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Making fondant - another way !

 
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
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Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Making fondant - another way ! Reply with quote

Dunno if this is the right place for this post - perhaps Phil would kindly move it, if not ?


Most beekeepers think that fondant can only be made from heating a concentrated sucrose solution until a certain temperature is reached, at which point it is precisely super-saturated (which determines it's final consistency) - and then allowed to cool undisturbed, and finally whisked vigorously into a stiff creamy mix.

Indeed, this used to be the preferred commercial method of manufacture of fondant - and still is for certain products, such as the filling for Cadbury's Cream Eggs, with it's 'toothpaste' consistency - until more reliable methods were developed.

In 1955, within US Patent No. 2824808, Gillett and Prince of the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refining Corporation outline such an alternative method, and make references to other patents which also use broadly similar techniques - so the principles of what follows here have been in use for at least 60 years.

Gillett and Prince define Fondant as: "a mixture of microscopic granular sugar particles and sugar syrup for use as the center of chocolate creams, fudges, icings, and similar uses."

So - we start off with Tate and Lyle's finest granulated with a particle size of (say) typically 1mm - and want to end up with much smaller particles, typically less than 40 microns. There are two choices available for achieving this: either to use the above supersaturated-solution method, or to simply use a physical method to pulverise the sugar crystals into much smaller particles - to a size we usually just call 'powder'.

Although there are some additional esoteric details regarding treatment of the sugar syrup, that is the underlying principle of this Patent, and also that of Bernhard's patties Smile in http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12063

The point I am labouring here, is that finely powdered sugar, when combined with either sugar syrup or honey IS FONDANT. It is exactly the same stuff as produced by the supersaturated-solution method, only it is a far easier, quicker, and more reliable method of producing fondant with precise characteristics.

If you should ever take a trip over to Dave Cushman's site, you'll see that an erroneous distinction is being made there between Baker's Fondant and Candy. But they are one and the same substance. These days, commerically-made Baker's Fondant is manufactured from pulverised (or powdered) sugar, and then blended with precise amounts of syrup.

When you stop and think about this, it makes a lot more sense to simply reduce the size of sugar crystals by physical means, than to take crystals, dissolve them into a liquid, and then to make crystals again !

Bernhard uses a coffee grinder, which I think is probably the best tool for the job. I don't have one (yet), so have been using a food processor/blender. It takes me about 5 mins to reduce one pound of granulated sugar to fine powder. I wish the mixing of honey into the powder was as quick, but it ain't ... Smile

But it does make bl##dy good fondant.

Colin
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andy pearce
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.....as a person who has done the heating and whisking method this is a good tip.
I assume by sugar syrup you mean glucose syrup...like you would put in the other fondant... and you prefer not to use standard icing sugars because of the anti caking agent.
Is it known what problems these tricalcium phosphates and tricalcium orthophosphate (E341) type substances used as anticaking agents cause in bees...somewhat spooked as a vegetarian to find these powders are routinely derived from bone ash.
A
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Bugscouter
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It works pretty good. I made my own 1:4 inverted syrup, then pulverized table sugar in a blender and mixed the two in equal parts. It starts out very sticky, but then very quickly starts to firm up as the sugar absorbs the water. I put some in plastic containers that fit in the feeding area and more into plastic ziploc bags. (Before it started to set.)

Note: I also added enough Honey-B-Healthy to the syrup to end up with the correct concentration for the mix.

The one hive I fed it to started feeding right away.

Ron
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BBC
Scout Bee


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Andy
The reason I investigated this fondant manufacture malarkey was that I've been trying to feed-back some OSR (Oil Seed Rape) honey, with mixed success following dilution and flash-pasteurisation, and so have been searching for alternative methods of doing this.
I remembered reading Bernhard's post about making patties from home-made icing sugar, and so initially copied that technique, but using icing sugar (ex-Tesco's) and bog-standard 2:1 (sucrose) syrup only.

