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cooking Burnt Sugar

Hey all wondering if anybody else has had this issue, made a batch of sauce last night in a very large saucepan and ended up with a thick layer of burnt sugar at the bottom of the pan. Trying to figure out where I went wrong, I'm assuming I did not stir the sauce enough and possibly cranked the heat too high too fast.

Thoughts on how to avoid this in the future? I'm looking at getting an immersion blender to help mix larger pots better and possibly one of these automatic pot stirrers. Is this the right direction to ensure I don't burn the s*** out of the sugar? Mix more and more aggressively with the immersion blender?

I bring my sauce to a 220-225ยฐ boil before bringing back down to about 185 for 8-10 minutes for cooking.

Thanks in advance!
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Never thought about one of these. Best option for good heat distribution and minimizing burn?
I would probably only consider it if my sauce was thick and sweet, as in, a lot of honey, maple, etc.
 

Siv

Extreme Member
I have experienced the same thing - I also put the sauce on high until it boils then turn down to minimum for simmer. I keep stirring while the temp goes down - remember that the bottom of the pan will be the hottest so you need to give it time to cool down. When Iโ€™m lazy or in a rush I sometimes turn it down to minimum and leave it and come back to a skin on the bottom of the pan. If I pay attention and stir the pan until it gets cooler then I donโ€™t get the skin.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
The batch I was making was in a 12qt sauce pot, about 250oz of sauce. Done on a commercial induction burner with a pan that works with induction obviously. It has either a dual or triple layer bottom on the pan, not the 3-500$ pots for commercial use but it is a well rated almost 200$ saucepot. I'm guessing the lack of stirring may have been the most likely culprit.. think an immersion blender that can handle hot temps might be the best answer?

Would allow a really good stir/mix especially when I'm cranking it up to boiling ensure the sugar dissolves rather than accumulate on the bottom of the pan?..
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Yes 12 qt is quite large! I actually have a 12 qt double boiler with a 10 qt inner pot.

I would suggest you blend your sauce FIRST! I believe what is happening is you are trying to cook down a chunky sweet sauce and sugars are settling to the bottom. Blending first is like making a pureed soup. Add your peppers, other ingredients, and liquids to a blender and add to the pot and cook. If you need more liquid to blend properly, use water, and just cook it off.

There's different ways to make sauce. Blend before, after, during. In this case, I would say first.
 
Yes 12 qt is quite large! I actually have a 12 qt double boiler with a 10 qt inner pot.

I would suggest you blend your sauce FIRST! I believe what is happening is you are trying to cook down a chunky sweet sauce and sugars are settling to the bottom. Blending first is like making a pureed soup. Add your peppers, other ingredients, and liquids to a blender and add to the pot and cook. If you need more liquid to blend properly, use water, and just cook it off.

There's different ways to make sauce. Blend before, after, during. In this case, I would say first.
So I do blend first, all ingredients are pulverized to a liquid in a Vitamix prior to going into the pan. When I blended the sugar, I did it was just purified water and some other ingredients and instead of doing a normal 20-30second blend, I ran the thing full out for almost 2 minutes thinking the blending would dissolve the sugar into the water. Apparently that was not all I needed to do. Lol
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
All of this is good info! So another suggestion I have is add your sugars later in the cook. It sounds like you are doing a proper job and know what you are doing. But try that. That's what I would do if I had those issues. Blend it all up, cook it as you were, and add sugars "to taste" at the end, to just the right sweetness, and simmer until incorporated, stirring. Then you still get the long cook of the sauce.
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
An immersion blender can't hurt! I'd still add the sugars later, and that's when I'd immersion blend. You might want to try the first part before investing in one.
 
An immersion blender can't hurt! I'd still add the sugars later, and that's when I'd immersion blend. You might want to try the first part before investing in one.
I could try that.. doesn't follow my PA letter to the T but as long as I get a cook after sugar is added it should be fine I suppose. This particular batch, after find the issue due to chunks of black burnt sugar scraped off the bottom, I sifted everything and switched the sauce to a clean pan and added sugar while up to 180 temps, got alittle bit of carmelization of the sugar through the sauce but no real burning. May try adding the sugar while heat is rising, then use either arm strength with a good mixer or get an immersion blender to blend to sauce for abit while it gets up to boil to keep the sugar moving until its dissolved...

Hopefully that'll do the trick, cause I don't need another 60 bottle batch getting messed up. Lol

Either that, or try and boil 2-3 cups of water from the recipe separately, add sugar to that, vitamix the crap out of it then add to sauce when confirming all sugar is dissolved...
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
What fooled me from the beginning was you used the word "saucepan" so I thought it was a large pan, not pot. Like a high lip frying pan. Didn't realize this was such a large batch. Sounds good! Keep at it.
 
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