The Right Pot for Making Candy

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by iluvpeasantmeal, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. iluvpeasantmeal

    iluvpeasantmeal

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    Hi Folks, new to the site - I'm by no means a professional, but I do take great care and pride in what I do make, when I make it. I also am a firm believer in using the proper tools for the job, and I know they make specific tools for specific jobs. So, I need advice on what is the correct pot type for making candy. I so far, have gathered that a 3 quart size is probably optimum, for divinity, and the amount of fudge, and toffee I make. But is copper, or stainless steel or the combination of copper bottom stainless clad pot the best tool for this? Please good sound advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Gary & Becky 
     
  2. norcalbaker59

    norcalbaker59 Banned

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    I only make candy a few times a year, and it's limited to toffees and caramels. Any heavy gauge stainless pot with good heat conductivity will work fine. I normally use my all-clad pot, but at times have used a lighter weight cuisinart pot. Confection suppliers make both copper and stainless sugar pots, so using a stainless steel pot isn't out of the norm.

    A good thermometer is key. I use both a candy thermometer and an instant read thermometer since most candy thermometers have vague and difficult to read displays.

    Humility is a major concern as well. I literally check my local weather forecast and humidity to determine a date to make candy. I'll dehumidify in advance if necessary.

    My approach to kitchen tools in general is to hold off purchase of specialized equipment until I've advance to the intermediate level. I find the zeal of a budding passion can over-rule necessary, sensible and practical purchases. Retailers. Bloggers, and industry manufacturers tend to market a lot of uncessary equipment. Having taken a lot of baking and cooking classes in some of the most reputable culinary schools (CIA included), I've learned that most of the equipment and tools sold in retailers like Sur La Table and William Sonoma aren't in commercial kitchens. At the end of the day, skill and knowledge are the factors that determine results. If you can learn to make excellent candy in an all-clad, it's not going to be much better in a copper pot.
     
  3. iluvpeasantmeal

    iluvpeasantmeal

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    Thank You, NorRcalbaker59!

    I appreciate the detailed response. We too are in agreement with "tools" for the kitchen. Where I was going with that was...For some applications certain materials are better at handling those temperature ranges than other materials. I was not sure, if this candy cooking was getting into that situation, where copper or stainless steel was the ideal choice, suited for handling that temperature and maintaining the heat.

    Instincts told me that stainless clad, might be the way to go, just needed that backed up.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    The Vollrath tribute line of clad would be an excellent choice here even though I'm not a candy maker.
     
  5. norcalbaker59

    norcalbaker59 Banned

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    Speaking of Vollrath, I've yet to find a better high temperature spatula! Their spatula reigns supreme in my kitchen.
     
  6. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I have little experience using high temperature spatulas and the ones I use are from Matfer:

    113724 10” 4 oz.

    113725 11 1/4” 4 oz.

    113735 13 3/4” 4 oz.

    113745 17 3/4” 5 oz.
     
  7. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Lets look at the materials first, ok.?

    Copper

    Pros:

    Excellent heat responsiveness

    Doesn't warp

    Cons:

    Expensive

    Needs constant maintainence (cleaning oxidization inside and out)

    reacts with acidic ingredients

    Aluminum

    Pros:

    Excellent heat conductor

    Cheap like borscht

    Cons.

    Warps faster than the USS Enterprise (unless its cast aluminum)

    Needs constant maintainence (cleaning oxidization)

    Reacts with acidic ingredients

    (Caveat:  Never stir  a milk/cream liquid in an aluminum pot with a metal whisk--you'll get grey metallic liquids)

    S/S

    Pros:

    Doesn't need much maintainence

    Won't warp

    Better quality "sandwich bottom" pots very rarely scorch scorch caramels or other items

    Cons:

    Lousy heat conductor

    many mnfctrs reluctant to put a "spout" or lip on the pot

    Good ones are pricey but worth it.

    Copper and S/S sandwiched  pots

    Pros:

    Will never develop oxidization

    Good heat responsiveness

    Won't warp

    Cons:

    Pricey (but worth it)

    Still need to shine up the copper jacket if you want it to look good.

    Basically, for the last ten years I'd do a 4 kg batch of caramels twice a week in a s/s pot, as well as pate de fruits, sugar syrups, and jams.  Copper is nice, but you constantly have to remove the oxidization with salt and acid (vinegar, lemon j.)  The pots are pretty heavy when they get bigger, and they dent easy if you are not carefull.

    I hate aluminum.  Mainly because the pots warp, but also because they oxidize
     
    amna ahmed fraz and captainbligh like this.