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Pulled Sugar for Dummies

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Is there a resource out there (book, video) that details pulling sugar for the completely inept? Is it really true that I'm going to lose all my fingerprints handling this stuff? I'd like to play with it at home when I get off work; where can I buy the items necessary for pulled sugar?

Also, how practical is pulled sugar really? I mean, in terms of professional skill, is it an essential part of the craft of the pastry chef or is it merely an aside that is rarely used in a professional setting?
post #2 of 86
granulated sugar
those are the basic ingredients
boil to a temp of hard ball
pour out on lightly oiled surface
work with a bench scraper
when cool enough to handle with rubber gloves
pull to a satiny shine
under heat lamp pull shapes and cool
Notter, look up this name, he and wife are best I have seen. They have books and classes.
Also, try Paris Gourmet, they have sugars with stablizers for pullling, pouring and forming.
this is tricky stuff, I suggest a class or two with someone who knows their stuff.
good luck
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
post #3 of 86
Well M Brown covered most of what you need. As far as books go there are several The Professional Pastry Chef and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef both by Bo Friberg. As far as it being a necessary part of a pastry chefs repotoire I don't know. Ewald Notter has one but the book is about $100.00.Most chefs do not take the time to learn this art because it takes years just to become proficient at it. Then you have to consider Isomalt or granulated sugar? I can post a recipe for the pulled sugar but it is using granulated sugar not Isomalt. Here is an equipment run down for:

1). A Professional Candy Thermometer. (The most important piece of equip!)
2). A stainless steel pot or copper pot.
3). A marble slab or silpat, or cookie sheet.(Marble and cookie sheet have to be greased with vegetable oil.)
4).A heat lamp 250 watts
5). A warming box
6). A metal spatula or metal dough cutter.
7). A hair dryer with a warm and cool setting
8). Rubber gloves. (You will get blisters from this stuff!)
9). A rubber bulb pump or air pump.(I use a bulb pump from an old blood pressure cuff.)
10). A metal or wooden tube. I use a metal tube. Make sure it will fit into the end of your rubber hose on your pump.
11). A pastry brush dedicated solely for sugar work!

I know I have left something out but don't know what it is. As far as purchasing the equipment I would make most of what you can because you can find most of it at hardware stores.

I can post the recipe for using granulated sugar I do not have one for Isomalt. You can also try Albert Usters or Chef if you would like to shop around.
post #4 of 86
Good list. I would also add some source of flame for glueing. Small torch or alcohol burner. A pair of heavy scissors. Gloves are pretty cheap. Maybe some modeling clay. I use a pet hair dryer with cool air.
post #5 of 86
See I told you I left something out. Thanks Pan.
post #6 of 86

Boiled Sugar Recipe

Well I promised it so here it is:

Boiled Sugar Recipe

32 oz (2 pounds granulated sugar)
16 oz (2 Cups water)
8 oz (1 Cup glucose or light corn syrup)
2 Level Teaspoons Cream of Tartar

Before starting fill your sink full of cold water.

Bring sugar and water to a boil over low heat stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. When the water comes to a boil stop stirring and do not stir anymore after this.Add your candy thermometer at this point.And raise the heat to medium.

With a pastry brush and and warm water constantly wash down the sides of the pan. This prevents sugar crystals from forming and getting into your sugar mixture. These crystals could cause your mixture to recrystallize later.

When the temperature reaches 285F add the glucose or light corn syrup and the cream of tartar dissolved in a tablespoon or two of water.Continue cooking to 305F.

Remove from the heat and allow the bubbles to subside then plunge your pan into the sink full of cold water for 10 seconds make sure the water comes half way up the sides of the pan. Dry the sides and bottom of the pan well after removing it from the sink do not want that water in your sugar mixture!

Now you can pour it out onto a greased marble slab or cookie sheet or silpat. Silpats do not have to be greased but I have found it is easier if they have a light coat of vegetable oil on them.

Begin turning the outer edges of the sugar toward the center of the mass.Continue doing this all the way around the edges and moving the sugar around this hastens cooling.As soon as the sugar is cool enough to handle pick it up and begin pulling it. As you pull double it and pull agian. I would not pull it more than 20 times as over pulling will cause recrystallization.The sugar will take on a silky sheen.

At this point you place it under your heat lamp until ready for use.

This recipe has gone through various developmental stages. Thanks to CHrose and Panini here on ChefTalk I have been able to continue to perfect this recipe cause those guys really know their sugar!
post #7 of 86
If you're casting and want to use modeling dough, use Plasticene, available at art stores. Don't use the cheap kiddies stuff, it can't handle the heat. Also if there's a metal shop nearby, get yourself some 3/8 s/s square bars, in various lengths. These, combined with the plasticene will give you any shape you want. You can get the "bubble effect" by spraying/brushing 70%rubbing alcohol on to the casting mat before casting the sugar.

