Toasted Sugar

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Norcalbaker59, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Any baker's out there ever toast sugar? Is it worth the time?

    Pastry Chef Stella Parks posted a piece a while back on toasted sugar on Serious Eats. She claims toasted sugar gives exceptional caramel flavor. It takes time, up to 5 hours depending on how deep you caramelize.

    I'm curious, but wow, that's a lot of time to have the oven running.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 19, 2017
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  2. Norcalbaker59

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't heard of toasted sugar before. It sounds very interesting and I think you've made me curious as well!

    Perhaps one way to try it, without investing that many hours, is to toast a smaller quantity of sugar. I found her recipe where she does it with 4 lbs of sugar, but I found another post by her in which she gives ideas on how to toast sugar quicker. There she suggests doing a smaller quantity, or even using sugar as weights when blind baking a pie crust.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/11/how-to-quickly-toast-sugar.html
     
    ninamari, Jul 19, 2017
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  3. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Ninamari,
    Thank you for this link. I'm going to give this a try; then use the sugar in Chocolate Chunk cookies.

    This quick method also makes me wonder if i could do this overnight on a very low temperature. Use the 4 lbs in the original recipe, put in my heavy Dutch oven, drop the temperature to 220, leave it overnight.

    When I make tamales put a large pork roast in the oven at a low temperature to roast overnight. It can take 10 to 12 hours to reach 180 degrees. Of course a roast is very dense, but dropping the temperature and changing the pan from a glass pan to a heavy metal would certainly slow the toasting time.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 19, 2017
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  4. Norcalbaker59

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the overnight at the lower temp would work. In her recipe for the 4 lbs of sugar, the sugar is stirred every 30 minutes throughout the roasting process to avoid hot spots that might cause the sugar to liquify. Hers is at a higher temp though, 300 degrees. Maybe there's less risk with the lower temp? This is when I wish I worked somewhere like America's Test Kitchen where I could just experiment with these like these all day long :D (probably spoken like someone not even remotely trained in the industry ;)).

    Here's the link to the recipe (for 4 lbs of sugar): http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/05/dry-toasted-sugar-granulated-caramel-recipe.html
     
    ninamari, Jul 19, 2017
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  5. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Lol. Yeah it would be great to have a job in a test kitchen! I kind of turned my kitchen into test kitchen these last few years...funny thing as you learn more about the baking rules there's this overwhelming desire to try to break them:oops:

    I think this weekend I'm going to try the 4 pounds in the oven overnight at super low temp and see what happens. If it fails where, oh well. But if it works I end up with a ton of toasted sugar!
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 19, 2017
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  6. Norcalbaker59

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    @Norcalbaker59 if you do try it this weekend, please let us know how it turned out! Probably either a lot of toasted sugar (which now I want to try in my coffee) or the easiest way to make caramel ;)
     
    ninamari, Jul 20, 2017
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  7. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Will definitely keep you posted Ninamari
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 20, 2017
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  8. Norcalbaker59

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Did this happen yet?? :) I just read the Serious Eats piece, then Googled to see if I could find info about using a lower steady temperature as you suggest. (I recently cooked a pound of bacon in the oven, low and slow on racks at a mere 250F. Beautifully crisp. No splatter and easy cleanup. Froze the rest.)

    Also was wondering if the potential hot spots would be along the bottom sides, and would improvised cake strips help?

    Dying to know if you tried your experiment.

    Ann
     
    Apocalypso, Aug 7, 2017
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  9. Norcalbaker59

    ninamari Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forums @Apocalypso !!

    I don't think it's happened yet... We like cooking bacon in the oven as well, although we haven't tried it at a slow temperature. It's usually for breakfast so my husband cranks up the oven temp to get it done quicker :D
     
    ninamari, Aug 7, 2017
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  10. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Not yet:( I live in a 100 yr old farmhouse with no A/C. It's been in the 90's for several weeks. So I don't want to run the oven all night and roast myself out of the house. But when it cools my to do list is toasted sugar experiment and a fresh sourdough starter.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 7, 2017
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  11. Norcalbaker59

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I hear you on the heat. I live in Florida so I'm used to it but do have air conditioning. I baked a cake yesterday and decided to try the toasted sugar while I was puttering around the kitchen. I only did a small amount, a couple of unmeasured cups, in a 9" square glass pan in the small convection oven. I think lower than 300 isn't hot enough to actually affect the crystals that much. I had it at anywhere from 250 to 300 for quite a while, but only seemed to get the color change over 300, and that's at a guess that the little oven is close to on temp. I did get some melting in spots, but put the rest in a container. It's paler than I'd thought, but will have to see what I can do with it now.
     
    Apocalypso, Aug 9, 2017
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  12. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Apocalypso, ok that's helpful. The article Parks wrote said scientists can't nail down a temperature for when caramelization occurs since there are so many molecular variables. I'm going to use an all-clad stainless steel Dutch oven, 4 lbs cane sugar; leave it overnight at 275 and see what happens. i'm hoping the use of metal and enclosing the container causing the circulation of heat around the sugar may trigger caramelization.

    We bakers really are just a bunch of mad scientists run amok in the kitcheno_O
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2017
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  13. Norcalbaker59

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if you have a well-regulated oven, that will be a very interesting experiment! The mini oven isn't very accurate.
     
    Apocalypso, Aug 13, 2017
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