Stages of Sugar Cooking

Appears in
Professional Baking

By Wayne Gisslen

Published 2008

  • About
Testing the temperature with a candy thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the doneness of a syrup.
In the old days, a syrup was tested by dropping a little of it into a bowl of cold water and checking the hardness of the cooled sugar. The stages of doneness were given names that described their hardness.
The table lists these stages of sugar cooking. Please note the names for the stages are not absolute; different sources may use slightly different names. In fact, all such tables are misleading because they suggest the syrup jumps from one stage to the next. Actually, of course, it changes gradually as the water is boiled off. For this reason, it is best to rely on the thermometer and not worry too much about the names.