The consistency of a sugar syrup is measured on a “thread” scale.
It is important to get the correct consistency of a syrup because it affects the quality of the finished item. Who would want jalebi made with syrup with the wrong consistency?
The thread scale test helps to achieve the required syrup consistency when cooking with sugar.
Checking the thread consistency is really easy.
The ingredients to make a syrup, including the sugar, are mixed together and gently boiled.
The syrup is gently boiled until the syrup has the required thread consistency.
Every so often, dip a wooden spoon into the syrup, remove the spoon from the syrup, leave to cool for 5-10 seconds, touch the syrup on the spoon with your forefinger, touch your thumb and forefinger together and then gently pull the thumb and finger apart (if the syrup is too hot to touch then you need to leave it to cool a bit longer – be careful).
The objective is to get a “thread” to form. A thread is an unbroken length of syrup.
If a single thread is formed, you have a “one thread” consistency.
If two threads are formed, you have a “two thread” consistency.
If three threads are formed, you have a “three thread” consistency. The “three thread” consistency is the largest thread measure.
The syrup will thicken and get more threads if it is boiled for longer. Once a one thread consistency has been reached, the next measures (two thread and three thread) will happen fairly quickly.
If no threads are formed when you test the syrup, you need to boil for longer to get a thread consistency measure.
If you want a two thread consistency but the syrup only has a one thread consistency, you need to boil the syrup for longer.
If you want a three thread consistency but the syrup only has a two thread consistency, you need to boil the syrup for longer.
If you have a thread consistency that is too large, you can add a little hot water to dilute the syrup a little and keep boiling until the required thread consistency is reached.
This all sounds very complicated but, really, it is a very simple measuring system. The only thing you need to be careful of is not to burn your fingers on the syrup.