The Heating Rate Accelerates During Cooking

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
As we cook a sugar syrup, most of the heat goes into the work of evaporating water molecules from the syrup, and less into actually raising the temperature of the syrup; so the syrup temperature rises only gradually. But as the sugar concentration passes 80%, there’s so little water left that both the temperature of the syrup and its boiling point rise more rapidly. As the concentration approaches 100%, the temperature rises very fast, and can easily overshoot the desired range and brown or scorch the sugar. To avoid this, the cook should reduce the heat toward the end of cooking and keep a careful eye on the syrup temperature.