Now, I've tried making fondant several times over the years (by whisking etc), and like many, had given up on it as being too much of a production, with the result being far too messy. But this home-made fondant turned-out fine, and the bees loved it - completely ignoring my OSR honey-mix whilst scoffing it. Result = one dented ego. Smile

I had intended the next batch to be made with warmed OSR honey, but I'd run out of icing sugar. Not having a coffee grinder I assumed there was no other way of making powdered sugar, short of using a mortar and pestle - but a quick Google turned up the use of a food processor. It's not as good as a coffee grinder - the resulting powder is still slightly 'gritty' - so it's rather more of a caster sugar size, than icing sugar powder - but still seems good enough for making fondant.

So - the next (much larger) batch was then made with warmed OSR honey (which has a high glucose content), and again, the result has been excellent. This batch is currently placed on the bars, in a plastic bag with just a couple of slits in it (as Bernhard recommends) to prevent it drying out from above, or dissolving and thus becoming gooey from ascending moisture, from below. And so far, so good - it appears to be going down rather well.

I've since made several more batches of 'fondant', with some of these having soya flour, yeast powder and dried milk added, thus providing a small amount of pollen substitute which I'll be giving the girls in early March, as belt and braces should the weather turns nasty. Right now it's held in margarine tubs in the freezer.


Ron - good to hear from somebody who's already been using this type of technique.

When starting from this "powdered sugar + some-kind-of-syrup concept" base, my guess is that there's a fairly wide latitude of what syrups and indeed other ingredients can be added - depending on one's own beekeeping philosophy, of course.

Best regards,
Colin
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jumbleoak
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However you make it, isn't the whisking still important - i.e. you want to aerate it?

That being so, I don't see that much hassle is being saved here: you need syrup + you have to pulverise sugar (or just use icing sugar) v melt some sugar
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BBC
Scout Bee


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jumbleoak wrote:
However you make it, isn't the whisking still important - i.e. you want to aerate it?


But whisking isn't done to aerate fondant (why would you want to put air into it ?) - it's to ensure that the crystals that form as the super-saturated syrup cools are constantly disturbed, and thus never get a chance to grow to any size - i.e. the crystals are kept very small indeed, with the resulting fondant being smooth and paste-like as a result.

Quote:
That being so, I don't see that much hassle is being saved here: you need syrup + you have to pulverise sugar (or just use icing sugar) v melt some sugar


Have a go at making fondant by both methods - then you'll understand how simple and predictable this method is. Smile And - using this method you can use honey instead of syrup.

Colin
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jumbleoak
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBC wrote:
But whisking isn't done to aerate fondant (why would you want to put air into it ?) - it's to ensure that the crystals that form as the super-saturated syrup cools are constantly disturbed, and thus never get a chance to grow to any size - i.e. the crystals are kept very small indeed, with the resulting fondant being smooth and paste-like as a result.


But, that doesn't tally with what I've read, or with what you originally wrote:
BBC wrote:
fondant can only be made from heating a concentrated sucrose solution until a certain temperature is reached, at which point it is precisely super-saturated (which determines it's final consistency) - and then allowed to cool undisturbed, and finally whisked vigorously into a stiff creamy mix.

Indeed, this used to be the preferred commercial method of manufacture of fondant - and still is for certain products, such as the filling for Cadbury's Cream Eggs, with it's 'toothpaste' consistency - until more reliable methods were developed.


In other words the idea of stirring/whipping/whisking is to make the stuff less dense by getting air into it (which is what I meant by 'aerate') - which makes it easier to eat, I guess. It has no effect on crystal size.

It's your honey that is keeping the crystal size down: If you want smaller crystals then you have to start with something that already contains broken down sugar, like corn syrup or honey, or add acid like cream of tartar.

