The Temperature Stages of Sugar for Candy Making
|223°F - 234°F||Thread: The sugar drips from a spoon and stretches into thin threads in cold water.||Used for sugar syrups|
|235°F - 240°F||Soft ball: The sugar forms into a ball in cold water but loses its shape when removed.||Fudge, fondant, butter creams, caramels|
|245°F - 250°F||Firm ball: The sugar forms into a ball in cold water and remains a ball when removed, but loses its shape when compressed.||Caramels, marshmallows, toffees|
|250°F - 264°F||Hard ball: The sugar forms into a ball in cold water and remains a ball when removed. Keeps its shape when compressed, but feels sticky.||Caramels, nougats, divinity|
|270°F - 290°F||Soft Crack: The sugar forms into long threads in cold water. The threads are stretchy and slightly sticky when removed.||Taffy, nougat|
|298°F - 310°F||Hard Crack: The sugar forms into long threads in cold water. The threads are brittle and easily snap when removed.||Hard candy, brittles, toffees, glazed fruit|
|320°F and above||Caramel: The sugar turns golden yellow to dark amber. Nearly all water has been boiled out of the syrup. If sugar continues to cook, it will burn and turn black||Pralines and brittles|
These temperatures are appropriate for determining the sugar stage for a cold water test at sea level.
Note: Some recipes may call for candy to be cooked to a different stage depending on the desired taste and texture of the final product.