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Dec 13, 2010 08:48 PM

Homemade dulche de leche [split from Boston]

Thanks to all the suggestions. I think I picked up my last can of dulce de leche from a Latin American grocery in Somerville, but it was pretty far from my house. I'm afraid to boil a can myself because I may forget to check the water level. Is the home-made dulce de leche just as good as the commercial one? Cajeta would be perfect actually, I like the slight tang from the goat's milk.

@Dulce de leche...I love your handle.

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  1. I made it in a pyrex pie plate in a water bath in the oven and it came out fine. No scary cans involved.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bear

      You reduced milk down from its normal uncondensed state?

      1. re: FoodDabbler

        No, sorry. I didn't want to get into detail, since that's more for the Homecooking Board. I followed the instructions in this recipe using canned sweetened condensed milk:

        I had an friend from Argentina who made cajeta from goats milk and sugar, though. I don't imagine it's too difficult if you have the time to monitor the process.

        1. re: bear

          The reasons why people prefer starting with condensed milk are several practical ones: time and effort (a lot of stirring), cost (in Latin America LP gas is expensive to cook for hours, plus many stoves don't simmer well), and its easier to get a smooth texture. Its also much easier to make a smaller quantity. Even with basic homogenized milk in the US, it can separate if you don't get the heat right and farm fresh milk really wants to curd. One thing which can help to avoid that is using a bit of baking soda. Its really not that hard, but you have to decide if you want to spend that much effort.

          That said, in Brazil there is a coarse version called doce de leite talhado or doce de leite crespo, intentionally made with curded milk or with a bit of acid added (and sometimes with slightly turned milk). But if you start with farm fresh milk and leave it out for a couple hours it goes easily. I think this is most common in Minas Gerais (cheese making regions). You can cook this down with fresh coconut or peanuts for variations and its really enjoyable. So if you make it with fresh milk and it separates, don't throw it out. The normal dulce de leche is generally called "doce de leite pastoso."

          1. re: itaunas

            This is very interesting. Thanks. There's a variant that Sofra sells called milk jam which must be based on something middle eastern, I'm guessing. There are also various Indian sweets based on reduced milk, some without sugar added first and some with sugar (which gives the dark caramely color), some reduced on slow heat and some reduced quickly, and some that involved deliberate curdling of the milk. All these recipes must have emerged independently in different cultures as a way of preserving milk.

            1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    2. I purchased it on line at mexgrocer around Thanksgiving, and I was surprised at just how quick they shipped it out. My order was received just 2 days after placing it. Right now they're running a 25% off special for the holiday, just put MASECATAMALES in the promo code.