I recently started doing gumpaste flowers as a hobby and I might have a knack for it. So I bought packs of CMC powder, no brand on it, so I could make more. I use Nicholas Lodge's recipe to the gram to make my gumpaste. After 24 hours, I knead and roll it thin. (1) I noticed that as I roll a piece of gumpaste thin, the sides crack a lot. Like Playdoh. I've seen dozens of YouTube videos where their gumpaste did not crack when rolling it. (2) And mine does not stretch a lot. I've seen people pull their batch of gumpaste when kneading it. Mine breaks after 2 inches of stretch. (3) It's too sticky to thin with a ball tool also. I add quite the amount of cornstarch for my balltool to glide on it. (4) Gets sandy when I color it also with a gel color. I'm doomed.
I wonder what am I doing wrong. Is it my powdered sugar? Or maybe my generic CMC powder? More or less CMC? Need to knead it more until it does not crack anymore? Or need more egg whites. It's 60-75% humidity lately here so that could be a reason also?
I don't think we have ready made gumpaste on my side of the globe.
I need help. I would appreciate every little bit of help. Thank you very much.
Sorry for the long post. I'm desperate.
I love Nick's recipe, but it's not exact. I'd try kneading in a little more egg white, maybe half a tsp. at a time, until you get the stretch that you like. The cracking & lack of stretch is the result of dryness from adding in all of the powdered sugar, so adding egg white should fix that.
Try using shortening instead of cornstarch to knead into it, that will make it stretchier and less likely to dry out and crack. You might have some weird CMC powder, too, who knows. If there's no brand it's hard to say.
We used to use a variation of the original Nic Lodge recipe that didn't have egg whites in it. It was 1 packet of gelatin (1 scant Tbsp), 1/4 cup cold water to bloom the gelatin in, 1 Tbsp shortening and 2 tsp corn syrup. 1 pound powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp CMC or Tylose. Bloom the gelatin in the water, add the corn syrup and shortening and stir over a pan of boiling water until it's all melted and combined. Add the liquid mixture to the powdered sugar and CMC and mix it all up (use a stand mixer). Knead with some corn starch until it's pliable and not sticky, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge if you're not going to use it for a while. You can adjust the corn syrup or water to make it more or less sticky, depending on the humidity where you are.
You want it to be pliable but not super stiff because it will harden up as it cures. If it's cracking or tearing on the edges, knead some shortening into it. I never use corn starch when I'm working with gumpaste because it dries it out too much, I use shoretning to knead into it and that works a lot better for me.
But, beware of shortening..........it's a short term effect that can quickly degrade the balance of the recipe and leave the gumpaste brittle and unworkable. It's not really adding moisture. It's adding fats.
For your ball tool, you can mix powdered sugar & cornstarch 50/50 and get a nice product tho minimize drag.
Thank you @maybenot for the egg white tip. I'll definitely do that as soon as I could. I have two other earlier batches of gumpaste on the fridge to add more egg whites to so fingers crossed. And that way, I'll be able to find out if it is my CMC's fault because I used a different kind of Tylose powder before and didn't get cracks. I couldn't re-create that old recipe because I just dumped things on a bowl back then, I didn't have an electric scale. And I bought like 2 pounds of the CMC powder I am currently using and I only used 30grams out of it.
And if the egg whites couldn't solve it, I'll definitely try @costumeczar 's recipe (thank you for that). I've seen all the ingredients locally so making it would be doable. Is it good on humid areas? It's currently 75% humidity on my side of the world and the reason I used Lodge's recipe is that I read that it's good at dealing with humidity.
I didn't use cornstarch when kneading it, I only used it for dusting my tools and the gumpaste itself for my tools to glide on it. I use shortening when kneading.
Thank you very much you kind sugarpeople for the help. Will update on progress here. Thanks again.
I'm using a new account because I couldn't login to my old one. Weird.
And if any of you have other suggestions or tips, please do share them here. It will be very much appreciated. I need all the help I could get.
I don't have a problem with shortening making the gumpaste more brittle, but when I make it I tend to keep it on the wetter side by adding some extra water when I bloom the gelatin, so that might make a difference. You'll have to experiment...That recipe is fine for humidity, it's a basic one and I've used it before for outdoor weddings in Virginia, which is usually around 75% humidity in the summer.
I doubt that your CMC is "bad", but it's reasonable to believe that different companies [or even different batches] will vary slightly. It could be as simple as one batch being older, or having more filler in it, than the other.
A lot of making gum paste is getting a feel for the product as you make it. You may want to just start by adding a bit less CMC and only kneading more in if you find that you're not happy.
You can mitigate dry gum paste by adding egg white [increases moisture and improves stretch], adding water [increases moisture, but needs some time to integrate so that it's not too sticky], by kneading in some shortening [can be a delicate balance because a very little makes the gum paste smooth and pliable, but too much actually causes the gum paste to separate and crumble], or by decreasing the amount of powdered sugar and/or CMC/tylose from the start. You can also knead in some straight fondant to overly dry gum paste, too, to get it to the consistency that you like.