Dulce de Leche (Sweet Milk)
This makes a wonderful topping for vanilla ice cream, for custard,
or for yellow cakes and even fruit. But it is so wonderful you may
want to eat it straight from the pan.
5 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 teaspoon baking soda
Put the milk in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring
to a boil and allow skin to form on top. Do not stir. The skin will
thicken and puff up. After this, reduce the heat to medium and
remove the skin. Increase the heat to medium-high and repeat the
process 3 times.
Add the sugar and vanilla bean, and stir until the sugar has melted,
about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in the baking soda.
Simmer milk, stirring often, but taking care not to break the film
of cooked milk forming on the inside of the pan. Keep simmering,
skimming the foam (which is different from the film) until reduced
by half, about 1 hour.
Turn the heat down even lower and simmer for
another 3 and 1/2 hours, stirring and skimming foam occasionally.
The mixture will brown as it cooks.
Strain the completely cooked mixture through a
sieve into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate, which will thicken it
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.