Dusting Tools and Techniques for Fondant and Gum Paste
Dusting tools for fondant and gum paste are basically the tools that assist in the dusting of icing sugar or cornstarch (depending on which ever you prefer) when working with fondant and gum paste.
Fondant Dusting Tools and Techniques
Fondant and gum paste tend to stick to the work surface or even fingers when being worked on and often require a little dusting of icing sugar or cornstarch so that they are easy to work with. Some people prefer to use shortening when working with gum paste but since that does not require any special tools (other than a brush may be) I am not covering it on this page.
Dusting of icing sugar or cornstarch is not really a rocket science subject, it is something that is so common when it comes to baking and our good old fingers can do this just fine without the need for any special tools.
But when it comes to working with fondant or gum paste, I find it so much more convenient to not use fingers. Firstly, it does not get my fingers unnecessarily messy with icing sugar (or cornstarch) and secondly, with fingers, its difficult to get a light and thin coat of sugar dust (its always tiny little lumps of icing sugar on the work surface which is not so convenient to work with especially when working with small pieces of fondant or gum paste that only require a very light dusting of icing sugar.
Having said that, I have a couple of different techniques and tools for dusting my fondant and gum paste and I often use these interchangeably, depending on the project I am working on.
Fondant and Gum Paste Dusting Tools and Techniques
These are the 3 of my most commonly used dusting tools and techniques:
This method is so basic that it requires no introduction. It is a very common technique and I use it mostly when working with fondant for cake covering.
I normally store my icing sugar in a large container, one that would fit my sieve
in. And then, when I need to dust my work surface with icing sugar, I simply scoop some icing sugar with a spoon into my sieve and simply sieve it lightly onto my work surface and fondant.
The good thing about this technique is that I don't need to invest in a special tool just for dusting and secondly, it helps me dust large areas of work very quickly.
The only downside with this technique is that I have to wash my sieve
each time I complete a project.
I prefer to use a sieve when I am doing large projects or when I need to cover many cakes with fondant at any one time. If I were to use a sugar shaker, I will have to keep refilling it, so using a sieve is faster.
Icing sugar shaker
This is a special dusting tool, meant specifically for dusting. I call it an icing sugar shaker
and its basically a drinking glass shaped container with a screw-on lid made of wire mesh. There is another lid above the wire mesh to cover the container completely.
The good thing about this tool is that its super convenient to use, you just need to fill it with icing sugar and its ready for use anytime. Its easy to store and mess-free.
The downside, well, nothing in particular, you would just need to refill the container a couple of times when working with large amounts of fondant.
I prefer to use this when covering cakes with fondant in small scale (i.e. about 2 cakes or less) but not so much for small fondant pieces or gum paste flowers as it would be too much dusting for small fondant or gum paste work.
This is another option for fondant and gum paste dusting. This is basically a pouch that is made of cloth and filled with icing sugar or cornstarch. To use it, you just have to tap the pouch onto your work surface to get a thin coat of sugar dust or cornstarch.
This is particularly preferred when working with small pieces of fondant deco, when you need only a very light coat of sugar dust. I normally use a dusting pouch for gum paste flowers too. Its easy to use and I get to confine the dusting to just a small area of my work surface, which means cleaning up later is easier!
Having said that, the dusting pouch does not quite work well for large pieces of fondant or when dusting fondant to cover cakes. The dusting is too light for such work and therefore is not quite effective in such cases.
When to use what?
This is a matter of personal preference.
I use the sieve and the icing sugar shakers quite interchangeably. When I have to work on large orders, or when I have more than 3 or 4 cakes to cover in fondant at any one time, I go with the sieve method, the reason being its much faster to use, I get to cover large areas of work space quickly and I do not have to refill anything. And off course there is a bit of extra cleaning up with washing of the sieve and all after that, but it is worth it as it saves my time from have to keep refilling any containers.
The Icing sugar shaker
is as effective as the sieve method albeit less mess, but since the container size is limited, I prefer to use it for small cake covering projects. It is good for about 2 to 3 cakes covering and would need to be refilled after that, so this is my prefered tool when working with smaller number of cakes at any one point.
The dusting pouch is a class on its own. I definitely do not use it to dust fondant when covering cakes as its not as effective, but this is absolutely what I use for small fondant deco work on cakes and gum paste flowers. This is a very convenient tool in the sense that it can be used for many projects before having to be refilled again and does not mess up the work surface which means cleaning up is easy. Plus, you can easily make one on your own so it's cost effective too (click here for a tutorial on how to make your own DIY dusting pouch).
And that's that. My dusting tools and techniques for fondant and gum paste.
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