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I'm planning to make a batch of soft caramels. Whole milk makes up about half the recipe. Since I only have skim milk on hand, can I substitute skim milk for the whole milk?

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Can you tell us more about what's in the recipe? Most of the caramel recipes I'm familiar with either use cream, evaporated milk, or both. –  Aaronut Dec 19 '10 at 0:45
    
It's the fresh dairy products version of Peter Greweling's caramel recipe from Chocolate and Confections. It also contains cream, but whole milk is almost 50% of the recipe. I believe the evaporated or sweetened condensed milk versions are more common, since they take less time to cook. –  Computerish Dec 19 '10 at 3:09

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can but the result will be much thicker than that with the whole milk, and they won't taste as good due to the reduction of fat. You could add some oil or other fat to make up the diffrence, although that will most likely change the taste as well.

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I'd add clarified butter; that could only make the taste better! –  Aaronut Dec 19 '10 at 1:05
    
Yes! Do that. Man, I can't believe I haven't thought of that before. –  sarge_smith Dec 19 '10 at 1:30
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I'm not so sure they will be "thinner". The main determinant of texture in a caramel is the temperature it is cooked too; almost all of the water will have been cooked off and what is left is the compounds from cooking the sugar, and the fat. With less fat, if anything I think they will be harder. To take the idea to the extreme, think of the caramel made from just sugar and no other ingredients. It is rock hard at room temperature. I heartily agree it won't taste as good though! –  Michael at Herbivoracious Dec 19 '10 at 4:25
    
@micheal after further research, you are correct. Answer changed in light of invalidated personal experience. –  sarge_smith Dec 20 '10 at 8:32

According to this site, you can substitute one cup of skim milk plus two teaspoons of melted butter for each cup of whole milk.

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