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A guide to check thread of sugar syrups

We need to make sugar syrup for a lot of sweets and mithais. And these sugar syrups have to be made in varying consistencies. It is common to use terms like one-thread or two-thread but for a new cook it could be very confusing. I have been asked many times if there is a simple way to find out the exact thread of the sugar syrup. 

While the syrup is boiling keep testing it for its consistency. To do this, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds as it will be very hot at first. Now touch the syrup with a clean forefinger and then touch your thumb and forefinger together and pull apart gently. Keep boiling the syrup gently till you reach the consistency called for in the recipe. Stages progress fairly quickly after a point, so check frequently. 

One-thread consistency is when a single thread is formed (and does not break) when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently. Two-thread consistency is when two threads are formed (and do not break) when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently. This stage is also called the soft-ball stage - when a drop of syrup of this consistency is dropped into a bowl of cold water, it forms a soft ball. Three-thread consistency is when three threads are formed (and do not break) when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently. This stage is also called the hard-ball stage - when a drop of syrup of this consistency is dropped into a bowl of cold water, it forms a hard ball.

We often ask you to add a few teaspoons of milk or a few drops of lemon juice to remove impurities as scum from sugar syrups. In some recipes a drop or two of lemon juice is also added when the desired consistency of the sugar syrup has been reached so as to stop the sugar from crystallizing again.