Mar 11, 2009

Gumpaste Recipe and Directions (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a 5 part series on how to work with gumpaste. If you didn't catch part 1, click here, I wouldn't want you to miss out on anything ;) The links to the rest of the series are included at the end.

As promised, here is the recipe that I use. Use this gumpaste for figurines, flowers, or decorations. Make several days in advance, wrap it well, and let it sit out at room temp in order for ingredients to properly bind.

Gum Paste

1 tablespoon Gum-tex powder (Wilton)
1 tablespoon glucose (Wilton)
3-4 tablespoons hot water
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon extract (if desired)
shortening (for covering, kneading)
plastic wrap and zip lock baggie

The mixing of gumpaste can be a somewhat daunting task the first time around. If you've made or worked with fondant, you'll find that gumpaste is quite a bit different. So I decided to include the steps along with photos so that you'll have some idea of what's to be expected.

First, assemble all of your ingredients. You can substitute the Gum-Tex with Tylose powder or tragacanth gum if you prefer. Although I wouldn't personally eat gumpaste (uhm ya, edible, not so palatable), I used my homemade Bourbon Vanilla (or you could use lemon extract), if nothing else, to disguise some of the smell of the gum-tex. (it will still taste bad because of the gum powder, but at least it will smell better!) The glucose will help with the texture and is also necessary for a longer working time.

Next, measure out 3 tablespoons of hot water into a glass measuring cup. Now add a heaping tablespoon of the glucose. (this stuff is a tad bit sticky HA!)

Stir the glucose-water mixture. I use a small spatula because some will stick to the bottom. Let it sit for just a few minutes and it will dissolve somewhat.
Now add in the extract. Stir the mixture until everything is dissolved and combined. Set aside. (do you have any idea how hard it is to stir and snap a picture at the same time?)

Sift about 3/4 of the powdered sugar and Gum-Tex into a large bowl. This will insure that there are no hard lumps in your gumpaste. (which will seem like oxymoron in a few minutes, just wait, you'll see what I mean)

Make a "well" in the center of the powdered mixture and pour in the glucose liquid mixture. Using a strong spatula, mix as much as you can together.

It will start to clump up at first (see, I told ya, oxymoron), but soon it will start to come together. At this point, just give in and use your hand. LOL

Remove it from the bowl and place onto a counter top. Begin kneading, the dough will be crumbly at first but it will start to come together. It will also be stiff but it is important at this time that you do not stop. (yeah, again, voice mail is handy) Left alone, it would start to dry up in only a few short minutes.

Continue to knead the dough, gradually adding the rest of the powdered sugar until your ball is smooth and not sticky. If you do get it too dry, you may have to sprinkle in another teaspoon of water at this time, but not too much or you'll just have to add more powdered sugar.

The ball will be smooth, and yet, it will still feel a bit "grainy" from the gum powder. This is normal and the reason that you want to make it a couple of days ahead of time before using it. Once it sits for a few days, it will feel smooth with no graininess at all. Cover your "gum ball" (lol, I couldn't wait to say that) with some plastic wrap while you change gears and get ready to color it.

Now we're ready to color. If I'm doing a project, I'll go ahead and make all of the colors needed at this point, it saves a lot of time later. Also, you'll notice, that I cut off a section at a time, color it and keep everything wrapped while working. The powdered sugar is set to the side in case I use a lot of color and the dough gets sticky. I just knead in more powdered sugar. Also, you can rub a bit of shortening on your hands and that will help keep it from getting too sticky. Be careful however, do not use too much or you'll change the consistency of the gumpaste.

I tend to prefer gel colors or paste colors as they do not make the gumpaste too wet (well, not as much as liquid food coloring) If you're making darker colors, it's gonna get messy and ugly. (too bad I couldn't take a pic of that part, huh?) I use my plastic cutting board so as not to stain my counter. After kneading in each color, I shape it into a disc or brick and smear it with a bit of shortening and immediately wrap it before moving on to the next. The shortening helps prevent the gumpaste from drying out and/or forming a "skin".

Finally, I have all of my colors needed for my project. After wrapping each individual color seperately in plastic wrap, I put them into the zip lock and date it. If I have more than one project going at a time, I'll label it with that too. (I'm a ditz with a very short memory span) In the event that I don't use all of the colors, I can save them and use them later for a different project. In this particular case, I only used half of the gumpaste batch for my project, the other half I wrapped seperately, uncolored, for either future projects, or in case I need some more or run out of a color while in the middle of the project.

Remember to store the gumpaste at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, or freeze it, it will change the consistency and weaken the integrity of the product. The gumpaste will "harden" up, even wrapped tightly, don't be alarmed. When I'm ready to work with it, I just cut off a small section of what I think I'll need for the piece I'm working on, cup it in my hand to warm it up. As it warms, it becomes more pliable. Knead it a bit with your fingers to make it smooth. If it does have a bit of dryness to it, I just rub some shortening in my hands, hold the piece for a few minutes, then start working it again.

Ok, you've got to be curious by now what the heck I'm making with the colors green, flesh, orange, red and yellow, right? In my part 3 of this series, I'll show you the tools I use and how to work with the gumpaste. In detail; the body figures, heads, faces, hands, clothing etc. Later on, I'll do a fondant cake to go along with my gumpaste figures so that you can see the whole project come together.

You can click here to go directly to a section of the series:
You say Sugar Paste, I say Gumpaste (part 1)
Working with Gumpaste (part 3, the tools and body)
Working with Gumpaste (part 4, heads & hands)Happy St. Patrick's Day! (part 5, the cake construction)


Bob said...

Hey, you have the same measuring spoons as me! High five! :)

I am curious what you're doing... You're just going to tease aren't you? Heh.

Culinary Alchemist said...

Most excellent... Yeah, I could not wait until I receive the email tomorrow morning, I had to poke my nose in tonight... LOL I can honestly say, that after this.. I will no longer buy the bag of Gum Paste again... Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!!

Danielle said...

Hey girlfriend!!! I find your blogs soooo educational and interesting. Seriously makes me want to try this stuff out. Where did you learn to do it all? I know I've told you this before...but ....I love you man!! LOL Oh wait, thats not what I was going to say...what I meant're cakes and baking "art" are awesome!! :)

DDpie said...

Bob- (hi fives back) I'm running about a day behind...but you won't have to wait much longer ;)

Shane- I've bought both the ready made and the powder you mix with water. After finding this recipe, I'll never buy it again either!

Dani- I love you too man! :)

Anonymous said...

This is the recipe that I use and it is so much more economical. However I will use the pre-made in a pinch it is satisfactory for that.

Anonymous said...

Just curious... how much gumpaste does this recipe make (as compared to the Wilton bag sold at the craft store)?

DDpie said...

it makes a little over a pound. I can't remember how much is in the Wilton bag, but I'm pretty sure this was a lot more.

lynn rawlinson said...

what is the shelf life of this homemade gum paste

DDpie said...

Lynn- I would store it up to a few weeks room temp, up to 2-3 months in the fridge or up to a year in the freezer. As long as it is double wrapped and you don't let it dry out it will be workable. In fact, I double wrap mine and then use a heavier bag with my food saver (this is best if possible because it ensures an airtight seal) HTH