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Hard-Ball Stage

Hard-Ball Stage

Hard-Ball Stage
© Randal Oulton

Hard-Ball Stage is a cooking term meaning that a sugar syrup being heated has reached 121 - 130 C (250 - 266 F.)

It is a test of how hot a sugar syrup is, and of how much water is left in it. At this point of heating, the sugar concentration in the syrup is 92%.

You test by drizzling a small amount of the sugar syrup from a spoon into a cup of cold water. If the stage has been reached, the syrup will form a firm ball (clump). You can press down on the ball and it will hold its shape; you can take it out of the water and it will hold its shape.

The Hard-Crack Stage is called for in recipes for gummies, nougat, rock candy, popcorn balls, marshmallows, etc.

The stages of cooking sugar syrup are:

1. Thread Stage (106 - 112 C)
2. Soft-Ball Stage (112 - 116 C)
3. Firm-Ball Stage (118 – 121 C)
4. Hard-Ball Stage (121 - 130 C)
5. Soft-Crack Stage (132 - 143 C)
6. Hard-Crack Stage (149 - 154 C)

Cooking Tips

High altitude: For every 300 metres (1,000 feet) that you are above sea level, subtract 1 degree C (2 degrees F) from the temperatures given in your candy recipe.
Hard-Ball Stage by thermometer

Hard-Ball Stage by thermometer
© Randal Oulton

Candy Terms

Firm-Ball Stage; Hard-Ball Stage; Hard-Crack Stage; Ribbon Stage; Rock Candy Syrup; Soft-Ball Stage; Soft-Crack Stage; Stages of Cooked Sugar Syrups for Candy - Temperature Guide; Sugar Syrup; Thread Stage

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Oulton, Randal. "Hard-Ball Stage." CooksInfo.com. Published 27 June 2004; revised 29 August 2010. Web. Accessed 04/21/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/hard-ball-stage>.

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