Ive been cake decorating for a while and this particular issue has bothered me.
What do you guys dry your flat fondant pieces on?
Usually we use sheet pans or the little market trays for smaller thinhs with parchment paper on them so the fondant doesnt stick to the tray accidently.
Sometimes this makes the parchment warp a bit while drying so its not perfectly flat, the moisture thats in the fondant.
Anyway to avoid this??
Sometimes crisco is used on the rolling surface before its moved and other times cornstarch is. Havent seen much difference between either method.
I do the exact same thing that you are doing - sheet pan lined with parchment, then I sprinkle powdered sugar before placing the fondant on. For me, this helps the fondant dry and harden faster as well as keeping it from sticking. Then I flip the pieces every half hour or so, or when I think about it. I have no complaints and the paper doesn't seem to crinkle or warp on me.
When the surface is crisco-ee I just sprinkle on the powdered sugar (or corn starch) to take away the stickiness.
I use these, very cheap, Farberware 4 piece cutting board set, $6.00 at Target. I do not use corn starch, I roll, cut and dry on these, with very little shortening, only when needed. When I am making a lot and need to use the mats, I let the pieces firm up a bit and transfer them to my cooling racks, ones made with the very fine wire mesh. The fondant does not stick. HTH
Ah never thought to use the cutting boards.
Yeah we usually flip them too but a lot of times theres a slight wavyness too it.
Wonder if its the thiness of the parchment we use. We have the full sheet ones used for baking which seem thinner than the rolls of parchment you get in the store.
When I worked at a bakery in Germany, all our sheet pans were perforated. I hated them for baking, but they were excellent for drying fondant & gumpaste pieces. The air circulation made things dry faster & flatter.
I use cheap, dollar store locker shelves. The wire mesh is perfectly flat with small holes so nothing falls through. Because it is about 6 inches tall, I can hang items with wire if I need to. And the beauty of it is that air circulates from the top and bottom which speeds drying time. I love them!
I use my Silpat sheets - works great and no sticking. In fact I roll most things right out them (especially logos and such) and then I don't have to move them at all until they firm up a bit to flip.
Locker shelves are a great idea!
I'll tell you what NOT to use...a ton of cornstarch. I made a graduation cap out of gumpaste way in advance so it would dry. I put a bunch of cornstarch and on a pan with the gumpaste square on top. When I went back a few days later to flip it...I found the cornstarch had put huge divits all over it. It hadn't occured to me. SOOOO annoyed. Lesson learned.
I use an upturned thick foam mat which is normally used for cupping / shaping gumpaste flowers on the other side. I turn it over and put the wavy side down onto a board (so I can move it without bending it) and the underside of the foam is flat as a dab. I sometimes use a piece of greaseproof paper under the fondant piece but dont find the foam makes any marks on it anyway. I turn it sometimes when I remember just to keep it absolutely flat but it isnt necessary and the process of turning can be even more disastrous than leaving it. If I'm going to turn- I wait til the piece is firm enough not to finger mark.
If I dry things on a board I find they tend to stick or slide (both scenarios take years off my life) but the foam lets the air circulate and things dry quicker. I actually prefer to put the fondant directly onto the foam but thats personal preference and may not be acceptable to other decorators.
Don't all these racks and things with holes in make marks on your fondant??
I use my foam mat also, forgot about that. I do not turn my pieces, if I am short on time, I place on a cookie sheet sometimes lined with parchment paper if I remember,but mostly not, and place in the oven with the light on only. This trick I learned on CC, can't remember who. But its a life saver. The mesh on the cooling rack is fine and the fondant is already pretty firm, not soft, so no impression marks. Don't know about the locker shelves. HTH
Do you ever try to dry pieces on a curved surface, to replicate the side of a cake? Dummies would be perfect for that, but I'm not sure I have the space to store them, so I've tried industrial size cans of tomatoes, stacks of styrofoam plates, and that kind of thing to allow the item to dry with a natural curve so the sides don't fly out from the curve of the cake like wings. Any tips?
Yup, for curved pieces I prop up the cake pan on it's side, layer with a few pieces of paper towel for the approx icing thickness, then parchment, then the piece. Works great!
You can dry pieces on the outside of the cake pan you are using. Rub a little shortening on the side of the pan, also place the pan in a drawer or inside a box or container so it does not roll. kwim
Some folks store their fondant pieces in the freezer on a cookie sheet. This way you can make decorations ahead of time, since when you remove from the freezer, as the fondant comes to room temp its soft enough, allowing you to place on a curve. HTH
I use cake boards covered in cling film.
Oh...and bigger pieces I turn over after one side is dry.
Thanks, Caroline and Hippie...I'll try those tips for sure!
before discovering the wonders of egg-crate foam, the flat backs are excellent,
I often used my stainless steel frying pan spatter screen. It's fantastic for drying both sides without any flipping.
Never thought of splatter screens. And the foam is a really good idea as well.
Cake dummies or cake pans def work great for curved surfaces. We actually have a piece drying curved on a cake dummy at work. Parchment over it and toothpicks to hold the parchment in place works great.
Ive never heard that storing them in the freezer bit. Interesting.