Jan 31, 2009

Working with MMF

I'm assuming of course that you've read all about what MMF is and how to mix the stuff. Which I'm sure, for the first time anyway, was a nightmare. (I know it was for me anyway) So because I usually do things the hard way, I thought I'd save you some trouble by adding in those little tidbits of info that I've learned along the way, some of which others tend to leave out in their "how to" blogs. (p.s...what's the big secret anyway?)

Kneading the fondant-
Now that you now have the fondant mixed, throw a piece of plastic over it to keep it from drying out while you wait for it to cool down, just a bit. Why you ask? Because for one, it may be hot, and two, as the marshmallow concoction cools down, it will "tighten up" a bit. Roll up your sleeves and grease your hands with vegetable shortening- GENEROUSLY - palms, backs and in between fingers, then heavily grease the counter you will be using. (I know, it's gross, but it must be done, I hope you have voice mail btw LOL) Dump the mass of fondant in the middle. Start kneading like you would bread dough. (it's nice to have a bench scraper handy in case it gets too sticky)

It’s also helpful to have a small dish of water, a small dish of shortening and a dish with the rest of the powdered sugar on the counter set to the side before you begin. Trust me, the mixture is NEVER "just right". You'll have to add this and that before it is. After you've kneaded a few times and everything is well incorporated, if the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about ½ tablespoon at a time then knead it in). If it is sticking, re-grease your hands and/or the counter, if it is too soft, then add in powdered sugar.

 It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake. It should be a little softer than play dough (for the portion used to cover the cake) or a bit stiffer for cutouts, decorations, flowers etc. I generally will do one batch for the cake, a different batch for the decorations. (one batch is enough to cover a 10" double layer cake with a little left over for small decorations)

Helpful Hint: When mixing MMF specifically for decorations that will be dried out, add some cornstarch instead of powdered sugar. This will give you a more stiff consistency, more like gum paste, and will aid in the drying out time/process.

It’s best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight at room temp (but you can use it right away, if you're in that big of a hurry AND if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead the fondant more and maybe add a few more drops of water, then let it sit wrapped for at least a couple of hours. (It helps to have freshly sifted powdered sugar to begin with ;))

Storing the fondant:
Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of shortening (this keeps it from drying out or forming a "skin"), wrap in plastic wrap, and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. You can store it for 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. (actually longer if you have a handy dandy food saver :D)

Coloring the fondant: To add your food coloring, first get the fondant to room temp if it has been stored in the fridge or freezer. Gel or paste food coloring works the best and has little effect on the consistency of the fondant. Liquid food coloring can be used, but you'll have to use more powdered sugar or more shortening, and well, it's just not worth the extra effort. To color, dip a toothpick into the food coloring and drag across the fondant. Use a new toothpick each time to prevent contamination of your gel. (I'm a germ-o-phobe, so yes, I really do this) Add a little at a time, knead in and completely incorporate before adding more. LESS IS MORE. Helpful Hint:If you are doing one batch of fondant. one color for the cake for example, it’s actually easier to add the food coloring to the melted marshmallows during the mixing process, instead of trying to knead it in later. If you are wanting a really dark color, like dark brown or black, whew, it's gonna take a lot. It might be better if you start out with a chocolate fondant first, then color that darker. Or....you could plan on airbrushing later (ok, that's gonna have to be a whole other blog entry)
Colors have a tendancy to darken over time, so if you're planning on storing the fondant keep this in mind. Also, when doing colors such as reds, deep browns or you are matching a specific color, say, to a logo, then make it ahead of time and be sure to make it a tad bit lighter. Golds are a bit tricky too, like when I did a Purdue cake for my daughter and was attempting to match the logo.

Just trust me, darkening fondant later is waaaaaaay easier than trying to lighten it. ;) Oh, and just FYI, always keep a white batch on hand in case you do need to lighten some. This Purdue cake, btw, was my very first fondant cake. I didn't know back then that they actually had "gold dust" powder, that could be brushed on dry or wet, creating a more "true" gold luster (I live and learn) but more on that in another tutorial. Well, this is at least a start in working with fondant. If you're still with me (WAKE UP!), and want to know more, I'll have more topics......If you want to see some of my fondant work, up close and all personal, check out my flickr pages.


Donna-FFW said...

HI and welcome.. Spryte recommended your blog, so here I am. It looks fantastic.. I bet I could learn a lot here.. Can't wait for future posts.

DDpie said...

Thanks Donna! glad u stopped by. I'm sure Spryte mentioned I'm a FFW too? I've got lots more coming up so please stop back by. Oh, and btw, 5lbs of bananas for .99 cents freakin excites me too! HA! After I get all settled in, I'll come by to see ya ;)

Bob said...

Holy crap girlie! That's wicked impressive. Looking forward to seeing more stuff, I'm excited you started a blog. One of us! One of us! :D

DDpie said...

Hi Bob! thanks for stopping by and welcoming me to the neighborhood.....uhm, but where's casserole? LOL

Debbie said...

Hey DD, Nice Blog, But I never expected anything less coming from you as everything you do is always first rate! Looking forward more in the future, but don't let this take you away from us in the Forums, OK? LUV YA!

Martha said...

Great blog! Very professional and well written. I've put you on my "favorites" to check with regularly... keep 'em coming!

Danielle said...

i made my first batch of fondant last night...now i'm scared!! LOL

DDpie said...

Danielle, you're so funny! Go on you big chicken (get it? chicken? hahahaha) Anywho, you know where to find me if you need help! :)

Danielle said...

I DID IT!!! I'm soooo excited. I'm posting it in BakeSpace in a few minutes! OMG!!! I love this stuff! thank you thank you thank you :)

sweet niece said...

Thanks so much for this very informative, well-written, funny blog!

Anonymous said...

I made mmf and gumpaste with tylose
then mixed them to have 50/50 I let it sit for 2 days before used it when I took it out it was tearing and had chunks of sugar or dried out stuff not sure what should I do or how can I fix it.

DDpie said...

Sorry I didn't catch your question until now...but I thought I'd provide an answer for future reference.

It sounds like you may have had just a bit too much tylose. did you have the tylose in your mmf AND the gumpaste? If that's not the case, then you could try putting your mixture into a plastic container and sprinkle very lightly with water and close the lid tightly. Let set for about a day and check it. You'll of course have to re-knead it. (Alternatively, you could use one of those clay discs that are used to keep brown sugar moist.) The medium should absorb the moisture and be more soft and pliable. HTH