Monday, August 27, 2012

Completely Homemade Dulce de Leche (no sweetened condensed milk)

Although I LOVE using mixes and store-bought conveniences to give me a head start on recipes, I've been spending more time recently making things in old fashioned ways.  It takes a lot longer to make things homemade, but they're good skills to have.  I blame it on my emergency preparedness mentality.  In long term survival situations we'll need to know how to make things from scratch.  It's part of becoming self reliant. 

Plus, when you make things homemade you know exactly what is in them, which is nice!  Dulce de leche is something I grew up on because it's something my mom grew up on.  My mom always made it by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk until it was caramelized.  It's how her maid did it when she was growing up in Mexico. 

I love the taste of dulce de leche cooked that way, but I'm a little scared of the can exploding.  I've never actually seen a can of sweetened condensed milk explode, but I guess it could happen.  Dulce de leche is a South American treat that's been around for quite a while, but a lot of people aren't familiar with it.

This recipe makes a LARGE batch of dulce de leche... even once it condenses down it's still a little over half a gallon.  Dulce de leche is great on toast, pancakes, Maria's cookies, cake, rice pudding or ice cream.  It has a very unique caramel flavor.  It's a great way to use up close-dated milk.  Place it in milk bottles or canning jars for a fun neighbor gift!

My technique was not exact, but I want to share it with you anyway.

Homemade Dulce de Leche

1 gallon milk (I used skim)
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 tsp salt

Bring to a boil in a very large stockpot.  Boil gently stirring very often for a very long time until it condensed to about half and becomes golden and thick.  Mine cooked for around 3 hours on the stove top with me stirring quite often and then I added a heaping tablespoon of baking soda, let it foam up while stirring constantly and then placed the mixture in my crockpot on high with the lid cracked for another 4 hours so I could run errands.  When I got home I stirred well and it had come to the consistency I was going for.  I think it wouldn't take near as long if you used a higher fat content milk.  It would probably cut the time in half or more to use whole milk.

Store in the fridge.

**Note** I read a tip somewhere that you can place a clean saucer/plate in the bottom of your pot while making dulce de leche and the rocking of the plate in the boiling mixture will help it from burning and make it so you don't have to stir constantly like you do when making homemade caramels... I tried it and it worked for me.  Most dulce de leche recipes say you have to stir constantly... for HOURS, but the plate took care of a lot of the stirring. 


Jen said...

Yum! I grew up with this, same can and all. I'll have to try this recipe out. Do you know how long it keeps unopened and once opened?

The American Homemaker said...

We had ours in the fridge for a couple of weeks and it still tasted/smelled fine :)