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Caramel sauce

Hi....help! I have been successfully making caramel sauce for over a year with no issues but suddenly now every time I make it, it curdles and becomes lumpy, for lack of a better word.

It tastes fine but the texture is awful.

Anyone have any ideas why this would just start without me having changed one thing about the way I make it?

Much appreciated!

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  1. Not exactly "caramel sauce" but I make homemade dulche de leche... IN the UNOPENED can. Can of sweetened, condensed milk (sans label) in pot big enough to cover with water. Bring to simmer and turn down really low for at least 2 hours... making sure you add more water if it gets low. At 2 hours it's pourable and lightly tan. The longer it cooks, the darker and stiffer it gets. Let can cool COMPLETELY before opening... unless ya wanna get seriously burned! Have had it last a LONG time (months) in fridge. One time got a little grainy, but came back after a whle in simmering water.... I store it in a mason jar. Tried it with NON-FAT and frankly couldn't tell the difference.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kseiverd

      Hi Kseiverd...thank you for your response. I do know how to make dulce de leche but it's my caramel sauce I am having issues with. I also know how to make it and have been making it for my business for the past year with no issues. This curdling thing is new and I can't figure out what is happening or why. Have not changed one thing about how I make it. It's very irritating and I do not want to serve lumpy caramel to my customers!

      Thanks for your response!

      1. re: biondanonima

        1 cup sugar
        2 cups water
        1 cup cream ( I warm it slightly)
        2 tbls butter

        1. re: snurbcooks

          It may help to add a tblspoon of corn syrup. I've had luck with corn syrup smoothing my caramels out.

      2. If it's more curdled like cottage cheese I would think it's the cream. Are you using a different brand or a lower fat cream?

        If it's more gritty, I'd look at the sugar. Do you use cane sugar? I know some people swear beet sugar doesn't caramelize as well. Humidity is always a suspect when sugar is involved, any changes there?

        I use equal parts by weight cane sugar and heavy (40% fat) cream - caramelize the sugar wet, add warmed cream and a little salt and vanilla. It always comes out great for me. Try it and see if you still have issues.

        3 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          it's like cottage cheese but the curds are smaller. not gritty. i have had that issue (gritty) and have figured that one out.

          just regular granulated sugar

          no change in the cream or brand

          1. re: snurbcooks

            At what point does it start to curdle? As soon as you add the cream? Or after standing?

            1. re: babette feasts

              as soon as the bubbles calm down a bit after adding the cream

        2. Since you have not changed anything, could it be the age or temp of your dairy product?

          Guessing here.

          5 Replies
          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            do you think? too hot maybe? I do warm it a bit. too cold? should i warm it more?

            i never changed the way i did it which is sooooo frustrating!

            1. re: snurbcooks

              How do you make it? Cook the sugar and water together until you get the color you want and then pour in the cream? If you use cold cream it will cause the sauce to seize, of course, but that's easily remedied by heating and stirring until smooth.

              1. re: biondanonima

                Yes, I cook sugar and water until amber then add warmed cream. No seizing, just curdling.

                1. re: snurbcooks

                  Maybe try leaving the cream cold and see if that help. I've never had a problem with cold cream, although as I mentioned, the sauce does seize a bit until it comes back up to temperature.

          2. My guess is that it is the increasing humidity with which you have to deal in summer. So, have you made it in the summer before? If so, maybe I am wrong, but sugar is notoriously hydroscopic and the additional moisture can throw off a recipe.

            The other thing that I would look at is the age of the sweetened, condensed milk that you are using. Something happens to that stuff in the can when it gets old.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gfr1111

              I think you mean Hygroscopic.
              By the time the Sugar is caramelizing there is no Water.
              The OP is using Heavy Cream not SCM.