How to determine sugar stages.
- Thread stage: 106°C-112°C. Drop a teaspoonful of the syrup into a glass of ice-cold water. Long threads will form, like a spider web.
- Soft ball stage: 115°C-120°C. Syrup dropped into ice-cold water can be shaped into a soft, pliable ball between your fingers.
- Hard ball stage: 121°C-131°C. Syrup dropped into ice-cold water forms thick, ‘ropey’ threads as it falls from the spoon. If you take the ball out of the water, it won’t flatten. The ball will be hard, but you can still change its shape by squashing it.
- Soft crack stage: 132°C-143°C. Syrup dropped into ice-cold water separates into hard but pliable threads. They will bend slightly before breaking.
- Hard crack stage: 148°C-154°C. Syrup dropped into ice-cold water forms brittle threads that break when bent.
- Caramel: 160°C-175°C. The caramel will change in colour, ranging from light gold to dark amber.
- Burnt caramel: over 177°C. Throw it away!