Dulce de Leche:
Put the milk, sugar, corn
syrup, baking soda and salt in a large, heavy-duty 8 quart (8 liter) saucepan or Dutch oven. Place
over medium to medium-high heat and bring just to a boil. Watch carefully, and
as soon as the milk begins to foam up, stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden
spoon, and reduce heat until the milk is just at a low rolling boil. (If the milk foams
up too much, remove the saucepan from the heat until the foam starts to subside.
Then return to heat.)
Continue to cook
the milk, stirring the bottom and sides of the saucepan frequently, until the
mixture becomes very thick and sticky and caramel colored (this will take about 40-60
minutes). It is important to frequently stir the milk so it does not
burn. Adjust the heat as necessary, you want the milk to be at a low rolling
Note: There are
several stages the milk goes through during the cooking process. When the milk
first comes to a boil
there is a lot of foam. Eventually the foam subsides and after about 15
minutes, you will notice that the milk turns a light beige color. As it
continues to cook, the milk thickens and gets darker and darker in
color. The more you cook the Dulce de Leche, the thicker and more caramel
colored it will become. Once the Dulce de Leche has been reduced to about 1
1/4 cups (300 ml) it is ready.
Remove from heat
and strain, if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool before covering and storing. The Dulce
de Leche can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a month.
Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups (300 ml).