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Cajeta or Dulce de Leche

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

I've been reading here for some time but haven't posted before. I cooked professionally for several years a long time ago after a 2 year apprenticeship. I make no claims to any skills with making sweets of any kind, and that's where my question comes from.
This year we've had an abundance of milk from our dairy goats so in addition to cheese, drinking milk and feeding our chickens I decided to make milk caramel or Dulce de Leche. I followed Alton Brown's recipe from Food Network and the Cajeta turned out very tasty. The problem I'm running into is crystallization. I am putting it hot from the pot into canning jars and sealing the lids with the cooling process. It keeps well, but after about a week begins to crystalize to the point where it practically has to be chiseled out of the bottom of the jar. Microwaving will melt it but you don't always want it hot. Is this normal? Any suggestions for making a more stable caramel? The ingredients are very minimal, including just goat's milk, Mexican moreno sugar, vanilla and baking soda. Thanks very much for any suggestions.
post #2 of 10
I've never made it so I'm just going to do some guessing.

Are you using a thermometer so you don't overcook it? And are you adjusting that temperature for altitude?

I think you're cooking to a stage where it sets up. Less cooking should help it stay fluid.

Of course, refrigeration probably contributes to it crystallizing as well.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 10
Try adding a little cream of Tartar to your mix also when you stir it in the pot while cooking, do not stir it hard ,so as it comes up around sides of pot then dripping back down again into the caramel as this will form crystals later when cooled. Good Luck
CHEFED
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'm not using a thermometer. The milk is cooked at a simmer for several hours. I remember my mother and grandmother used to make it out of sweetened condensed milk cooked right in the can and there was never any crystalization issue. Regarding the cream of tartar, I usually add the baking soda at the time the milk begins to color. Should the CT go in the same time?
post #5 of 10
Cooked in the can it willo not crystalize because no direct heat or hot sides of pot occur. Put tartar in at beginning as this is when sugar starts to change its structure as temp goes up it goes thru different stages.
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Any recommendation about amount of cream of tartar? I make the caramel starting with 1 gallon of goat's milk to 12 ounces of sugar. I add 1 tsp. of bicarb when the milk begins to barely color. Thanks!
post #7 of 10
Since I never used goats milk I am estimating 3/4 levelt. What is purpose of baking soda???As when it is used in some sauces it tends to darken them.
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Not sure, but I assume that's the reason it's used in the caramel. It becomes a beautiful brown.
post #9 of 10
True, It will brown milk, when heated.
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post #10 of 10
Raising the pH of the liquid (by adding the baking soda) hastens Maillard reactions, thus increasing browing/decreasing browning time. I just learned that yesterday when researching for an article:)
Jenni
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Pastry Methods and Techniques
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Jenni
Pastry Chef Online
Pastry Methods and Techniques
We're all home cooks when we're cooking at home.
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