Not sure if this has been mentioned on here..but I buy my wooden dowels at home depot...in the wood department they have them..they are long and they have them in all width, from real thin to real thick.
Price wise is MUCH cheaper!!
Thanks for that! It's right on my way home from work!
Are you sure those don't have some type of coating?
Yes, I think generally, wood sold in Home Depot is chemically treated in one way or another. I don't know specifically about their dowels,. But I wouldn't stick them in a cake until I was sure.
Since you just mentioned that artscallion, I honestly wouln't trust using Home Depot dowels for my cakes. And plus, I believe they are exposed. You would have never known if it touched some type of chemical... knowing its Home Depot, you'd never know.
I would also be very wary of using dowels that were not specifically made for food! You also don't know who is handling them, sneezing on them, touching them with greasy fingers, how long they were sitting on the warehouse floor, lying in the cut shop while pressure treated wood was being sawed up, etc. Since wood is an absorbent material, even if you wash them before you put them in your cakes, there is no guarantee that they are actually "clean."
I used to work for a major home renovation store here in Canada..Rona....and the wooden dowels that we stocked and (mostly all the Home reno stores too) were not coated in any chemicals.Just straight raw wood! You also could have food worker who are just a un-hygenic as anyone else so your not garanteed those dowels are not contaminated either...If you had the lumber manager order you a package in they come sealed in a heavy plastic bag and then you could be sure no one has touched them.
But are the wooden dowels manufactured in an area where pressure treated wood is also being handled? I just don't trust them!
Thank you for your post but I will continue to purchase dowels marketed for putting in cakes... I realize that food workers are not all sanitary, but I assume that they are being manufactured in a way that has to be approved as food safe!
I get all of my dowels from home depot/hardware store. They are raw untreated wood and they're fine. What some people don't realize, is that before Wilton and some other companies decided to cash in on the cake decorating industry, this is all that people had to use. All of the professional kitchens and cake studios I've worked in that use wooden dowels order them in bulk from hardware stores/suppliers.
Also, knowing what I know about manufacturing, the "food safe" wooden dowels you get at cake and craft stores are likely milled in the same factories as the dowels you get in the hardware and hobby (non-cake) sections of the craft stores and then the cake decor companies simply repackage them for sale. It's highly unlikely Wilton has their own wood mill just for cake dowels.
One year at ICES Colette Peters told about the only cake she had ever had to collapse. She said that she ran out of her regular cake dowels and went to a chain hardware/hole improvement store (no name given) and bought some there and used them. She said that the cake collapsed because it was a different type of wood and was too soft to support the tiers. She warned everyone in the demo to be careful of the type of wood the dowels were made of. I wish I could remember what she said to be leary of, but since I stick to the dowels made just for food, I haven't bothered to keep that info in my tiny little brain.
The wood dowels are raw...they have no coating..that was the first thing I thought of when I started buying them. I have a friend that has been using them for over 10 years and has never had a problem. Just wash them for dust and that's about it.
I agree that there are some people with poor hygeine can handle your dowels but if you go to some hardware/lumber places, those dowels are usually exposed-- without any plastic covering (as far as I remember). Plus the whole place is going to be filled with different types of chemicals. I would never know who touched it, if the person who touched it just touched some type of oil or chemical or if something spilled onto the wood. Again you wil never know.
Something made particular for food will have less possiblilities of chemicals leaking.
But then again, that is just me and my personal opinion.
I wouldn't use them myself. Treated or untreated, same factory or not, no one at the lumber/craft store is going to think twice about dropping them on the floor or picking their butt then handling them or anything because they are not a food item and not in a food environment at all. Do you think the clerks wash their hands and don a hairnet before restocking the dowels? I would at least HOPE that the area of the wooden dowel factory for the "food" ones would not be mishandling them before they are sealed. Do I know that for sure? no. we have to trust the "wiltons" of the world every day that they have respected food items. Do I know for sure that home depot has mishandled the dowels from a food point of view? I'd put money on it.
I bought mine at Hobby Lobby in the craft section. They have super long dowels laying around just like at Home Depot, but they ALSO have packaged dowels. The ones I bought came in a plastic bag containing 24 dowels (3/16" x 12"). These were $2 but I had a 40% off coupon. There were also dowels of different widths packaged in plastic as well.
