Does anyone use a food dehydrator for flowers, fondant, gum paste items? If so can you recommend a model? Any pro and cons? Looking for one and I want to know if it is worth it.
hope you get some good input..
i asked my dh for one.. and he got it for me...
i promptly put a fondant/gumpaste mix baby in there that i made from a first impressions mold.. beautiful little baby..
plugged in the dehydrator..
came back about 15 minutes later to a fully melted baby seeping through the holes on the dehydrator insert.
i honestly didn't think about it getting 'hot' to dry the foods...
maybe you have to let your item dry partially first??
i'll be watching to see what advice everyone has.. b/c right now, all i have is a dehydrator collecting dust...
I have a food dehydrater to make beef jerky etc...I don't know if it would dry it or melt it though...
I use my warming drawer in the bottom of my oven. It has lo med hi--I dry my stuff on med which is a constant 150 degrees. More than that and it melts.
So if you have something, a food dehydrator or warming drawer or something--stick an oven thermometer in there and if it never gets over 150 it should work--but my famous last words--test it first. That coupled with--make more than one.
I tried it ONCE! Got a sticky gooey mess out of the situation!
I have the original Ronco (I think that's what its called) dehydrator that they sold as a way of making homemade jerky and fruit roll-ups, etc.
I cut parchment circles to fit the trays (with a hole cut in the center) and I lay my fondant bows, curls, ribbons, etc - basically anything that I need to dry out quickly because I didn't plan far enough ahead! LOL
I would not recommend using it for very thick, 3D items as it doesn't dry consistently thruout and you end up with a distorted version of what you put in there in the first place. For instance, I made a bunch of little lipgloss tubes and nail polish bottles and they were dry and 'crunchy' on the outside, but the insides were still mushy and caused the items to become mis-shaped.
I have no idea how hot it gets, but the items are very warm when I remove them, and I let them sit on the trays (off of the base) for a few minutes to cool off before attaching to buttercream. I make a lot of fondant 'snake' numbers and initials for toppers, and they dry great in a very short amount of time. I can make bow loops at 10pm and have them ready for attaching the next morning at 8am.
If the item is very heavy or thick, you might end up with the little grid marks from the trays impressing on your items, so maybe let them set up a little while before putting in the trays, or use a double layer of parchment under that item only. Too much/too thick parchment will interfere with the airflow.
PS - I live in Houston with most days being extremely humid and the dehydrator really works great for me. I've tried putting items in the oven with the light on overnight and just don't have the same results as the dehyrator.
Hope this helps some of you!
Oh yeah but I forgot to mention that I add cornstarch to my fondant too.
I use my old, cheap dehydrator all the time for gumpaste, but it will soften fondant. I put some items on sheets of craft foam cut to fit to prevent grid marks. I have had good results with larger items, too, by leaving them in for several days so that they dry all the way through. DH made two collars for it so that I can put taller items in it. These collars are just rounds of plastic that fit inside the dehydrator tray rim to hold the lid up higher. Mine is an old, inexpensive (probably Ronco) unit. It is in use now, so I stuck a thermometer on one of the trays - it seems to be about 108F.
Thank you everyone for the great information. I am still not sure what I will do but the information is very helpful!