Softball Test For Fudge: See How Fudge Is Made

Fudge is an amazing treat enjoyed by many. But regardless of the recipe, there are three methods for cooking it. First, the water and sugar have to be heated to the soft ball stage, then cooled, and stirred.

Heating sugar to the softball stage is what makes fudge creamy, smooth, and enticing. To be sure that your sugar is at the desired state, you can test the temperature and texture of the syrup.

Read this article to know the different stages of the softball test for fudge.

What is the softball stage?

The softball stage is an exact temperature range occurring between 235 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit when heating sugar syrup.

When making candies like fudge, marshmallows, etc., water and sugar are boiled to different stages to achieve the desired texture.

During the process of boiling, water releases vapor and evaporates, and the sugar concentration increases. While this happens, the boiling temperature increases.

As soon as the boiling temperature is from 235 degrees to 245 degrees, the sugar syrup contains at least 90% sugar which is known as the softball stage.

How do you test for the softball stage when making fudge?

There are basically two methods to test if the sugar is at the softball stage which are:

1. Use of candy thermometer

Testing the softball stage using a candy thermometer is pretty easy and straightforward.

First, clip the thermometer by the side of the pot and bring it to a rolling boil but do not allow the thermometer’s knob to touch the bottom of the pot.

Allow the water to boil for about 10 minutes over high heat. The water should heat up to 235 – 240-degree Fahrenheit to achieve the softball stage.

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2. Cold water test

The cold water test is the old method of testing softball long before the invention of candy thermometers. It involves removing a spoonful of sugar syrup from the boiling pot and dropping it into a bowl of cold water to examine how it reacts.

If the syrup is able to hold its shape as a ball underwater but loses its shape outside the water, then it has reached the softball stage.

Sugar cooking stages

Sugar reacts in various ways depending on the temperature range when boiled. Also, there are different recipes for different types of candy and the boiling temperature required varies slightly for each of them.

1. Thread stage

The boiling temperature at this stage is between 215 to 235 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, if you test the syrup in cold water, it will form a thin thread in the air. This stage is perfect when making syrups and preservatives.

2. Softball stage

The boiling temperature at this stage is between 235 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, if a portion of the syrup is put in cold water, it will form a small pliable ball. This stage is perfect for making fudge, fondant, pralines, and the like.

3.  Hard-ball stage

The boiling temperature in this stage ranges from 245 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, a portion of the syrup put in cold water forms a firm or hard ball. The sugar is perfect for making caramel candies, marshmallows, etc.

4. Soft-crack stage

To get a soft-crack syrup the boiling temperature needed is between 270 to 290 degrees. A small amount added in cold water will make a soft cracking noise and form pliable threads which are excellent for making taffy and butterscotch.

5. Hard-crack stage

The hard-crack stage is for making candies like lollipops and higher temperatures make sugar caramelize and brown. Here the boiling point is 300 degrees Fahrenheit and above. The syrup makes a loud cracking noise and forms a brittle thread in cold water.

SEE: Are There Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar


How long should you boil fudge to the soft ball stage?

Fudge takes about 10 to 15 minutes to boil to the soft ball stage in high heat.

What is the soft ball stage temperature Celsius?

The softball temperature is between 112-115 degrees Celsius.

What does the softball stage look like?

At the soft ball stage, the sugar syrup forms a small pliable ball when put in cold water.

Can you overcook fudge?

Yes. The required temperature for fudge is 235 – 240 degrees Fahrenheit but if it goes beyond 240 the result may be a sugar that is perfect for making caramel candies, marshmallows, and the likes.

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Fudge is a creamy delight but the preparation stage is something you must pay attention to. If the sugar heats beyond the softball stage it will not form into small pliable balls in cold water.

Candy thermometer makes softball test for fudge relatively easy.

Simply clip the thermometer by the side of the pot and keep checking the thermometer till it reads 235 – 240-degree Fahrenheit. But if you don’t have a candy thermometer, then the cold water testing method is a good option too.

Lastly, you should check the articles on how to make blue food coloring darker.

I hope this article helps you to understand how to identify the softball stage for a creamy, smooth, and chocolate fudgy. Thank you for reading.