I would like to put a candy thermometer on my Christmas list, but am not really sure which one to go for. I was thinking electronic might be ideal cos I dont think I would necessarily be the best at keeping an eye on it and I understand some of the electronic ones can be programed to beep when the desired temperature is reached? It doesnt need to be the most sophisticated one in the world, just something to help with marshmallow, jam etc and maybe move into a bit of simple sugar work.
Are there any good value, reliable ones which people would recommend? (or any hints/advice on picking would also be appreciated)
I just purchased one last week. I asked around and was told that the digital kind was the best for my applications. (caramel, toffee, buttercream) Brand is CDN and it is very easy to use. It was $24, but I used my 20% off coupon at the local kitchen store. HTH
I would check out chef rubber .com (take out spaces). They have several you can choose from. Check Amazon too and read the reviews -- you'll get a better idea of the product from the one star reviews. Good luck!
I have owned several digitals and there is a specific problem with them when it comes to sugar and custard work. They cannot be calibrated. When they are off, it isn't by the same amount, like a glass thermometer is off. When a digital is off, it will be off randomly. I have owned the CDN and it was the worst. If you are cooking a roast, 4 to 8 degrees is not a problem, but in custards and sugar work, that will be a disaster. When I checked my digitals, each time, the amount was off by a different number. Boiling was 204 to 214. That is disaster to some recipes, especially whe the swing varies. It may be calibrated when you buy it, but once it goes out, you may only find out through a disaster.
I spare no expense in my kitchen. When I found all of the digitals to be off calibration over the course of a few years, I started watching what the pros on TV were using and it was the glass kind used by most. I have a $20.00 Taylor. It is off by 4 degrees. But because this is an issue of the glass out of alignment with the metal casing, this variance will always be the same. I do check them about once every two months.
So I am not a fan of the digitals when I need specific numbers. Eggs are cooked at 165, milk simmers at 185, all candy stages can ruin within a few degrees, European buttercreams can give less than perfect results with a too low temp... the list goes on. These exact numbers are critical.