candy temperature stages
Definition: Sugar goes through several distinct stages as it is heated up in the candy-making process. Candy makers drip small amounts of the molten sugar into cold water and observe the results to see how far along the candy is. Depending on the kind of candy being made, the sugar will be heated to different stages. From earliest to latest, the stages are: thread (forms thin threads in water); soft ball (the molten sugar becomes a soft ball that collapses out of water); firm ball (firmer ball that is still pressable); hard ball (sticky, remains in a ball shape when pressed); soft crack (removed from cold water, the candy forms pliable threads); hard crack (forms brittle threads that break when pressed); caramel (the sugar syrup turns light yellow to dark brown). Past the dark-caramel stage (or 350 degrees F), the sugar syrup begins to turn bitter. Of course, a much more precise and less complicated to test candy temperatures is to use a candy thermometer
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