A digital candy thermometer is very useful for measuring cooking temperatures of liquids. These are unlike meat thermometers, because the candy specific model can measure temperatures from 0-400 degrees Fahrenheit. But a meat thermometer can only measure a temperature of up to 220 degrees. So digital candy thermometers are much more useful when boiling a liquid that has a high boiling temperature, which is why they are handy for sugar as well as any other type of liquid. A digital thermometer for candy is especially handy, because it provides accurate temperature readings instantly by being placed in a liquid.
Really, a digital candy thermometer isn’t any different from any other type, as all thermometers function using the exact same technology. What makes these special however, is that they feature readings specific to sugar related cooking. This way you can measure what temperature sugar that you’re using, needs to be at, in order to make the type of candy you’re trying to make. This is useful for measuring the temperature at which the sugar boils, so you can determine how firm the candy will be once the process is complete.
Typically sugar that has been boiled at a higher temperature, will tend to be more firm once it has completely cooled. So a candy digital thermometer is necessary to ensure that your candy will have the desired consistency once the cooking process has been completed. Also, hard to work with products like chocolate can be made easier by using a digital thermometer for candy. Chocolate is easy to scorch when using hot pans, so accurately measuring temperature with a chocolate thermometer throughout the entire cooking process is essential so that you can cook the chocolate with no mistakes.
A digital candy thermometer measures temperature by using a special piece of technology called a thermistor. Thermistors make use of a special type of semiconductor that produces more electricity with the more heat it’s exposed to. This provides a digital thermometer with the ability to accurately check the temperature of any given liquid quickly, and very accurately. Remember that when cooking, your thermometer should be stored in plain warm water before being used. That way you can ensure that the thermometer is clean, and also not under the influence of the last liquid that you measured. You’ll have a more accurate reading, without the risk of cross contamination.
Digital thermometers aren’t always ideal for all candy tasks however, because a digital version has to be put into the liquid to provide a temperature at that moment. This isn’t ideal for liquids like chocolate, that need to be carefully monitored throughout the entire cooking process. A digital thermometer could end up being more of a hassle than a more standard version, which will provide accurate temperature throughout the entire process.
To purchase a digital candy thermometer, the internet is a great place to find a wide variety of models at cheaper prices than could be found locally. Websites like Amazon.com and ChefsResource.com have a huge variety of options, with prices ranging from $20 to above $50. The biggest price factor is which type of LCD screen the digital candy thermometer employs. A more involved screen with more options for delegating which temperatures you’re targeting, will be more expensive than a display online intended to read the current liquid temperature.