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How do bakers get their icing so white!?! - Page 3

post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bct806 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

Using violet in buttercream makes it a kind-of dirty grey, not pure white.
If your buttercream is yellow, violet cancels it out and makes it white. I have personally seen it work. Perhaps you put in too much violet?

I agree, I have tried violet and it turned a nasty grey. I tried a bit more and it turned pinkish, so I added some titanium white and it got all chalky looking. So then I threw half of it out, added a stick of butter, and a pound of powdered sugar and just used it for my dams that week. If I need whiter buttercream, I will replace half my vanilla with clear and half my butter with shortening. If someone wants really white, then I use all shortening and all clear vanilla, and some butter flavor, no guilt.
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post #32 of 44
I think what we have here is a failure to understand how we see color, and how colors mix.


Primary colors exist because most of us have three different kinds of cone cells in our eyes, one whose peak sensitivity is to red, one to green, and one to blue.


Now a pure yellow light (say, the big yellow double-line in the emission spectrum for sodium, that makes sodium vapor streetlights so yellow) will excite both our red and green cone cells. By mixing red and green light, we can simulate that shade of yellow precisely enough that we can't tell the difference by looking at it, yet if we use a spectroscope, we can see that it looks completely different, and (depending on the sources of red and green light) might not contain any actual yellow light at all. That, incidentally, is how color television can work with only three colors. (If we ever meet a sentient race with different primaries, they're probably going to find our color television grossly unrealistic.)


With light, colors mixing is additive. Combining two colors gives a lighter color, and we can get something that looks like white light just by mixing red, green, and blue. But with dyes and pigments, it's subtractive: combining two colors produces something darker, and we have a different set of primaries: cyan (anti-red), magenta (anti-green) and yellow (anti-blue).


Now, let's imagine a batch of buttercream, made with all real butter, and natural vanilla extract. Since butter is yellow, and natural vanilla extract is brown, it's going to have a cream cast. Now, we can lighten that by whipping air into it, which increases the reflectance, but does nothing about the color cast: it's still going to be a warm white. Or we can neutralize the color cast by adding exactly the right amount of exactly the right shade in the blue-to-purple range, but that's going to darken it. Or, we can do both. It's still going to be, at best, a pale gray instead of a pure white, but if it's brilliantly lit, and surrounded by deep darkness, it's still going to look white, the same way the Moon (which is really a rather dark gray) looks like a brilliant, luminous white, when the sun hits it, in the deep dark of space.

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post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl View Post

I think what we have here is a failure to understand how we see color, and how colors mix.


Primary colors exist because most of us have three different kinds of cone cells in our eyes, one whose peak sensitivity is to red, one to green, and one to blue.



Now a pure yellow light (say, the big yellow double-line in the emission spectrum for sodium, that makes sodium vapor streetlights so yellow) will excite both our red and green cone cells. By mixing red and green light, we can simulate that shade of yellow precisely enough that we can't tell the difference by looking at it, yet if we use a spectroscope, we can see that it looks completely different, and (depending on the sources of red and green light) might not contain any actual yellow light at all. That, incidentally, is how color television can work with only three colors. (If we ever meet a sentient race with different primaries, they're probably going to find our color television grossly unrealistic.)



With light, colors mixing is additive. Combining two colors gives a lighter color, and we can get something that looks like white light just by mixing red, green, and blue. But with dyes and pigments, it's subtractive: combining two colors produces something darker, and we have a different set of primaries: cyan (anti-red), magenta (anti-green) and yellow (anti-blue).



Now, let's imagine a batch of buttercream, made with all real butter, and natural vanilla extract. Since butter is yellow, and natural vanilla extract is brown, it's going to have a cream cast. Now, we can lighten that by whipping air into it, which increases the reflectance, but does nothing about the color cast: it's still going to be a warm white. Or we can neutralize the color cast by adding exactly the right amount of exactly the right shade in the blue-to-purple range, but that's going to darken it. Or, we can do both. It's still going to be, at best, a pale gray instead of a pure white, but if it's brilliantly lit, and surrounded by deep darkness, it's still going to look white, the same way the Moon (which is really a rather dark gray) looks like a brilliant, luminous white, when the sun hits it, in the deep dark of space.
I love what you add to cake central, James icon_smile.gif I really do.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #34 of 44
What can I say? I did have a year of high school physics, and two of college physics (when I changed majors from a BA in Math/Computer Science to a BS in Computer Science/Math, I had to repeat general physics, because the non-calculus version wasn't good enough for the BS major), and a semester of tech. writing; at a time like this, somebody has to play Alton Brown here.

