Preventing crystallisation in caramel

June 15, 2009 Maruchan No comments exist

By now, I have made quite some batches of caramel for my stroopwafels. One of the tricks making good caramel is to bring crystallisation under control. There are various suggestions about wiping the pan with a water brush and prevent stirring at critical stage and adding interfering agents to prevent crystallisation.

I have applied them all and managed to get good batches of caramel, but once I put them in the stroopwafels, they slowly started crystallizing after a few days… Fortunately, a lot of googling came up with a solution, which I have not seen anywhere in caramel web pages.

I was searching for information of the crystallisation of sugar and found the  teacher”s domain “cooking with sugar” page. It had the following statement\r\n

Cream of tartar and gelatin are examples of interfering agents. Cream of tartar is an acid; acids act on sucrose to break it into its two simpler components—the smaller molecules glucose and fructose. Because crystals form when similarly sized and shaped molecules interlock, the presence of smaller molecules among larger ones prevents crystallization. Adding gelatin to water as sugar begins to crystallize causes swelling, which forms a stress on sugar crystals. This stress changes the molecular structure of the sugar. The crystalline structure disappears and a jelly or gum forms.

\r\nAn acid can do the trick, but “cream of tartar” gives a nasty aftertaste, which is similar to baking powder. Instead, I simply use some lemon juice. I have followed this advice and I first boil some water with gelatin. Once the gelatin is disolved, I add the sugar and some lemon juice and let it simmer away. After a while the sugar begins to caramelize. I leave it on the heat, till the caramel turns dark golden brown and I can see little pufs of smoke coming out of the sugar mixture. This means the caramel is ready. I dip the hot pan in a bowl of cold water to prevent any further heating, which prevents burning of the caramel. Then I add the butter and mix it. After that I add a little water to maintainn tough syrupy consistency when it cools down. Too much water will make the stroopwafels leak syrup, too little water will make the syrup to chewy, which makes it stick between your teeth, so it is important to add the right amount.’,

‘Preventing crystallisation in caramel’

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