Cookbook:Dulce de Leche

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Dulce de Leche

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Dulce de leche, also known as milk jam, is a confection made with milk and sugar.[1]


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Strictly speaking, dulce de leche requires only milk and sugar to be cooked together until thick and browned. This can be achieved from scratch by simmering sugar and milk together until thickened and brown.[2][3] However, sweetened condensed milk can be baked or boiled as well in order to save time.[3][1] Adding a little baking soda will help make the final product darker.[2][1]

Technically, dulce de leche is not a caramel—rather than from caramelization of sugar, it gets its similar color and flavor from the Maillard reaction between the sugar and the protein in the milk.[2][4][5][6]


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Dulce de leche ranges from tan to brown, depending on how long it is cooked and whether an alkaline substance is added during cooking. It is thick, sweet, and sticky, with the rich flavor of cooked milk.[5] Sometimes it has a slight grittiness to it as a byproduct of cooking, but it is overall smooth.

If made from goat milk, as it often is in Mexico, dulce de leche is called "cajeta".[7]

Selection and storage

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Canned dulce de leche will keep, unopened, at room temperature. Opened or fresh dulce de leche should be stored in the fridge, though its high sugar concentration will allow it to stay good for around a month.

Dulce de leche is widespread in Latin America and growing in popularity in the United States.[3][8] It is often used as a spread or filling, as in the sandwich cookies called alfajores, or a flavoring, as in ice creams and custards.[3] When cooked even longer, dulce de leche can be turned into a fudgy confection.[3]


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  1. a b c "Dulce de Leche | Sauced". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-06-25.
  2. a b c Vega, Cesar; Ubbink, Job; Linden, Erik van der (2013-08-13). The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-15345-4.
  3. a b c d e Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  4. Wartzman, Emma (2020-03-03). "The Ingredient That Takes Shortbread From Meh to Marvelous". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2024-06-25.
  5. a b "How to Make Dulce de Leche". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-06-25.
  6. "What's The Difference Between Dulce De Leche And Caramel?". Southern Living. Retrieved 2024-06-25.
  7. "What Is Dulce de Leche?". Food Network. Retrieved 2024-06-25.
  8. Labensky, Sarah; Martel, Priscilla; Damme, Eddy Van (2015-01-06). On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Updated Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-388675-7.