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post #35 of 44

Excellent James - Love your post - I should have added that when I supplied the link to the "violet thread" that I have not tried it.  I did however use a touch of blue many years ago.  At first I was very happy until I started getting a green hue.  Yellow butter & Blue = green (duh!)  I've never bothered since. 

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I love what I do and do what I love

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post #36 of 44
Well, it no doubt turned green because, like most nominally blue dyes and pigments, your blue was probably more cyan than a true "optical primary" blue. I still remember when the colors we now refer to as "process cyan" and "process magenta" in the graphic arts were called by the much less precise terms "process blue" and "process red."

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post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl View Post

What can I say? I did have a year of high school physics, and two of college physics (when I changed majors from a BA in Math/Computer Science to a BS in Computer Science/Math, I had to repeat general physics, because the non-calculus version wasn't good enough for the BS major), and a semester of tech. writing; at a time like this, somebody has to play Alton Brown here.

Alton Brown is one of my absolute favorite chefs on Food Network. That man knows a whole lot about a whole lot!

post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post


I agree, I have tried violet and it turned a nasty grey. I tried a bit more and it turned pinkish, so I added some titanium white and it got all chalky looking. So then I threw half of it out, added a stick of butter, and a pound of powdered sugar and just used it for my dams that week. If I need whiter buttercream, I will replace half my vanilla with clear and half my butter with shortening. If someone wants really white, then I use all shortening and all clear vanilla, and some butter flavor, no guilt.

Yes - not sure how adding more colour can 'cancel out' another. It definitely lost its yellow colour, but if you're looking for bright white, this isn't going to do it.

post #39 of 44
Well, if somebody came to me, and wanted a bright white whipped BC instead of my dense, cream-colored, hand-mixed BC, I'd probably say, "you want taste, you want my frosting. You want bright white, go to the grocer." Then again, I'm a programmer, not a professional baker, decorator, chef, photographer, Ludlow Typograph operator, or organist; I don't make my living from cakes, and only do them for family and friends.


I think I probably forgot to mention that a meringue BC is almost certainly going to be whiter than a non-meringue, because the egg whites whip up very white by themselves, and probably hold a lot more air than you'd be able to whip into just butter, milk, and powdered sugar.

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James H. H. Lampert
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

I agree, I have tried violet and it turned a nasty grey. I tried a bit more and it turned pinkish, so I added some titanium white and it got all chalky looking. So then I threw half of it out, added a stick of butter, and a pound of powdered sugar and just used it for my dams that week. If I need whiter buttercream, I will replace half my vanilla with clear and half my butter with shortening. If someone wants really white, then I use all shortening and all clear vanilla, and some butter flavor, no guilt.
Yes - not sure how adding more colour can 'cancel out' another. It definitely lost its yellow colour, but if you're looking for bright white, this isn't going to do it.
I do add green to my brown, to cool it down, since it comes out really reddish, and I add blue to my purple, to make it less red, and purple to my premade blue fondant to cancel out the yellowish tint, but that is more color mixing, rather than "canceling". White just doesn't work that way! I do have a huge bottle of titanium mixed with glycerine, that I add to make colors creamier, and my fondant whiter, but I have never actually added it to my off white buttercream and served it, since I'm betting it would make it taste "off", if I used enough to make it considerably whiter.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
post #41 of 44

James, you had me at "cone cells."  <3

 

Totally OT-what kind of programming do you do?

post #42 of 44
I work for a small company in Costa Mesa, that offers two products for IBM Midrange systems, a terminal-based database access utility, and a client-server CRM system.

James H. H. Lampert
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Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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James H. H. Lampert
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Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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post #43 of 44

Wow, I haven't heard from that world in ages... Guess when I chose to go the creative route forgot all about them.

Virginia 323.253.8213
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He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
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Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
Reply
post #44 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl View Post

I work for a small company in Costa Mesa, that offers two products for IBM Midrange systems, a terminal-based database access utility, and a client-server CRM system.
My grandpa used to work in Costa Mesa. He was an engineer. After he left there he worked at Chamberlain. Hmmm. Small world.
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