Casting is much more straightforward and less time consuming than pulling and blowing. This makes it ideal for larger pieces for bufffets, etc, on short notice.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #8 of 86
Foodpump, whats this bubbling effect you are talking about. Sounds good. By 70% alcohol are you talking about regular rubbing alcohol? What about rum or vodka would that work?
post #9 of 86
Regular rubbing alcohol, the stuff you get at a drugstore. Brush it or mist it on silicone paper or a sil-pat just before you cast. As the hot sugar hits it, the alcohol evaporates and the surrounding sugar bubbles up, neat effect.
Booze is maybe 40 % (or 80 proof in the US, don't ask me why...) and won't work, besides, rubbing alcohol is cheaper....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #10 of 86
I totally agree with that. I am going to have to put that away in my notes and try it one day.
post #11 of 86
Stephane Glacier's book, Sucre d'Art is a good basic book on the subject. Lots of pictures and good basic info.
post #12 of 86
I've got Fassbind's book, also a Swiss husband/wife team, called "Sugar Artikel" Good colour photos, and text in German, English, French, and Spanish. Don't have an airbrush, too expensive, but I've noticed that Wilton now has mini-spray bombs of food colouring....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #13 of 86
Ewald and Susan Notter have one called "The Textbook of Sugar Pouring and Pulling" but it like everything else is expensive to about $100 from a bookstore in England off of E-Bay.
post #14 of 86
For an airbrush,check out some of the smaller Badger airbrushes. With the half off Michael's craft store coupon, mine ran $16. No compressor, works with canned air. Haven't tried it out yet, but got the tip from someone else that says Norman Love suggested them in a demo for working with colored cocoa butter.
post #15 of 86
You will need a single action with a larger orifice for the cocoa butter, which yours probably is.
Use the can in small blasts. Longer sprays will make the can cold or freeze.
If you are looking at pumps, spend the extra money and get one with a holding tank. Much smoother action.
post #16 of 86
You can use a Wagner Power Painter to spray chocolate. I know this has nothing to do with cocoa butter. Use the power painter with an adjustable nozzle and make sure it has not been used for painting best buy it new. You can make templates and lay them over plates or something to make beautiful presentations. Just rattling on.
post #17 of 86
Wagner power painter is on my wish list.
post #18 of 86
ducky if you can get a hold of a copy of The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef or The Professional Pastry Chef it has a few good templates in it.
post #19 of 86
Cool! :cool: Thanks! I need to go through all the craft stencils I own and see what I have to work with. I remember picking up some really cool large asian themed pieces at the last rubber stampers convention if I can remember where I put them.
post #20 of 86

Sugar Recipe Question

In the recipe for pulled sugar, what is the purpose of the cream of tartar?

Thank you in advance to anyone that replies. This is my first posting.
post #21 of 86

Cream of Tartar?

The cream of tartar is an acid the reason it is used is to retard moisture. Sugar is hygroscopic which means it attracts moisture a taboo in sugar work. There are several acids you could use tartaric acid is the strongest, then the cream of tartar, you can also use vinegar, and ,lemon juice but it will cloud the sugar so stay away from it if possible. Are you using granulated or isomalt? Acids also help in keeping the sugar pliable for pulling. Hope I answered your question..;)
post #22 of 86

Thank You


Thanks. I really appreciate it. I am using isomalt.

I've decided to spend some time working with sugar and testing the variables for working with it.
post #23 of 86
SugarArtists I think you will find plenty of variables when it come to sugar.
But you are doing right.Best way to learn is to jump in and do it. Glad I could help.
post #24 of 86
I just wanted to make sure you are not using the acid with isomalt, it's really not necessary.
I was just going to tell you what I told the crew about Tartaric Acid.
It comes from grapes.
When you boil sugar, the sucrose inverts into smaller molocules of fructose and glucose. This helps it to clear . You then need to boil it past the point where the fructose and glucose molecules won't meld/recombine back together. Crystalize. The tartaric acid is used because it makes it even more difficult for this to happen.
This is just how I understand it. HTH
post #25 of 86

Thank You

Panini and CakeRookie,

I really appreciate your comments. I am very familiar with Isomalt. It's what I taught myself to work with, but I have a project that I will need to have a better understanding of working with sugar.

Thanks for all your help!
post #26 of 86

Playing with sugar

Is pulling and pouring sugar something that should be "played around with" at home, or should I look into taking a class first? Granted, there's always the danger of burning yourself, but is it something that needs to be learned with insturction, or experamentation?
post #27 of 86
Well I know I will get contridicted on this by someone. But you can experiment and work with it at home. Classes are great and will help you a lot if you have a school nearby that gives instruction in sugar work. It is both learned by experimentation and instruction its just however you want to procede. By one or both. I use to work with it a lot at home but was having to many tech problems so I have backed off of it for a while. If you want to learn it the best way is too get a recipe and the right equipment and go for it. You can do that while you are contemplating classes and such. Need any help I will be glad to help as I am sure everyone else here who does this will help.You are in the right place just hang with us...
post #28 of 86

Every individual learns differently. With something like this, obviously hands on experience is necessary whether the instruction is from a book, video, or a class. If you have the opportunity to take a class, then by all means do so. It's good to have someone with experience who can provide feedback in real time.
post #29 of 86
If you're going to play at home, just be mindful of the distractions, people or phone, and keep a bowl of ice water nearby and ready. I haven't been doing pulled sugar but just doing candy I've learned to do it when no one else is around to distract me.
post #30 of 86
does anyone know what i did wrong when i made candy canes. when i was done rolling them and twisting them together i let them sit and then a hour later they were compleatily flat.

I followed this reccipe

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
red food coloring

Cook sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar to a very hard ball stage (use candy thermometer: 250 to 265 degrees F.). Remove from heat and add peppermint. Divide into two parts and add red coloring to one part and mix well. Pull pieces of each part to form ropes and twist red around the white to make candy canes.
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