I'm wanting to practice my piping as I'm, well, rubbish :D
The only thing puts me off is the thought of how much money and time it will cost in constantly making buttercreams to practice with. One site I was looking at suggested using toothpaste instead, including scraping it off and using it again immediately.
Has anyone else tried this? If so, how well did it work? And are there any other cheaper alternatives?
In culinary school, we used "practice buttercream" at the beginning - mix powdered sugar and vegetable shortening (we used Crisco) together until it's a somewhat stiff consistency, and we used that over and over and over again. Kept it in a big bin in the classroom, and it stayed pretty soft. The shortening would go a bit rancid after a while (classroom got full afternoon sun), and then we'd dump it and make another batch. Definitely cheaper than making "real" buttercream, and I still use it today to practice and test ideas out on my cake dummies. I also save any excess frosting to use for this purpose!
Hope that helps!
Toothpaste is too thin and too expensive.....just make 'practice icing' as suggested above (10x, shortening and water and some meringue powder will help it last a bit longer and not break down from the heat of your hand). that is what we used in all of the classes I taught.
If you don't have a Wilton practice board, you can make one for yourself using a 9x13 piece of foamcore board or cake drum. Tightly wrap a piece of waxed paper around the board and tape securely in the back. Practice away and then scrape off the icing using your angled spatula & put it into a container to re-use. I'd imagine that you could also cover the board with contact paper.
You can store the icing in the frig for several weeks. You may have to beat it to restore it to the proper consistency if it sits unused for a long time.
I've actually just ordered this yesterday!!
As you can see, it includes the basic practice boards, and if it helps I'm tempted by the deluxe version as well. Anyone else have that who can comment on it?
If you do an Internet search for practice piping sheets you can find free practice sheets. Enclose them in three hole plastic protectors and store in a binder. They can be wiped clean and re-used.