Hey Chowhounders -
I have an excess amount of milk at the moment, and was thinking about making some Dulce de Leche from scratch, but I had some questions, and I was hoping some of you might have some ideas, because unfortunately the majority of web articles on the subject have to do with the kind made from boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk (and I just got plumb tired of wading through them! >.<)
So the basic process seems simple enough. Heat milk & sugar together, simmer, add baking soda, stir constantly and cook until reduced. Which takes hours from what I understand.
My first question is; has anyone tried doing this in a Sous Vide, Crockpot, Bain Marie or even in the oven? It seems to me that a steady, consistent temperature that any of those options would provide would be much preferable to the vagaries of the stove top.
My Second question is; If you do use one of the above methods, is it required to stir constantly, or does the gentler heating method protect and insulate it enough that it wouldn't be as necessary. In other words, does the stirring serve another purpose, such as preventing clumping from forming, as opposed to merely being to prevent scorching.
My third question is, is it possible to Can Dulce de Leche in a shelf-stable format? I have both a pressure canner and a waterbath canner - and I know Dairy is a big no-no in both, but I'm wondering if Dulce De Leche is still a danger if it's been reduced down so far, since both the acidity level of it and the sugar levels would be pretty high.
Also, if anyone has any other ideas for things to make with excess milk, I'd love to hear them.