Take a pound of sugar, melt it and that's a simple sugar sculpture.
Anything past that, trust me is not that simple! Temperatures have to be accurate, the amount of acid added will be critical to too soft or too hard sugar. Isomalt will come into the discussion sooner or later, that's a whole 'nuther ball 'o' wax so to be speaking!
You may find recipes for making the sugar base but trust me sugar sculptures ain't simple!
Vintor, I knew I had a basic recipe around here somewhere.
Dissolve 2# white sugar in 16 oz of cold water. Bring up the heat slowly and stir constantly. Bring the sugar to a boil and keep washing the sides.
As the sugar comes to a boil, skim the scum with a tea strainer. Depending on the purity of the sugar you may have to do this several times. After it comes to a full boil add 8 oz Glucose. Bring it to a boil, skim again and wash the sides down as necessary. If you are doing a one time piece that doesn't need a shelf life, you can finish the sugar now. However if you give the sugar more time to dissolve it stands a better chance of lasting and not crystallizing on you. So if you have the time you can remove the sugar from the heat after it boils after adding the glucose and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The plastic will suck in and as it cools condensation will form on the plastic. This is okay. Let it sit and cool for a day. When you are ready to finish it, uncover it and bring it back to a boil. Bring the sugar up to 280ºF. and add 15 drops of disolved Tartaric Acid (Available at good bakery supply stores) Bring the syup up to 309ºF and promptly remove from the heat. The sugar is now ready to pour onto a marble slab and turn into workable sugar. And that my friend is a whole nuther issue! If you just want to do pourings and breakable pieces for decoration you can do the same steps and omit the Tartaris Acid. For opaque pieces you can add Calcium Carbonate and White color to the syrup at about 258ºF.
If you want to color the sugar, dissolve a little powdered color in water just before the temp reaches the final stage. Liquid and paste colors contain other ingredients that can eventually break down the sugar so it's best to avoid them.
Basic sugar 101. Good luck.
I was doing research for my website on Sugar and I was put in contact with a Chef that is MASTER....I got to reviewing some of his work and there is no doubt why they call him the "SugarDaddy" he has a good article about sugar work at http://www.pastrychef.info/news.asp?Headline_ID=8
He is truly amazing...beats the heck out of my blown oranges and sugar roses...LOL
That is a great article. It gives me even more information on sugar sculpting. My boss gave a class a few months back. He used isomalt, but really didn't give any insight about sugar and what to do with it. I am hoping one day to soon to set up my kitchen for sculpting in chocolate and sugar. Right now I am mostly just in awe of the masters.
If your really interested in playing, you should get in contact with a local Pastry Chef in a good hotel and he or she should be able to turn you on to some isomalt. This is a more forgiving medium. You might start with poured sugar which only requires color and clay. A silpat is also helpful.
Welcome to Chef Talk, am pretty honored to have you among us...
Instead of ranting and raving about your work, I just want you to know that I refer to both of your websites frequently and that I have attained a good amount of knowledge from your http://pastryarts.info site. Some good stuff, and anytime anyone asks me about sugar or some other pastry work that I know that you or your site has discussed I refer them to your sites.
Thanks Cheffy and Mezzaluna, www.Pastrychef.info has been some what neglected recently due to the pressures of work and life new born baby etc, but I hope to find time to upgrade it and add allot more information soon, I would welcome any info that I can add to it news, links, recipe are always welcome,
Its a pleasure to be on this site "chef talk" and will willingly give any advice if needed,
Ref: "isomalt" this is non hygroscopic so will not attract moisture so easily, working with it can be a little hot to handle but is great for poured sugar as it wont get stick so fast with humidity.
Martin, I enjoyed browsing through your site. Not only do you have an impressive array of work, but the site itself is well thought-out and high-tech. I hope you can find the time to revisit us now and then, even with a new baby (I know it's not easy). You are very talented!
I am accumulating profiles and pictures of chef's and culinarians for publication on our website, if you would be interested, or anyone else for that matter, would love to include you in the "Tao of Being A Chef" section on RestaurantEdge...send me an email...
As far as your pics Madi, I would love to hear the stories behind the pics, some really cool stuff...
alright my wife and my biggest fan thinks im super chef. i learned how to do wedding cakes im not bad at it i can definitly do beter then wal mart lol all on my own...but she was watching the sugar comp. in vegas on the food network and guess what i have to learn how to do mmmmm i read chef martins instuctions on how to get the sugar usable but is there some place i can find out how to start to get the basic shapes and build the moldes etc.
its something i really want to try and posibly mix in with my cakes