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Author Topic: Sugar glass melting.  (Read 608 times)

Offline donutfat

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Sugar glass melting.
« on: November 27, 2018, 12:05:06 pm »
Hello ive tried making sugar glass.for my gingerbread house windows but after a day or two it just starts to melt. I didnt give up tho and i used hard candy.. melted it and put it on the windows  and again melting. I even tried making a sugar glass just out of glucoze but it always melts and destroying my houses. ??? :-\
Out of nessecity i use gelatine leaves now.
Any ideas?

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Offline adamwerner

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2018, 06:22:06 am »
I live in a pretty hot and humid climate (Florida) and have struggled with this issue from time to time.   I've found that the key is to ensure you are cooking your sugar to the correct temperature,  it must be cooked to the 'hard crack' stage which is around 290 degrees F (Fahrenheit).  However, if you are in a really humid area you may want to cook yours a bit hotter, to between 300 and 315 degrees.  Just be sure to use a heavy saucepan and watch it closely so that it doesn't start to brown and burn since as it cooks down, the syrup gets thicker and thicker.  You can remove it from the heat when it's about 5 degrees under target temperature (i.e.: 305 degrees if you are cooking it to 310 degrees) since the temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after you remove it from the heat.   

My other suggestion would be to consider Isomalt.  Isomalt is a sugar alternative that is used a lot in the dietetic industry.  In my experience, it holds up to humidity much better than the standard sugar/corn syrup/water formula and has an added benefit in that it yields 'glass' that is much clearer than the standard sugar syrup formula.  The end product is crystal clear, especially if you use distilled water.  Although Isomalt is more expensive than granulated sugar, I highly recommend it for Gingerbread House windows since it yields a much clearer and sturdier end product.  But I still use the standard granulated sugar/corn syrup/water formula as well when clarity isn't as important. 

Hope this helps,
-Adam

P.S.: I have used Sheet Gelatin for Gingerbread House windows from time to time.   I'm generally underwhelmed with the results though: the sheets are usually too narrow to fit larger windows which makes them difficult to work with.  Additionally, the gelatin sheets tend to 'curl' and pull away from the Gingerbread House after a few weeks, even when they seem to be secured properly.  But if you aren't planning to keep your Gingerbread House long term, then you shouldn't have an issue.

Offline donutfat

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2018, 03:30:58 am »
Thanks for the tips Adam. The thing is i have even tried letting the caramel turn a bit yellowish and it will still melt so i know that the problem isnt the cooking time.
I will try isomalt.

Offline GingerbreadExchange

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2018, 11:56:03 am »
Thanks for the wonderful tip Adam!  You always have such helpful and useful information... perhaps from your years of experience!  ;)

Something I've wondered... several years ago my husband and I both constructed a gingerbread house.  My house was covered in frosting and candy (well duh!), and his, was based more on architectural design and had no extra frosting/candy.

The only thing common in these two houses was that the same dough was used, the same recipe for windows (hard candy), and the same humidity level.

A few days after constructing/decorating, my windows melted and his did not???  The difference between the two?  I had decorative Royal Icing around every hard-candy window, and he did not.  :o I've wondered if the extra liquid contained in the Royal Icing affected the hard candy windows, as the Royal Icing dried (and the fluid in the frosting had to go somewhere?). 

Thoughts anyone?
Loreta Wilson
Exceeding your gingerbread expectations in a sweet way

Offline kimatkins

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 07:36:40 pm »
Hi, I'm in China working in a kindergarten and last year they wanted me to make a gingerbread house for them. Actually I had never made one before as I come from NZ and it isn't really a tradition for us. However first I made a small house to test things out and one of them was using different candies for the windows. I found using hard boiled candies worked best and gave a fairly realistic effect of an old fashioned stained glass window. I did end up with some mixed results in the final house though with some of the windows melting, but that was only after a month, however after 3 months all the windows had melted. I did find that the windows in the pieces of gingerbread that were slightly overcooked, in other words cooked at a higher temperature, lasted longer.

Offline adamwerner

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2018, 07:10:19 pm »
Hi Loreta,
I think you are on the right track with the theory that the windows melted on your house due to the Royal Icing and/or candy.   I know this incident happened several years ago but do you happen to remember if you made your Royal Icing with fresh egg white or did you use Meringue Powder?

Sugar is such a complex topic and according to Nicholas Lodge and other sugar experts, Royal Icing made with fresh egg white (or reconstituted dried egg white which is also known as albumin powder) produces a Royal Icing that is structurally stronger and more stable than Royal Icing made with commercial Meringue Powder.  Additionally, fresh egg white Royal is less likely to release moisture as it hardens than Meringue Powder Royal Icing.  This all may seem a bit counter intuitive (it did to me when I first heard it!) but I have actually tested this out a bit and have found that fresh egg white Royal Icing is indeed stronger and more stable than a typical Meringue Powder Royal Icing.  In any case, I am not sure if this could be the reason your windows melted while your husband's didn't... and most likely both of you used the same type of Royal Icing on your Gingerbread creations.   What I am thinking is that the combination of the candies and the Royal Icing you used to stick them on to your Gingerbread House may have caused some type of chemical reaction that ultimately caused the window 'glass' to break down.  There are so many possibilities....  :-) 

Offline MarilynFL

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Re: Sugar glass melting.
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2018, 07:18:57 am »
I also made houses in FLorida and humidity is a real killer.  I've used Isomalt and that worked well, as well as making sheets of glass from poured sugar. 
However, for ease, I use crushed hard candy Brachs' (butterscotch (golden) or cinnamon (red)).  Jolly Rancher has beautiful colors, but they melted after the second week.

I bake my gingerbread house sides, cutting out the windows (usually no bigger than 2") so the edges are soft.   Then I place each piece back on cookie sheet with a piece of foil underneath window and fill up the window with crushed candy.  Back into oven for 5 minutes, which melts it into glass.  Be sure to pack enough crushed candy in there or else there will be gaps.  The glass does develop cracks when it cools, but they last and the light from inside the house shines through beautifully. 

 

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