Help!!! How To Manage A Candy Thermometer When Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

Baking By Julie_S Updated 14 Apr 2015 , 7:42pm by Julie_S

Julie_S Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 4:56pm
post #1 of 23

Hi,


This is driving me nuts. I'm having issues with candy thermometers. It seems that to get an accurate reading, the tip of the thermometer must not touch the bottom of the sauce pan or bowl AND it must be submerged at least 2.5 inches into the liquid or matter for which you are measuring the temperature.  This is true for any type of candy thermometer (see my images below).


There is no way  4 or 5 egg whites in a bowl big enough to beat with beaters, would be over 2.5 inches in vertical height. So how do you get an accurate reading so you get the right temperature?


I also have this problem making caramel. The sauce pan is never small enough and never tall enough and the recipes don't produce enough height in the liquid so that the thermometer is submerged at least 2.5 inches.

Can't figure this out! Help!!!!


Browne-Halco ( CT84122 ) - 12" Candy/Fry Thermometer


Cooper Atkins Non-Mercury Candy Thermometer

22 replies
-K8memphis Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 7:54pm
post #2 of 23

well good question -- get one of these far small batches

http://www.cookingclarified.com/2011/02/candy-or-deep-frying-thermometer/

and second of all the world including moi has been waiting for someone (like you?) to make a thermometer embedded into a whisk or spatula -- go for it

best to you

ps use a smaller pot too :)

-K8memphis Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 7:55pm
post #3 of 23

not *far -- for small batches

rooneygirl Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 8:03pm
post #4 of 23

can you just double it and do a 10 egg recipe and just freeze what you don't use. SMBC freezes very well.  Just bring back to room temp and rewhip when you use the rest of it. Or you can use pasturized egg whites and you don't have to worry about 160 degrees because they are already sterilized.  Or use your finger - estimate that it will probably take about 2-3 minutes to get up to temp and if you insert your CLEAN finger and can't keep it in there then its probably up to temp.    

bakernoob Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 8:46pm
post #5 of 23

I use a smaller thermometer like K8memphis suggested :-)

MKC Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 8:50pm
post #6 of 23

I never use a thermometer for swiss meringue. I touch (with my clean hands) the warm egg white / sugar mixture and if the sugar is completely dissolved, it's ready for whipping with the mixer.

MBalaska Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 9:23pm
post #7 of 23

51kmD6YmtTL._SX522_.jpg

Click to open expanded view

      

Taylor 5989N Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer

-K8memphis Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 9:34pm
post #8 of 23

yes, mb but it's a pain in the boo to hold the thermometer and keep the egg whites from cooking -- there's instant and there's instant -- kwim --

really i've looked for one embedded in a spatula or something for years -- guess i'll have to make it myself -- then i'll go on shark tank (tv show for entrepreuners) and be chum in the water -- hahahaha


MBalaska Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 10:11pm
post #9 of 23

It's not really a pain for me.  After making one batch of SMBC I wrote down how many minutes it took to get to the temperature that I like.  When the timer goes off,  One quick dip into the eggs/sugar and I see what temp it's at, and it's either ready or it needs just a bit more.  It's not that tricky to stir, with a simple back and forth motion, on one side of the bowl and measure on the other side for just a few seconds.

 Now that the cost of the non-contact infrared thermometers have gone way down, that would work also.

 Nubee Temperature Gun Non-contact Infrared Thermometer, Yellow/Black

Sorry, this item is not available in Image not available         Nubee Temperature Gun Non-contact Infrared Thermometer, Yellow/Black

MBalaska Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 10:15pm
post #10 of 23

 Just for you @-K8memphis  

           
Sorry, this item is not available in Image not available

        Matfer Bourgeat Exoglass Spatula with Built-in Thermometer

Sorry, this item is not available in Image not available         

          

Matfer Bourgeat Exoglass Spatula with Built-in Thermometer





-K8memphis Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 10:54pm
post #11 of 23

thank you mb --it's about time -- unfortunately $74 is our of my price range -- i'll use my old reliable one so long as i can keep it hid from the kids hahahaha -- 

MBalaska Posted 8 Apr 2015 , 10:58pm
post #12 of 23

Me too........my little $6 Taylor classic instant read thermometer has been in the kitchen for a very long time.  It is fun looking around though.  My old friends that worked in big institutional kitchens used to carry those Taylors around in their Chefs coat pockets. That's how I first learned about them.

Magic Mouthfuls Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 7:58am
post #13 of 23


Quote by @-K8memphis on 11 hours ago

well good question -- get one of these far small batches

http://www.cookingclarified.com/2011/02/candy-or-deep-frying-thermometer/

and second of all the world including moi has been waiting for someone (like you?) to make a thermometer embedded into a whisk or spatula -- go for it

best to you

ps use a smaller pot too :)

@k8memphs - this one hit the market about 2-3 years ago - but I have read reviews that they break easily because people stir too vigorously.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/321671140888?limghlpsr=true&hlpv=2&ops=true&viphx=1&hlpht=true&lpid=107&chn=ps

@Julie_S - I dont keep my thermometer in the egg/sugar mix...  I just check it every now and then.  It takes about 10-15 mins to get close to temp, and then I just hold it in (hovering) to check the temp until the steam gets too hot and my hand cant handle it anymore (tho a tea towel or white cotton glove helps).  Then try again 2 mins later until I get to the 160F.

for SMBC - its a good / safe/ ideal temperature, rather than an "exact scientific/must have" temperature.  160F is for pastuerisation, not meringue stability.


