Caramel preparation involves working with temperatures going all the way to 170 degree Celsius, which is almost twice as hot as boiling water. The high temperatures in your pan can cause the mixture to sputter and splatter with savage ferocity. So you need to take precautions and remain extra vigilant during the caramel cooking process. For starters, this means turning off your TV and putting your mobile phone away!
Use a deep vertical pan for making caramel. The pan should be larger than your desired cooking volume to prevent spillage from expansion. This is particularly important in recipes that call for the addition of cream or butter, as it sometimes causes the mixture to foam and boil over the sides of the container. To minimise steam burns and splatters, rather than pour the cream directly, try covering the pan with a large sieve or strainer and pour through it. Copper, stainless steel, or ceramic coated pots are ideal for heavy usage as they can durably withstand high temperatures. Teflon or other non-stick pans are okay but only for occasional use.
Always wear protective clothing such as an apron and long oven gloves too avoid burn injury during caramel preparation. If you want to be extra cautious, keep an antiseptic burn cream and a bowl of ice water around so that you may quickly plunge your hand in it if there is an accident. The molten sugar in caramel is both viscous and has a high heat capacity, so it sticks to your skin and transfers a tremendous amount of heat. In case you burn your finger, avoid the instinctive urge to suck it in your mouth as the molten sugar can burn both your lip and the inside of your mouth.
There is no need to be intimidated by caramels. Simply stay alert and follow the safety precautions. Join us in our chocolatier program to tame the caramel beast!