Welcome to the fourth post of my ‘Making Dulce de Leche‘ series! Up today: making dulce de leche in a double boiler.
Nope, I’m still not tired of making dulce de leche, even though I’ve probably eaten 8 batches of the stuff in the past couple of weeks already. There’s just something kind of magical about making it! I think it’s the fact that you just sort of need to let it happen on its own. Sure, it takes forever to cook this stuff, but it’s not like it requires your attention. On the contrary, all you need to do is to just let the dulce de leche (or rather: dulce-de-leche-in-the-making) do its thing!
Which means that you have time for other things, like – um- catching up on your thesis reading list and sneaking back to the kitchen every 30 minutes just to check on your kitchen timer, wondering how much longer the dulce de leche still needs to cook…
Or you could fold some laundry, only to run back to the kitchen every 15 minutes to check on the dulce de leche, willing it to cook faster.
Or you could try to learn how to sew a bench crate with your mom’s sewing machine, only to fly back to the kitchen every 5 minutes because you have the patience of a 2-year-old and can’t even wait 3 hours for the stuff to cook properly!
Okay, so maybe I’m easily excited…So what?
We’re talking about dulce de leche here! And like I said, making dulce de leche is kind of magical. One minute you have a bowl of sweetened, condensed milk – which is kind of boring on its own – and the next you have milky, golden caramely goodness!
And the best thing about making dulce de leche in a double boiler is the fact that you can actually see it caramelize! Hence the sneaking/running/flying back to the kitchen…
Which leads me to the best thing about making dulce de leche in a double boiler: you can stop cooking once you’re happy with the color of the dulce de leche!
Obviously you can’t do that when you’re making dulce de leche in a closed, or an open (but really only ventilated) can. Sure, you properly open the can if you’re making dulce de leche in the oven, but even when you make the sweetened, condensed milk in a glass baking dish, it’s almost impossible to determine the color of the dulce de leche as it cooks, because of the water bath and the strange fact that the sweetened, condensed milk at the sides of the baking dish and the surface doesn’t caramelize as much as the milk at the bottom of the dish.
And lifting the aluminum foil just to have a look at the dulce de leche is hardly a realistic option. I mean, you would first have to get the oven rack, including the heavy water bath and the baking dish out of the oven, then you would need to peel away the hot aluminum foil and then stir the dulce de leche before being able to check on the color!
Just not practical…
However, when you cook dulce de leche in a double boiler,you’ll need to stir it every half an hour to make sure the sweetened, condensed milk caramelizes evenly, anyway! This means that watching the color of the milk change from creamy white to deeply golden is suddenly possible!
And convenient! Because you can even taste it as it cooks!
Definitely the best part of making dulce de leche in a double boiler…
So, go ahead and make some dulce de leche! Or some more dulce de leche if you have already made some! I won’t judge…
Like I said: I made 8 cups of the stuff myself over the past couple of weeks!
- 1 can of sweetened, condensed milk
- For this recipe you will need a double boiler. You can make a makeshift double boiler with a saucepan and a bowl that is placed over the pan. For more details, check out my post on 'Faking a Double Boiler' under 'Basics and Tips'.
- Fill the bottom part of the double boiler, or a saucepan if you're faking a double boiler, with 5 cm (or 2 inches) of water. Allow to come to a simmer.
- Open the can of sweetened, condensed milk and pour the contents of the can in the bowl of the double boiler. Cover the bowl of the (makeshift) double boiler tightly with aluminum foil.
- Place the bowl with the milk over the simmering water and leave to cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally (as in: every half hour or so) with a rubber spatula to ensure even cooking.
- Once the sweetened, condensed milk has caramelized, take off the heat and allow to come to room temperature with the foil still in place. Once cooled, stir until smooth.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or use immediately.