I also do not heat the sugar/eggs in the same container I whip in - as transferring the hot liquid into a chilled mixing bowl helps it cool quicker to the butter adding temp.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 11:41am
post #14 of 23

i've had mine for years and years and i'm an avid stirrer

yortma Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 12:59pm
post #15 of 23



I have this one and it works very nicely.  Clip the probe to the side of bowl or pot and it is out of the way.  The connector wire is much longer than appears in the photo.  I leave the base on the counter - it is a clock, timer, and can be set with alarms for high and low temps.  Just plug in the probe when needed.  Got mine from Sur Le Table, but a few years ago.  

yortma Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 1:05pm
post #16 of 23

I think as long as the thermometer is halfway between the bottom and the surface, that will be close enough temperature wise.  I have fairly small pots I use for small batches of sugar syrups and the like so they are a bit deeper for just that reason. I had a spatula with a thermometer once, but it was scaled only high enough for tempering chocolate.  It broke right away from the slight flexing of the spatula, but looked like a great idea....

Julie_S Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 6:42pm
post #17 of 23


Quote by @-K8memphis on 22 hours ago

well good question -- get one of these far small batches

http://www.cookingclarified.com/2011/02/candy-or-deep-frying-thermometer/

and second of all the world including moi has been waiting for someone (like you?) to make a thermometer embedded into a whisk or spatula -- go for it

best to you

ps use a smaller pot too :)

Would you believe it? I was in a grocery store I hardly ever shop at less than an hour ago and saw a thermometer just like the one you suggested. It was only @2.99. Wouldn't it be a gas if this one did the trick? Thanks!!!

Julie_S

Julie_S Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 6:50pm
post #18 of 23


Quote by @rooneygirl on 22 hours ago

can you just double it and do a 10 egg recipe and just freeze what you don't use. SMBC freezes very well.  Just bring back to room temp and rewhip when you use the rest of it. Or you can use pasturized egg whites and you don't have to worry about 160 degrees because they are already sterilized.  Or use your finger - estimate that it will probably take about 2-3 minutes to get up to temp and if you insert your CLEAN finger and can't keep it in there then its probably up to temp.    



rooneyGirl,

Even if I used pasteurized whites in the carton, wouldn't I still need the thermometer to get the whites up to 140 degrees - for meringue stability - not to kill bacteria? Or are you saying that the finger method be enough to achieve that? I think that's what you mean.


Julie_S Posted 9 Apr 2015 , 6:55pm
post #19 of 23


Quote by @Magic Mouthfuls on 10 hours ago




@k8memphs - this one hit the market about 2-3 years ago - but I have read reviews that they break easily because people stir too vigorously.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/321671140888?limghlpsr=true&hlpv=2&ops=true&viphx=1&hlpht=true&lpid=107&chn=ps




Magic Mouthfull,

 

I actually saw that spatula-like thermometer in Boscov's department store. I looked at it, but thought against buying it because I had feelings of "this is too good to be true" and "maybe this is just a fad."

 

Julie S

@Julie_S - I dont keep my thermometer in the egg/sugar mix...  I just check it every now and then.  It takes about 10-15 mins to get close to temp, and then I just hold it in (hovering) to check the temp until the steam gets too hot and my hand cant handle it anymore (tho a tea towel or white cotton glove helps).  Then try again 2 mins later until I get to the 160F.for SMBC - its a good / safe/ ideal temperature, rather than an "exact scientific/must have" temperature.  160F is for pastuerisation, not meringue stability.


I also do not heat the sugar/eggs in the same container I whip in - as transferring the hot liquid into a chilled mixing bowl helps it cool quicker to the butter adding temp.


rooneygirl Posted 10 Apr 2015 , 6:48am
post #20 of 23

Well, there are a lot of SMBC ratios out there but I can tell you that I use pasteurized egg whites and I do batches of 12 oz egg white to 15 oz sugar, heat is over rapid boiling double boiler for 3:30 minutes while stirring constantly, whip until cool about 15 minutes, add cool chopped butter (16 oz) and mix on 2 on a kitchen aid until it comes together and its perfect every time.   I keep the whisk attachment on it for the duration. When I rewhip, I use the paddle. 

-K8memphis Posted 10 Apr 2015 , 3:46pm
post #21 of 23
i'm  not sure if this photo is within guidelines so look quick :)  but it's really not that hard -- alls we needs is a whisk long enough to shelter the thermometer but with a shallow set of tines looping around up and down at the bottom so the point of the thermometer gets in the hot stuff --

i actually have a mixer whisk that it would work in but the tines are too deep -- but something like this would work like crazy... i think

-K8memphis Posted 10 Apr 2015 , 3:49pm
post #22 of 23

@julie s, magic mouthfull -- oh i getcha now -- cool!

Julie_S Posted 14 Apr 2015 , 7:42pm
post #23 of 23


Quote by @-K8memphis on 4 days ago

i'm  not sure if this photo is within guidelines so look quick :)  but it's really not that hard -- alls we needs is a whisk long enough to shelter the thermometer but with a shallow set of tines looping around up and down at the bottom so the point of the thermometer gets in the hot stuff --

i actually have a mixer whisk that it would work in but the tines are too deep -- but something like this would work like crazy... i think



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