It’s a rare person who can truly say they don’t enjoy a piece of candy every once in awhile- or maybe a bit more regularly than that. However, those who have ever tried to make candy are well aware of very specific temperature requirements that involved with making. This article will discuss everything you need to know about candy thermometers, as well as a couple of suggestions of what to look for in the best thermometers for candy making.
What Is A Candy Thermometer?
As the name suggests, a candy thermometer is one that is designed specifically for making candy. This type of thermometer measures at a much higher temperature than the average cooking thermometer, as candy generally has to be cooked at temperatures higher than boiling, whereas meats are rarely cooked higher than 180 degrees F. Additionally, candy thermometers tend to be more accurate and can provide a temperature reading more quickly than other kitchen thermometers.
How Do Candy Thermometers Work?
How a candy thermometer works depends on what type of candy thermometer you are using. Many of the more traditional candy thermometers use a liquid inside of the thermometer to determine the temperature. Other types of thermometers utilize two pieces of metal, one that expands at a lower temperature and one that expands at a higher temperature. When exposed to a higher temperature, these metals twist and produce a temperature reading.
What Are The Uses of a Candy Thermometer?
Obviously, candy thermometers are used for making candy. Candies, such as fudge, caramels, toffees, and homemade hard candies, need to reach specific high temperatures in order to achieve the desired consistency.
Additionally, due to the fact that it is able to measure such high heats, candy thermometers can also be used successfully for deep frying.
Some types of candy thermometers will have a wider temperature range than others. If your candy thermometer starts at 100 degrees Farenheit, you could also use the candy thermometer as a meat thermometer as well. Of course, whether you are using your thermometer just for candy making or for cooking meat as well, it is important to thoroughly clean the probe of your thermometer to prevent any food borne illnesses that you may experience from cross contamination.
Types Of Candy Thermometers
A digital candy thermometer, as the name suggests, is one that measure temperature and provides a digital readout.
An analog candy thermometer, on the other hand, is either a straight or curved dial that provides a fairly accurate reading using a double sided needle or internal liquid.
Benefits of Candy Thermometers
Making candy truly is an art, and the best tool you will have in this endeavor is a good candy thermometer. A candy thermometer will take out the guesswork of trying to judge the doneness of the candy based on the color or consistency of the sweets. A decent digital candy thermometer is fairly inexpensive and will give you piece of mind, and truly allow you to become a fantastic candy maker.
How accurate your candy thermometer is, be it digital or analog, will greatly depend on brand and the price that you are willing to pay for your thermometer. The best thermometers may be a little bit pricier, but will give you an accurate read out within seconds, which can be incredibly important when making very temperature specific candies. Accuracy will also depend on whether or not it is an analog or digital candy thermometer. A digital candy thermometer can be accurate down to the tenth of a degree, whereas analog thermometers will only be accurate down to the one or two degrees.
Features to Look For In Digital Candy Thermometers
One of the biggest thing about any type of thermometer, whether it is digital or analog, candy or meat thermometer, is the accuracy. If you are opting for a digital candy thermometer, it is worth a little bit more money to find one that will be accurate down to the tenth of a degree, and opting for a brand that is known for their accurate readings will work in your favor in the long run as well.
Additionally, if you are going to spend a little bit more money on a quality digital candy thermometer for accuracy purposes, it is worth your money to invest in one that has a large enough temperature range that will allow you to use it for cooking meat and your general baking needs. This would mean that the temperature range you are going for is between 100 and 400 degrees fahrenheit, or 37 and 204 degrees celsius.
One of the most handy features for novice candy makers, or forgetful candy makers, is the ability to program particular temperatures into the thermometer to remind you of when to remove your candy from heat your add your next ingredient. Sometimes your thermometer will come pre-programmed with common temperatures.
Features to Look For In Analog Candy Thermometers
Like with a digital candy thermometer, it is important to find a thermometer that is accurate to the closest degree. This will ensure that you are not overcooking your candy and ruining all of your hard work.
It is also important find an analog candy thermometer that is fast. Analog thermometers in general tend to be a bit slower than digital candy thermometers, so it is important to find one that is as speedy as possible. This will help to prevent your particular candy from cooking too quickly and burning.
One helpful feature for analog candy thermometer are the temperature range markers that will guide you to the right stage in your candy making.
Whether you are a serious candy maker or just starting to dabble in the process, a quality candy maker will allow you to make your candy with an easy mind, and often can be used for a wide variety of uses throughout your kitchen. We have compiled a list of the best candy thermometers, particularly digital candy thermometers, that will help you to make the best decision for you and your candy making needs.
Best Candy Thermometers
Polder Candy/Jelly/Deep Fry Thermometer, Stainless Steel, with Pot Clip Attachment and Quick Reference Temperature Guide
CDN DTC450 Digital Pre-Programmed & Programmable Candy Thermometer
Winco Deep Fry/Candy Thermometer with Hanging Ring, 2-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch