Can someone explain this to me?

Why is it that everytime I make caramel the “easy” way, by adding water with the sugar, it crystallizes on me?  Conversely, whenever I make caramel simply by placing sugar in a pan sans water it works, without fail, every single time.

Eat me outta here, please help me to understand this, seeing as you come from the baking side of the aisle.

I’m wondering if it has something to do with impurities in the water, or is adding water just some bullshit way to make it seem that making caramel is something mystical.


3 thoughts on “Can someone explain this to me?

  1. Whoa put me on the spot there Alan! Hahhahah. Ok I’m just an amateur but this is my educated guess. Water is a catalyst for sugar crytals so you have to add enough so that the sugar completely dissolves. Also sometimes this method creates a ring of sugar around the edge of the pot that can cause crystallization if the syrup touches it. Here are some rules to go by when making caramel: Start with a clean pot, put water in before the sugar, always use cold water and put enough to dissolve the sugar (1 part water to 3 parts sugar is good), make sure there are no sugar crustals on the edges(combat this with a wet brush), have your heat on high, and do not stir (you can swirl though). I like the water method rather then dry because it gives me more time to work with it and gives me better control of the darkness of the caramel. Also adding some glucose or corn syrup combats crystals. Good luck! Now how to stop caramel from burning is another task at hand!

  2. I was making caramel at my last job in a saute pan and slowly added sugar, and that helped. I’ve used the wet method once back in school, and I was told to put a lid on the pot to help “wash down” the sides of it. And to add to Eat me outta here’s list of additions and you want it more “natural” try honey. Anyway, good luck on the carmel making.

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