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Pliable Sugar

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I need help in a big way. I spent the weekend making batch after batch of sugar for pulling and blowing but have not been successful at making a batch that sets up hard. I've been very diligent with the cleanliness, times and quantities. I've adjusted the amount of tartartic acid, glucose and water. ALL to no avail. I'm successful using Isomalt, but it's so bloody expensive and I'd really prefer to use something I don't have to worry about people eating. Does anyone have any suggestions?....Please:crazy:
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
One afterthought...does anyone have a cheaper source for Isomalt than ChefRubber, there it is $2.9/lb. Also, what are your thoughts about eating the stuff? I've only read on this site that it has laxative qualities...is that in large quantities or small, too? I'm loving this artform, but it is a tad bit frustrating.
post #3 of 17
cookiejar,
sorry you're having problems with the sugar. Post your formula so we can take a look.
I'm paying almost $100. for a fifty pound of isomalt. It's hardly edible. I put it in the same catagory as elmers glue. Non-Toxic, but you don't want to eat. We disclaim all the work with isomalt. We just state it's not edible.
Where are you? Tell us where you are working. Is it humid? Did you try to boil some straight sugar?
Anyway, don't get frustrated. We'll get it straighted out quickly. Have you worked with regular sugar before?
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi Pan
First of all, I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a little humid right now but nowhere near as bad as it was in Florida at Chef Notters. I took his class and did work with some sugar there, but primarily he used Isomalt. The original recipe I used was 1000gm sugar, 500gm water, 200gm glucose and 10 drops tartaric acid. I cooked it to 320f. I subsequently adjusted the water to 300gm, then tried 100 gm of glucose, and finally dropped the acid to 5 drops. As a last resort I cooked the sugar to 305F according to a recipe I found on another site. At this moment, I have a pot of 1000gm sugar and 500gm water that I brought up to a boil, cleaned the scum, washed the edges with a wet brush and covered with plastic wrap. Tomorrow I was going to bring it back to the boil, add the glucose, acid and cook to 320F....Any thoughts?
post #5 of 17
First off if your using isomalt do not add the acid it does not need it. Secondly, sugar work is quickly becoming one dimensional with the introduction of isomalt.I have some ideas on your problem but Pan can handle it I am outta here.

Rgds Rook
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
The recipe I posted was for granulated sugar, not isomalt. I've had success with isomalt but wanted to go cheaper. I don't understand what you mean "one dimensional with isomalt", can you explain? I was pretty impressed with the stuff except you couldn't eat it. Sure is a lot easier to work with. In any case, Pan, you mentioned you bought 50 lb for $100, could you give me your source, please?
post #7 of 17
Cookiejar, you can eat isomalt but its a sugar alcohol and is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate and is therefore not used as energy as regular sugar would be. Bottom line be near a bathroom when you eat it is all.
Secondly, by one dimensional I mean't persons who practice sugarwork should become comfortable with both ingredients and not be tied to just one thats what I mean't. And personally for the price a 5lb bag of regular granulated will work just as well and not near as expensive. A lot of people find isomalt hotter and harder to pull and blow than regular granulated. But then agian I have been spouting like a whale on sugarwork for over a year now and have all but given it up for other endeavors. The interest in it is just not there and I figured I might as well quit wasting my time preaching to the choir especially when the seats are empty.

Rgds Rook
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Gottcha. I'm trying to be multi-dimensional...just might take a little time to get the recipe correct. I can see using granulated most of the time and isomalt when a beautiful clear or white color is needed. I'm too new at this but I'm trying very hard to get over this hurdle. I'm fairly adequate at pulling and blowing, not good, but adequate, which leads me to believe I'll improve quickly. If I knew how to attach a photo, I'd show some of my babies.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
I tried another batch tonight. Reduced the water to 300gm, the glucose to 70 gm and the acid to 5 drops AND raised the temp by 5 degrees F. STILL no luck. PLEASE...does anyone have any suggestions?
post #10 of 17
CookieJar. The quantities that you first list are correct. I shall assume that when you mix up your tartaric acid you are using a 50/50 mix. 50gms Tartaric acid to 50 gms boiling water and dissolved.
When are you adding the acid? If you are doing sugar pieces that you want to last you should be boiling and adding the glucose the first day, not the second. Anyway, after bringing the sugar to a slow boil and skimming it a few times you should be bringing it up to 280ºF. and adding 15 drops to the boil. Continue bringing the sugar up to 309ºF. Then you can plunge it into cold water to slow the cooking down before pouring it on a slab to cool.
This should be producing pliable sugar. Yours may not be so pliable because you're cooking it too hot at 320ºF. Lastly when you add color (before you add the acid) what kind of coloring agent are you using? Liquid or paste colors can contain acids that will deteriorate your sugar by over acidifying it.
Try this method and let us know how it works.
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry, I mis-led you. My problem is the sugar is too pliable, in other words, it never gets completely hard when cold. After I blow a shape and cool it, it just collapses. My acid is a 50/50 mix but maybe I added it too late per your last instructions. According to what I reading in other literature, do you think I should just eliminate it completely? On second thought, when I said 50/50, it did it by weight, should it be weighed or measured? Maybe my mixture is too strong? Thanks for helping.
post #12 of 17
Sorry CJ it was late when I answered. To go the opposite direction to what I told you... I would say to first off stick to the recipe and methods I gave you. Acid wise it's 50gms to 50gms (Water/Acid).

A couple of possibilities as to why you get collapsed pieces are that the sugar is too thick or of uneven thickness. This applies to blown as well as pulled pieces. Also you may not be cooling the pieces evenly or enough before you allow them to be on their own. It is a slow, dilligent, deliberate process.
The other possibilities are: You added too much acid, you added the acid too early and you didn't boil the sugar to a high enough temperature for long enough and the finished sugar contained too much water.

Check these things out and let us know what happens.
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'll try again tonight...I'm off to work. Thanks for the suggestions
post #14 of 17
What type sugar are you using? Granulated, isomalt? If your boiling regular granulated to 320F you are at or close to caramel stage it will not work unless you are going to make caramel cages. You have to much of something some where. Try using an eyedropper and add the acid in drops usually 12 drops for 1Kg of sugar (2.2lbs). Sounds to me like you are over saturating your mixture with the acid. When you add acid to sugar you break it down into its two most basic forms fructose and glucose. Cut your temp to 310F, add 6 drops tartaric acid. When are you adding the acid? At the start? After it boils? This can and will make a difference in the outcome.
post #15 of 17
Cookiejar,
like CH says. The piece has to be completely cooled to stand. Interesting problem though. You can even take a little after you pull or blow and stick it in the freezer to see what happens.
Don't get frustrated or give up. It just takes a while.It sometimes is a benefit to have some problems because you get to really study and become familiar with the sugar.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #16 of 17
Try blowing and rotating while holding it next to a hair dryer that way you keep the cool spots cool and the hot spots from forming weak spots. I have had this trouble in the past and this technique has served me well so far.

Rgds Rook
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wahoo!!! I FINALLY did it. I reduced the water and acid and cooked it quicker (20 min to final temp) Of course the true test is whether or not I can repeat over and over again. I did blow a plain Christmas ball to make sure it would harden, which is where my big problem was, as it set within minutes after blowing. Yesterday, the stuff stayed pliable forever....literally it never set up. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your inputs and support.
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