As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, & the temperature rises.The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools.That’s how stages are named.
When a teaspoon is dipped into the hot mixture & lifted out, the candy falls off the spoon in a long thread230 F – 233 F
All of the following stages can be tested with the cold-water testSpoon a few drops of the hot candy mixture into a cup of cold waterUsing your fingers attempt to form into ball, then remove from waterThe firmness of the ball will correspond to one of the following stages & temperatures
When the ball of candy is removed from the cold water, it instantly flattens & runs off your fingers244 F – 248 FSugar concentration – 85%
When the ball of candy is removed from cold water, it is firm enough to hold its shape but quickly flattens245 F – 250 FSugar Concentration = 87%
When the ball of the candy is removed from the cold water, it holds its shape but can be deformed with pressure250 F – 266 FSugar Concentration = 92%
When the hot mixture is dropped into the cold water, it separates into hard, pliable threads that cannot be shaped into a ball270 F – 290 FSugar Concentration = 95%
When the hot mixture is dropped into cold water it separates into hard brittle threads that snap easily & cannot be shaped into a ball295 F – 310 FSugar Concentration = 99%