I am new here and tried 'searching' for the answer to my caramel questions, but did not find it. I will keep looking but thought I would try my own post and see what help I can find!
I am not a professional bakery or pastry chef by any means, but am currently working at my first baking job as a baker's assistant. I learned to bake at my Grannie's knee and felt somewhat ready for this job. It is just the head baker and myself in a small bakery at the grocery store by my house. We live in a small town, so there is not much help with these questions, so hopefully some of you on here can help me out - it would be much appreciated!
We make caramel rolls (aka sticky buns) at our bakery for the restaurant across the street, and they are a big hit! Nice and big and fluffy, just like my Grannie made me growing up! The other girl I work with, the head baker, came up with the recipe and it is a great one! The only problem the restaurant has with them, is they want an ooey gooey CHEWY caramel, more than the current one (which I think is quite tasty already)! We have been trying caramel recipe after recipe and they keep asking us to try again and we are at a loss! :( We are about to break down and just make caramel from sweetened condensed milk, but really would like to find a good homemade caramel recipe instead!
We don't bake our rolls in the caramel as a lot of bakeries do, but we want to make a soft and chewy caramel to spoon on top of the rolls when they are warm out of the oven, but does not completely melt away. Does anyone have any ideas that could help us? The only problem we have is that we do not have a great supplier of baking supplies in town and our candy thermometers always seem to go missing after a few days of having them in our possession (and getting a replacement requires a trip to a different town), so we can't really do the whole "boil to softball stage" based on temperatures. :( We would prefer that, but it just doesn't seem to be for us I guess. We don't have a ton of time to keep checking the stage of the caramel by dropping pieces into ice water either - we do stay busy baking for the grocery store, the restaurant across the street, and a few other places in town - so we are looking for a recipe we can test based on some timing (by minutes) and then tweak once we try it on our stoves since we know times can vary. Any help?
If this helps, this was our last recipe we tried and it failed to even caramelize for us! :(
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
We boiled all except the vanilla til it was a rolling boil, then reduced it to a simmer and cooked it for 45 minutes and had no thickening or caramelization! :( We had found the recipe on a blog we have used before, but this one was a no go. We are willing to tweak this recipe or try another! We are looking for enough caramel to cover a hotel pan of caramel rolls!
Thanks CT Fourms! :)