AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Someone posted just this question a few days ago. Here's the link. http://www.food52.com/foodpickle...
Are you doing another demo (or perhaps, a dog-and-pony show)?
Go digital on the candy thermometer. I have made over 100 batches of my Scottish holiday toffee with the one I purchased at WS. Foolproof!
Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
Thanks for your answers -- I'm biased of course, but I love the foodpickle!
If you really want the best go with a thermocouple thermometer, like the Thermapen. It is expensive, maybe prohibitively so, but it registers a temperature in three seconds, and has a range from -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. The only problem is its hand held design, so you will have to measure the temperature by hand, but since it only takes three seconds to get a reading it really is not a problem.
Professionally and personally, I've used almost every type of thermometer made, from a 99-cent glass tube containing mercury to a $249 digital wonder that did everything except stir the pot.
At home, this Taylor model is the one I use the most. It's readily available, costs about $10, is not powered by batteries, stores flat, clips nicely to pots/pans with and without lips (allowing you to use one hand to stir and the other hand to steady the pot), you can deep fry with it, and it doesn't have brains and/or a cord to get in your way. You can't use it to temper chocolate because the lowest temp it registers is 100 degrees. I've had it about 6 years now. I think I like it the most because it makes me feel like Julia Child.
I also have a CDN candy/deep fry thermometer and timer that was about $25. Its probe clips nicely to pans and it's easy to read. It's a pain to keep the the brain end out of the way of the pans, burners, water, butter and powdered sugar. It's a pain to store. It's usually found up against the back wall of my utensil drawer, but sometimes the cord unwinds itself from the brains and tries to pull itself to the front of the drawer. I've used it maybe five times, so it's practically brand new. If you'd like it, I'll mail it to you. (Note to self: Don't run out and buy something just because Cook's Illustrated recommends it.)
I have a nice Thermapen that's a joy to use, like a James Bond gadget. (For $100, it better give me a lot of pleasure.) It registers temps in about three seconds, the numbers are easy to read, the batteries have a guaranteed 1500-hour life, it's auto on-auto off, the probe end makes unobtrusive holes in fat loaves of bread or flat steaks, and you can also use it to see how cold something is (I've never used it to check if the Asti was at the proper serving temp, but we did use it once to see if ice cream tasted better at 25 degrees than at 0 degrees. It does.). You can't stick it into a pot of sugar syrup and walk away, but hey, if you don't have three seconds' worth of patience, you shouldn't be in the kitchen.
I have a small-scale candy company, and have been using this Redi-Chek thermometer for years http://www.bedbathandbeyond... . It's easy to read, clips to the side of the pot, and has taken a beating (gotten it wet, dropped it on the floor, etc.) and is still dead-on accurate. Not the cheapest, but not hugely expensive at $30.
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