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Isomalt is not my friend....

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have tried several times now to do some isomalt gems.....and it isn't working. They look beautiful and clear when I first make them, but then get sticky and cloudy the next day. Can anyone clue me in on what the deal is?? I have tried it from the crystals and from the already made isomalt - neither one works. Is it the humidity here that is my downfall?? Any tips would be greatly appreciated - thanks.
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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post #2 of 22
I hope someone answers. I've never worked with isomalt. When working with sugar though, the items would get sticky and cloudy when I used tartaric acid. I stopped using it. Just curious, does the recipe/formula using isomalt call for tartaric acid (or any other acid ) or is it an ingredient in the already made?
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
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"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
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post #3 of 22
I read somewhere to use glucose w/ isomalt to prevent cloudiness:

"If you like, try this recipe (the glucose is added to prevent the poured isomalt from becoming hazy after absorbing moisture):

1kg isomalt
100g glucose
Water (enough to cover bottom of casserole with depth around 1/2 cm)

In a casserole with the water, pour 1/3 of the isomalt and cook till dissolved.
Add another 1/3 of the isomalt, cook till dissolved.
Add remaining 1/3, cook till 170C. (338F) Add glucose (brought to boil in microwave)
Cook to 170C again, pour as desired.
For a smoother appearance on the surface, hit the surface of the isomalt with a blowtorch immediately after pouring (it's really amazing how much more glasslike it is even if you don't see any bubbles)."
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Life is short... eat dessert first!
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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks eatdessert - if using it this way, are you able to re-melt it again? I have glucose here, I just need to convert the measurements to US. I also have a torch, but I want them to have the "jeweled" finish on the top - so can I torch the back side of them and that still work?
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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post #5 of 22
I've read you can remelt and reuse melted isomalt. I don't know personally about the blowtorch, but it sounds like just a quick go-over w/ the flame wherever the bubbles are and it'll smooth them out. I'd suggest asking in the pulled sugar forum for more details. I love pulling sugar but haven't done it in a long while so am very rusty on details.
Life is short... eat dessert first!
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Life is short... eat dessert first!
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post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I didn't have any trouble with bubbles, it is perfectly clear - it is just cloudy after a day of setting......

I will try asking down in the candy section and see if anyone there has any ideas - thank you for trying to help me out!
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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post #7 of 22
I know that my girlfriend ordered some already made sugar jewels from England and the boxes said something like, use them right away after you open the box. So she just wanted to check them out and poof use it or loose it.

It's not a super make ahead item for me--for Kincaellan maybe.

What are those keep fresh little packs they have in everything now--Silica gel or silicone or something? If you package your gems up very carefully, that might help.

Kincaellan is an expert and he comes on here and he's got a book too.

I have some indicating dessicant that I can use to protect my stuff--it's one color and when it absorbs moisture from the air it turns another color--then you can put the dessicant in the oven & dry it out back out to the first color again and re-use it. So it absorbs the moisture instead of your work absorbing the moisture.

But the blow torch is essential in doing sugar work--and I'm talking hardware store blowtorch. I got the one with the starter right on it so I invested a bit more for mine than is totally necessary--but even the one where you gotta light a match to get it going is super cheap and so so so worth it.

Because I have even gone back and torched them a day later and viola the sticky is gone without loosing form.

Also, venuance pearls are dry like fabric--they stayed dry like cra-zee for me for days and days. And then you could get the white ones and air brush spray them whatever color.

So sugar breaks down first, isomalt holds better, venuance pearls holds the best/longest. I mean just sitting on the pan in the air not packaged.

Sweet boiled thoughts for you.
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks K8 - I appreciate all of your help on this. I am not giving up - taking a class next week with Keith Ryder on this subject. icon_wink.gif I do have the real torch - a handy tool! Where do you get the venuance (spelled??) pearls? I really liked the look - I almost hit it, but those jewels clouded over and I just could not get them to stay clear.....maybe in the winter time they work better??

I like to try to learn to do things myself so I am not bound by having to purchase already made products for my designs......just having a hard time with this new (to me!) medium. icon_confused.gif

Thank you again ........
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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post #9 of 22
Loucinda, at what temperature do you remove the isomalt water mixture off the stove?
post #10 of 22
Albert Uster Imports

www.auiswiss.com

for Venuance pearls.
one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
I took it off at 2 different temps (different batches) once at 320 and once at 340. Neither one worked - they both turned cloudy the next day. I also tried doing it in the microwave, still to no avail. icon_sad.gif I am hoping the hands on with Keith Ryder will improve my hot sugar/isomalt skills some.
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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post #12 of 22
I only melt the ready made ones in the microwave because it is easier but I've never tried it making it with a microwave. Did the candy thermometer touch the bottom of the pan? If it did, that can be one reason because it is hotter, therefore the temperature reading will be inaccurate. Am I making sense? The bottom of the pan may be 340 but the isomalt is actually cooler.
post #13 of 22
I have done very little sugarwork, but the chef who is my mentor works with it a lot. He uses Isomalt 100% to water 30% (100 grams Isomalt and 30 grams water for example) and heated to 330 degrees F. I don't recall he ever used glucose, though in candymaking we used it to prevent crystallization by adding 10% by weight. The water is just to keep the Isomalt from burning at the beginning, The reason you take it to 330 degrees is to be sure you are getting the correct amount of moisture out.

Once you have done this once with the Isomalt, you can then gently remelt it as often as you want just to the temperature you like to work at. Pretty much the only thing I use it for these days is to secure my sugar bows and I just melt until it is sticky and fluid. When I'm done I let it harden on a piece of silicone and then next time just melt it til it is the consistency I like.

But what k8 said is the key. You need a desiccant like silica gel or limestone in with your completed gems. I keep some in with my once melted pieces too, just so keep stickiness at bay. Sugar and Isomalt are both hygroscopic which means they attract moisture from the air. This is what causes the stickiness and cloudiness, more than how you produced the piece, though cooking it to high temp does seem to help.

Since the desiccants are not food safe, I put the sugar or Isomalt piece in a ziplock bag and then put more ziplock bags of desiccant around that bag in an old fondant bucket or something else pretty airtight. This mostly does the trick for me.

So far I've been using silica gel from Michael's floral department, but Chef Rubber has a bunch of different ones:
http://shopchefrubber.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1&xid=0317ea74c80199a040c85276a3fb7e85

I'd love to see notes from your Keith Ryder class on this. Please post.
post #14 of 22
Once you have completed your pieces and they are out of the mold, you should spray them with lacquer (there is edible lacquer and inedible lacquer). You can get the edible kind from Albert Uster or Swiss Chalet, the inedible from craft stores. It protects the isomalt from the moisture in the air (I haven't tried the glucose thing). Then you should pack them in some type of closed container. You will want to make the pieces with in 2-3 days of using. Unfortunately, sugar isn't a make ahead kind of material.

Hope this helps,
Marci
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Marci - I have the laquer here, I wish I would have known that! I will give that a try next time.

Rylan - the thermometer was not touching the bottom of the pan - I have a good one that has a clip on it - and I am schooled in how to use it, but I appreciate your helping me try to figure it out!
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
Reply
Knowledge is a candle that when shared, doubles the light, but the insecure person believes knowledge is a candle that is diminished when it is split between two wicks.
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