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Isomalt too sticky....

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This is second time I've used isomalt for decorations on a cake. The first time I had no issues. This time however, it keeps coming out sticky. I use 1/4C isomalt and 1 TBSP Corn syrup. Microwave in 30 second intervals until boiling and all the isomalt crystals have dissolved. I then add flavoring and wilton gel icing color, pour into my molds and let sit in a covered container overnight. I pulled them out this morning and they were a bit sticky. I just looked at them again and they're loosing detail from being too soft. This is my second attempt. I even microwaved until the isomalt started to turn a bit brownish. I thought for sure this would solve the sticky issue since it'd set up harder.....maybe I'm wrong.


I live in North West Louisiana and its fairly humid here but really isn't too bad inside. Is there something I can do to fix this??? I'm considering switching to my moms hard candy recipe since that's never come out too sticky....Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
post #2 of 14
You live in Louisiana and it's summertime. I think that's the whole problem! What time of the year was it when you used isomalt the first time? I've heard that the stuff is extremely sensitive to humidity, so you might actually be better off using your mom's hard candy recipe, at least right now!
Marianna
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Marianna
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianna46

You live in Louisiana and it's summertime. I think that's the whole problem! What time of the year was it when you used the first time? I've heard that the stuff is extremely sensitive to humidity, so you might actually be better off using your mom's hard candy recipe, at least right now!



I used it in April. Not sure what the humidity was then but its 73% right now. I think I'll definitely try the hard candy recipe. Clear might not be as clear but its better than sticky puddles of isomalt!
post #4 of 14
I'm just getting started with isomalt myself, and I'm about to decide that this isn't the time or the place (both heat and humidity over 85 this week!). I think I might just wait until December or January and lay in a supply of those humidity-absorbing packets before I start working with it again! And I was so hyped up that I was going to be able to decorate all my cakes with a ton of bling - I even bought myself a silicon mold for jewels and everything! Would you care to share your mom's hard candy recipe, by any chance? (No problem if it's a family secret by the way - LOL icon_lol.gif ).
Marianna
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Marianna
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianna46

I'm just getting started with myself, and I'm about to decide that this isn't the time or the place (both heat and humidity over 85 this week!). I think I might just wait until December or January and lay in a supply of those humidity-absorbing packets before I start working with it again! And I was so hyped up that I was going to be able to decorate all my cakes with a ton of bling - I even bought myself a silicon mold for jewels and everything! Would you care to share your mom's hard candy recipe, by any chance? (No problem if it's a family secret by the way - LOL icon_lol.gif ).



Haha it's definitely not a secret! I only refer to it as hers because I know how it turns out. Here's a link to it online though! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/old-fashioned-hard-candy-2/detail.aspx

The only reason I didn't use it in the first place is because small batches of isomalt in the microwave is easier and more convenient for me.
post #6 of 14
I don't think your problem is heat. I learned to use Isomalt in Phoenix and while the humidity is low the temps definitely are not. When I use Isomalt I only add a little water (10% of the weight of the Isomalt), no corn syrup, but I cook mine on the stove top to 340 degrees then immediately put the pan into an ice bath to stop the cooking. I add coloring around 300 degrees.
Tina
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbkimber

I don't think your problem is heat. I learned to use in Phoenix and while the humidity is low the temps definitely are not. When I use I only add a little water (10% of the weight of the ), no corn syrup, but I cook mine on the stove top to 340 degrees then immediately put the pan into an ice bath to stop the cooking. I add coloring around 300 degrees.



I don't think it's the heat either, I think it's the humidity. We keep our house about 73-ish...
post #8 of 14
It's good to know that heat isn't a problem, tbkimber. But I've read (and heard) in several places that humidity is. I'm still dying to try the isomalt, but thanks very much for your link to the hard candy recipe, KJF1985! I'll probably try that one first and leave the isomalt for my next trip to Mexico City, which is about as dry as Phoenix!
Marianna
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Marianna
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post #9 of 14
From what I have ready and been told, Isomalt is actually better than sugar when it comes to the humidity. Sugar is suppose to attract the moisture in the air, but isomalt is suppose to stand up to the humidity better.

I'd wonder if you weren't cooking it long enough myself.

You can also get the silica packets to help attract moisture in the air where you are storing them.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

From what I have ready and been told, is actually better than sugar when it comes to the humidity. Sugar is suppose to attract the moisture in the air, but is suppose to stand up to the humidity better.

I'd wonder if you weren't cooking it long enough myself.

You can also get the silica packets to help attract moisture in the air where you are storing them.



I thought that too so the second time I kept microwaving after all the crystals dissolved. It even started to turn a golden color like it was beginning to burn. My hard candy was a little sticky as well, but less so. I put them in a closed container with a bit of powdered sugar and last night they were fine! Our humidity has dropped a bit too so maybe that helped.

