary batch cooker. To make hard caramels, sprinkle sugar in a dissutator and cook over low heat (around 32 °C or 90 °F), stirring constantly to prevent burning. Special caramel making equipment is neither necessary nor recommended for small scale production, but for much more than that, investing in a batch or continuous caramel making machine would be a smart move. An electronic mixer is a good starting point as well.
Control the temperature to get good caramels
When making caramels, recrystallization is one big pitfall you need to be very careful to avoid. It happens when you subject caramels to an abrupt change of temperature while cooking. To avoid ending up with clumpy, burnt, or otherwise useless caramel, keep a firm grip on the temperature which should be around 118 °C (245 °F). For one thing, don’t introduce the cream, butter, or other ingredients when the caramel is still on the cooker. Also, take the caramel off the cooker as soon as it adopts an even, amber color. Once it reaches the stage, burning is just a step away.
Making salted caramel candies
The popularity of salted caramel candies is certainly on the rise. You can find them practically everywhere, from ice cream to confectionary. The best part is that salted caramel candies only require a slight modification to the making process. To make salted caramel candies, sprinkle coarse sea salt (approximately the same quantity as the sugar you used to make the caramel) over the top of the caramel after you’ve allowed it to cool for between 8-10 minutes. For large scale production, water-cooling is handled by the cooling wheel. The machine also handles the cutting and wrapping of the cooked caramel.