The soft-ball stage is a phase in candy cooking when a small amount of syrup gets dropped into cold water, forms a ball and does not keep its shape when pressed. The temperature the candy reaches at this stage is between 235 to 240 Fahrenheit.
Some types of candy made in the soft-ball stage include fudge, fondant, cream, penuche and maple. Confectioners use the cold-water test to see what happens to a small amount of syrup when it cools. If the syrup holds its shape and is still pliable, it is in the hard-ball stage. If the syrup forms a ball and remains sticky, it is in the firm-ball stage.