I take your point about your method being a good way to use spare honey, but if you don't have any (i.e. you have to make syrup anyway) and you are going to pulverise sugar, rather than just use icing sugar, then I think it's easier just to use the super-saturated method (a meat probe does help!)
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BBC
Scout Bee


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try again ... Smile

There are 2 ways of creating fine crystals - one is to smash/ grind/ roller etc existing crystals into a 'powder' (which can be seen as ultra-fine crystals under a microscope). The other way is to start-off with a super-saturated solution and arrest the development of crystals as they begin to form. Whisking is the method which most beeks who make fondant this way use. Stirring with a paddle would also do the same job.

If you don't disturb the crystals, then they'll grow (by gradual molecular deposition onto their lattice faces) until you have some really large examples. I've seen single crystals of sodium chloride grown in the lab, as big as oranges !

The BIG difference between the 2 methods, lies in WHEN these tiny crystals are created. With the physical/ pulverising method, they are made at the very beginning of the process - thus the crystal size is fixed at that point, and thus guaranteed in the final product. All you need to do then is to adjust the plasticity of the fondant, by adding varying amounts of syrup to the powder.
In practice, it's actually done the other way around (at least that's how I'm doing it) - but it adds up to the same thing. If you want stiffer fondant, then simply increase the amount of sugar powder. You can play with this process in a totally relaxed manner. If anyone comes to the door whilst you're working, it really doesn't matter - nor if the cat decides to have kittens - you can break-off at any time, and re-engage with the process much later.

In marked contrast, the super-saturated solution method is demanding - once you start heating the solution you're totally committed to seeing the process right through to the end. It's everything else in life which must be put on hold.
The degree of super-saturation (i.e. the ratio of water to solid, and thus the final product plasticity) is determined by the temperature to which the solution is raised. Too low, and it'll be too soft. Too high and you'll be making hard candy. The accuracy of your thermometer is thus absolutely critical, for there's no way of making any adjustments to the fondant later on.
But - you'll only know if you've screwed-up AFTER the process (i.e. allowing to cool, whisking, allowing to finally cool etc) is finished - you see, unlike the first method there's no guarantee of what the crystal size or fondant plasticity will turn out to be. And - if you've been adding substances to partially invert the syrup (which is a total waste of time, in my view), even more so.

But - if you prefer to use the solution/ whisking method, fine. Enjoy.

The purpose of this thread wasn't to 'convert' anyone, only to clarify that the 'milling' process (which is what the sugar manufacturer's call it), doesn't produce a substitute for fondant, it is the same substance - only one made using a different process: a process which commerical manufacturers are using almost exclusively to produce fondants of varying types.

Another alternative you may wish to consider which involves absolutely no hassle whatsoever, is simply to buy Baker's Fondant (which is made by the 'milling' process), the price of which isn't exactly exorbitant. My only problem with B/F is the ease of availability - or rather, the lack of same.

Colin
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jumbleoak
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBC wrote:
There are 2 ways of creating fine crystals - one is to smash/ grind/ roller etc existing crystals into a 'powder' (which can be seen as ultra-fine crystals under a microscope).


Try doing this, and mix with a none-inverted syrup. Or, simpler, just mix with a little water. And beat. You will not get fondant (you just get the same as a sugar 'baggy'). You have to add (partially) inverted sugars, such as corn syrup (commercially) or honey (your recipe), or add acids like lemon or cream of tartar (trad bee fondant recipes).
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Scout Bee


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jumbleoak wrote:
BBC wrote:
There are 2 ways of creating fine crystals - one is to smash/ grind/ roller etc existing crystals into a 'powder' (which can be seen as ultra-fine crystals under a microscope).


Try doing this, and mix with a none-inverted syrup. You will not get fondant. You have to add (partially) inverted sugars, such as corn syrup (commercially) or honey (your recipe), or add acids like lemon or cream of tartar (trad bee fondant recipes).


This is simply NOT true. Inverted sugars are actually irrelevant in basic fondant manufacture. And I speak as someone with a first in organic chemistry.
The amount of inversion in most DIY fondant recipes is usually very small anyway (which is why I said it's pointless) - a few percent at most - that's why it's called 'partial inversion'.