When I first started years ago, I was told it was OK to do the home depot dowels. People did not think twice about it. The first time I used the dowels, the cake tasted funny but I never thought about it being the dowels. I went in one night late and noticed them cleaning the floors. The kid was mopping with pinesol and splashed everything including the dowels. They sat in a puddle and absorbed the water. I went home and smelled the dowels, Like who smells the dowels, and yea, they smelled of pine sol. Never again will I purchase anything to make and use for cakes that is not food grade. It is better to be safe than sorry.
You can always:
a) wash them
b) cover them
So where do all of you buy your FOOD SAFE 3' long dowels for centrally doweling multi-tiered cakes?
As long as the wood is not pressure-treated wood and you sanitize it by wiping it down with vodka or everclear, it is fine.
Pink's right - I am quite sure Wilton doesn't have their own lumber mill for cake dowels. LOL
If I ever had to do a 3' foot centered dowel cake, I would make sure that the dowel was protected. I don't do cakes on a grand scale, just the friends and family and have yet to find I needed it. I am going to keep watching and see what people do use. Could you use the home store dowel and cover with a plastic dowel? I guess this is why the SPS is the way to go.
Some people cover with foil (for the short dowel) One Cakebuddy dips his dowel in wax.
Wooden dowel can impart a musty flavor to the cake right surrrounding it has been my experience so I usually use the plastic stuff.
But I don't have any problems with wooden dowel--used them for years.
Actually even if you wash it, wipe it with some type of alcohol doesn't mean that the chemicals that have possibly leaked inside will be gone. K8memphis has a good idea by covering them. When I do my tall cakes, I usually have a center pole that is attached to the base. That is covered with tons of plastic wrap. I just slide each cake to the pole one by one.
Wilton probably doesn't have its own lumber mill but I'm so sure that their dowels are very well inspected.
WELL, I THOUGHT THAT BY POSTING THIS TOPIC, I WOULD BE SAVING PEOPLE SOME MONEY. WE CAN SIT HERE ALL DAY AND DISCUSS THIS, BUT A THE END OF THE DAY WILTON AND ANY OTHER COMPANY THAT SELLS THE DOWELS ARE ALL GETTING THEM FROM THE SAME PLACE. I DOUBT THAT THE WILTON COMPANY IS GOING TO INSPECT SOME DOWELS THAT ARE MADE RAW AT THE MILLS.
BUT OK, I UNDERSTAND THE CONCERNS ABOUT POEPLE WITH DIRTY HANDS TOUCHING THEM AT THE STORE. I WENT TO A HOBBY LOBBY STORE YESTERDAY, AND ASKED ONE OF THE EMPLOYEES WHY DOES THE SHORT DOWELS COME IN BAGS BUT NOT THE LONG ONES, AND SHE SAID BECAUSE THOSE ARE SHORT AND THEY SELL BY HIGHER QUANTITIES, AND THE LONG ONES ARE SOLD INDIVIDUALLY AND ARE NOT COVERED.
SHE SAID THE LONG ONES SELL JUST AS MUCH AS THE ONES IN THE BAG BECAUSE THEY ARE FOR TIERED CAKES.
There's no need to YELL! LOL! I'm sure your post helped many people, and it is certainly a personal choice and personal comfort level as to where people get their dowels and what type they use!
Discussion, often including debate, is part of what this board is all about! Thank you for contributing to that!!!
There's no need to YELL! LOL!
Turn off the caps lock, please. It's like you are screaming at the rest of us.
I saw these things called S'mores Stix (or something like that) in the grocery store over the weekend, which might be an option for some cakers. they are about 2-3' long and sold in a package of 4. I think they were $6 or so... But who knows - I live in a beach town and these may not be available everywhere. I'm sure they'll only be available for a few summer months.
I have used the Smorestix before.
I'm not quite sure how these are different than regular Home Depot dowels but at least they are made for food.
I think I got mine at a Christmas Tree Shop for about $1.00 for 12- 3 foot sticks.
Yep, they're just birch dowel rods, marketed to a specific audience at a really high price.
If they show up around here, I'll keep a watchful eye and grab them if they go on clearance. $1.00 for 12 dowels is a great deal!
Holy cow! $1?? That's an amazing price!! I think the Smorestix "kits" that had marshmallows, etc were $13.99!!
Wow. Do you live in a tourist town?
Sure do! And it's tourist season (not that the prices go down when they leave, we just have less to choose from!)