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evaporated milk boiling

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  • oakjoan Dec 14, 2005 12:21 PM
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I have been slowly making my way through my new J. Oliver's Kitchen cookbook and came across a page describing cooking evaporated milk for a long period of time (hours) to, I guess, get it carmelized.

He has tips and warnings to keep them submerged in water the whole time to keep them from exploding.....

Has anybody ever done this? Not the exploding part.

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  1. am I missing something? to keep what from exploding?

    2 Replies
    1. re: withalonge

      You boil an enclosed can. You don't want it to explode.

      1. re: Hojo

        oh, I get it... very interesting. I imagine you would have to weight the can?

    2. I have seen (and made) recipes for boiling sweetened condensed milk where the results resembles dolce de leche - but in most supermarkets you can buy dolce de leche, so why bother. Boiling unsweetened evaporated mil k seems odd - there is no sugar there, what is going to caramelize then? As you said, you have to make sure the cans remain submerged under water the whole time.

      I have never seen that one bu tI suppose it is as safe as the sweetened variety boiling.

      1. The old recipes for this, and they have been around a long time, call for a can sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated. If you are concerned about it exploding you can just pour it into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook it very slowly stirring occasionally until it is thick and caramely.

        I have made cajeta this way with goats milk, sugar and cinnamon that way. It has a really nice tang.

        1. I have made this using sweetened condensed milk, but i assume that it would be the same as using evaporated milk since it is just the non sugared version. As long as you don't get a totally roliicking boil where the heat from the bottom of the pot gets EXTREMELY hot, you shouldn't have to worry about exploding can. Just be sure to let it cool a bit before you open it or the pressure might cause a problem.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Hojo

            how long do you boil/simmer it?

            1. re: adamclyde

              I've boiled it from anywhere between an hour and 8 hours. Good either way.

          2. Yep, no problem, just keep it covered with water and when you're done, wait for the can and contents to cool before you open it. You can speed up the process using a pressure cooker.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/crave...

            1. Didn't realize it had to be sweetened. Isn't condensed milk the same as evaporated? Aside from the sugar?

              Having never made dulce de leche, I have no clue....I just eat the Haaaagen Dasssszzch ice cream.

              2 Replies
              1. re: oakjoan

                Evaporated milk is just a thicker milk - from which some moisture has been extracted through evaporation.

                Sweetened condensed milk - has sugar in it, which caramelizes nicely into a caramel when you cook it for a long time (you could start with real milk and regular sugar and achieve the same results, it just takes longer).

                1. re: oakjoan

                  evaporated milk and condensed milk are really really different, and the sugar that is a main ingredient in condensed is a big factor of course.

                  both of them are used for cooking tho -- evaporated milk whips up really nice (you give it a hard chill in the freezer first) and is used in some old southern pies

                  for dulce de leche, it's leche condensado all the way!

                2. I know this post is long 'gone,' but I want to mention that milk contains sugars of its own.
                  So theoretically, you could get thick, caramelized milk without any additional sugar, from either evaporated milk, or plain milk. The reason why not many people are doing this is probably because of the taste factor, and the colouring factor. To put it bluntly, sugar (and salt) make everything taste better. It melts, it crunches (okay, so crunching may not be so important in the boiled milk category), it thickens, and can bring out flavors and sensations by just being sweet. It also colours (caramelizes) far more quickly than if you were to rely solely on the sugars in milk, so you can end up with a deeper coloured, eye-pleasing sauce in less time. There is also the factor that, without sugar to hold it in check, the 'funny taste' often associated with milk boiled too long can become prominent. If you've ever tried making confiture de lait / dulce de leche / whatever from its base ingredients (in other words: no cans) you might have been thinking to tinker with the fat content, & / or the sugar content of the confiture de lait. Like I did. You might have thought along the lines of, say,
                  'Less sugar means more milk'
                  'Less fat and less sugar means more milk solids'
                  'Milk solids = protein, and more of the other good stuff'
                  Well, here is where things can become tricky. The non-fat portion of milk needs intense coddling if you want to evade something sour, stiff but not in a good way, jam that does not resemble your coveted confiture de lait in anyway. For instance, if you tried to make a version with only skim milk and stevia, you would find yourself chained to the kitchen for a long time, watching a batch that won't brown, and would eventually need some heavy pulsing and sieving when it finally hardens up into a peanut butter-like consistency.

                  So, it's difficult to do it without either the can (=fat content), or the sugar.
                  The sugar - we've gone over how it helps.
                  The can, which we will be relying on concerning boiled evaporated milk, helps in two ways.
                  Canned milk (both evaporated milk and condensed milk) is pretty high in fat unless stated otherwise. Milk fat reacts more positively to heat, compared to the milk non-fat (by which I mean the milk solids, the H2O, etc.).
                  Milk in cans have no way of losing the large amount of moisture they do lose when cooked otherwise. Which means you are guaranteed that your moo-juice cajeta won't end up too parchy or chewy, unless you cook your can of milk that extra hour longer, wherein you might achieve that fudgy texture some people would die for.

                  Did that make sense? I'm not too sure, because I'm beginning to hear cows mooing in their cans right now. Maybe it's time to stay away from the dairy for a while-