Thanks for all the suggestions!!
post #11 of 14
we just did a bunch of ice and bottles in GA- and that's humid too. I agree with the above- don't use corn syrup. Just mix a tiny bit of bottled water with it (even CK brand) til it looks like wet sand. You can even do less- you just have to watch it closer. Cook it on the stove where you can watch the temp. Get it up to hard crack. Then test the temp to at least 340 . If you are not getting it up to temp then it will not do right.
Janet Brown
The Cake Studio
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Janet Brown
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post #12 of 14
I believe you have to put it in a container and put the little bags of silicone, the one's you find in shoe boxes that say "DO NOT EAT", as those take the moisture out of them and keep them from dissolving due to humidity.

Now I have read a lot on this because I will be trying it soon and this may be an issue. And as someone else said you have to get it to the right temp as well. HTH.
post #13 of 14
They are called desiccant pacs.
post #14 of 14
I found this article and will past part of it, it is from cakeplay: It answers some of the questions you asked.

9. Will my melted isomalt have a cloudy appearance? Answer: CakePlays isomalt sticks are very clear. However, the substrate or mold used to cast the isomalt can give it a cloudy appearance, depending on the molds surface and/or density. Typically, a mold with a tighter structure will give better results. One technique to try for improved clarity is to rub a little vegetable oil onto the mold, then wipe it off before pouring the melted isomalt in. You can also use a crème brulee torch to restore surface clarity.
10. When do I put finished pieces on a cake? Answer: CakePlay recommends placing finished isomalt pieces into an air-tight container until just before displaying your cake. If you live in a high-humidity environment, you may want to add a desiccant to the container with your finished piece. CakePlay has desiccant packets available in our online store. Do not refrigerate finished pieces.
11. Will CakePlays isomalt sticks work in a high-humidity environment? Answer: Isomalt works much better than sugar in areas of high humidity, but will still absorb moisture, although more slowly, and will not crystallize. However, cake artists and pastry decorators will want to take some precautions when working with our product: (A) Immediately after finishing a sugar showpiece, store it in an airtight container with a desiccant such as silica gel. Do not remove the piece from the container until just before displaying. (B) Unused isomalt sticks can be stored in an airtight container away from light and heat for up to 2 years. (C) Leftover melted isomalt can be poured onto a Silpat mat, cooled and stored. Those in high-humidity environments can also protect their finished creations with an edible lacquer spray or confectionery glaze. Visit www.cakeplay.com for more ideas and suggestions.
12. Can I burn isomalt? Yes, but only with significant overheating. This is why we recommend adding time to the microwave in small increments. When melted properly, isomalt can be heated multiple times. Typically, the color breaks down long before the isomalt, and you should be able to heat the product a few times without detrimental effects.
13. My molded piece looks cloudy. What should I do? There are a number of factors which may be causing the cloudiness in your finished piece: (A) If youre using a silicone mold (or some silicone mats), the silicone may not have been cured properly during manufacture. Only use top-quality molds. (B) Excess humidity in your area and/or preparation location can cause cloudiness. Use desiccant packets when you store your finished pieces to alleviate this issue. (C) Lightly run the flame from a crème brulee torch carefully over the molds surface to remove cloudiness. (D) Lightly rub oil onto the molds surface, then remove the excess with a clean cloth or paper towel. (E) Do not refrigerate molded pieces. Store in an air-tight container until just before display.
14. My melted isomalt has bubbles. How can I eliminate this problem? If bubbles occur along the surface of the isomalt next to the mold and are quite small, the mold is the problem. The type of mold and quality of mold can affect the end results. Silicone molds give the best detail, but depending on the material and cure rate, can cause small bubbles on the surface. These can be removed with a minor loss of detail with the careful use of a crème brulee torch. Another approach some people find helpful is to run a small amount of oil into the mold before pouring in the isomalt, to create a barrier between the two materials.
Be sure to let melted isomalt stand for some time after microwaving for bubbles to dissipate. If the bubbles are truly in the center of the mold, this is the most likely culprit. Watch through the window in your microwave to avoid heating the product longer than necessary, thereby forming excess bubbles. This is especially true if you are microwaving a small amount of isomalt.
A good pouring spout helps to eliminate some bubbles as they stretch and break as the isomalt is poured into a mold. Also, after pouring, if there are small bubbles on the surface of the poured isomalt in the mold, and your mold is heat-proof, these bubbles can also be eliminated with use of a crème brulee torch while the isomalt is still liquid. Be careful not to heat the isomalt to the boiling point again with the torch a light touch is all that is needed.
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