Mixing powdered sugar with plain sucrose syrup will give you fondant. Fact. Try doing it yourself, rather than reading what others say. That is what the patent I referred to earlier is all about. That is what this post is all about.

I suggest you either learn some relevant organic chemistry, or read a good book on sugar chemistry and the manufacture of fondant. Of course inverted sugars CAN be added to achieve specific fondant properties, as can glucose, as can hydrogenated oils - but they're not essential for the basic manufacture of fondant.

I'm beginning to despair at the growth in fallacies and misinformation that the internet is gradually becoming famous for.

Colin
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jumbleoak
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As per your first post:
Quote:
Gillett and Prince define Fondant as: "a mixture of microscopic granular sugar particles and sugar syrup for use as the center of chocolate creams, fudges, icings, and similar uses."
(my bolds)

More from the patent itself:
Quote:
Our present invention is predicated upon the discovery that the advantages of a
pre-cooked fondant can be attained by mixing pulverized sucrose, classified to
obtain particles essentially all under 40 microns in size, with a pre-cooked,
highly supersatuated liquor containing sucrose and invert sugar or other
noncrystallizable substance such as corn syrup or glucose.


and more:
Quote:
A specific example of our new process is as follows:

Ten thousand (10,000) pounds of granulated sugar is dissolved in 370 gallons of
water at 176 F. to give a solution of approximately 77% solids in concentration.
290 gallons of this solution is withdrawn inlo an associated tank, 310 mls. of
hydrochloric acid is added and the solution allowed so stand atler mixing; after
20 minutes, 0.4 pounds of sodium carbonate is added and the inverted solution
returned to the original dissolved sugar. From this point on the process is
continuous. The solution of sugar and invert sugar is passed into a cooker at
the rate of 80-90 gallons per hour and is heated to 220° F. As the liquor leaves
the cooker pulverized sugar, 90% of which is less than 40 microns in size, is
then simultaneously introduced into the mixer with the cooked sugar liqour at
the rate of 1000 to 1200 pounds per hour. The mixture is then subjected to
violent agitation which not only completes the mixing of the pulverized sugar
and the cooked liquor, but also induces fine crystal formation in the
suporsaturated cooked liquor. The mass is now put through rolls followed by a
shredding device so that the mass is broken into very small agglomerates. The
resulting granular material is passed through a cooling scroll which not only
reduces the temperature of the mass. but also provides sufficient retention time
so that the crystallization process in the cooked liquor may proceed essentialy
to completion. The cooled product is then passed over screening equipment to
eliminate the coarser agglomerates which are returned to the system for
reprocessing and the screened material is ready for packaging. The result of
this is a dry fondant material which will reconstitute readily with an
appropriate amount of water to produce the improved fondant described.


They also provide a diagram which includes an inversion tank.

As for partial-inversion: It has nothing to do with small quantities. If you add (neutralised) inverted syrup to the sugar you end up with a partially inverted mixture: The sugar does not go on to invert, but the inverted sugars in there do inhibit crystal growth.

Fondant is like love; it's chemical.
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BBC
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This will be my last post on this thread:

Fondant - made from powdered sugar (Tate & Lyle's) and 2:1 sucrose syrup (again, Tate & Lyle's) ONLY, mixed into a very stiff dough and given to the bees exactly 7 days ago in an upturned ramekin:



The proof of the pudding (or in this case, fondant), it is said, is in the eating ... Smile

Colin
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have bees under the kitchen floor.....??? Wink
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andy pearce
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is thirty years since I did organic chemistry so will not comment. But, I will give this a go as it seems to be a really good idea. I will not be using OSR honey though as I do not live near co-op farms that do not use neonics and am surrounded by farmers who presumably do and the honey will be full of it!
A
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box
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi there
I am just reading though some topics of interrest ,and the process of grinding
the sugar in a blender, seems to me to bee quite a lot of work , if it should bee made in a larger batch.
I have seen others use, a concrete mixer, loaded with steal balls and as it turns, it grind the sugar to a powder .
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