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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Culinary School - Session 92: Advanced Sugar Techniques - Blown Sugar

Culinary School: Session 92 (03.30.15)

Advanced Sugar Techniques - Blown Sugar

Not as easy as it looks...

... and it doesn't look easy.

Blown Sugar represents the final frontier in Advance Sugar Techniques... the last skill before facing two days dedicated to the Sugar Showpiece Final.

When it comes to Blown Sugar, the process and technique is just like blown glass. Air is delicately pumped into the core of a hot and pliable piece of Sugar, slowly inflating and stretching the piece into the desired shape.

If the Sugar is too hot, the shape will sag and be difficult to form. If it is too cool, it will break. If the piece is inflated too quickly, weak points will form. In summary, a lot can go wrong. More than any of the other techniques covered to date, this one will require practice, practice, practice.  

So how does one cope when initially faced with such challenges? How about by keeping it simple with a Blown Sugar Apple (otherwise known as a slightly modified ball)?

Blown Sugar Apple

Not-so-tasty treats...

Perhaps as a concession to the class after weeks of edible but undesirable products (does anyone really want to eat plain Pulled Sugar?), the day's schedule also included Sour Hard Candies and Butterscotch Candies.

Both products illustrate how simple hard candies can be made by adding a little flavoring to Sugar raised to a certain temperature - in this case, 300 degrees Fahrenheit or the Hard Crack Stage. The trouble is, when the flavoring is an overly aromatic and somewhat bitter orange oil, the final candy isn't going to be that great.

Boiling Sugar for Butterscotch Hard Candy

Butterscotch Hard Candy

Butterscotch and Orange Hard Candy

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (03.30.15):
  • Flour: 24,535g
  • Eggs: 16,000g (320x)
  • Sugar: 28,995g
  • Butter: 16,065g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,845g
  • Chocolate: 9,000g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Techniques -


    Blown Sugar


    Blown Sugar begins with a batch of Pulled Sugar which is heated sugar that remains soft and pliable given the addition of vinegar. The Sugar is satinized and then formed into a cup. A copper-tipped air pump is inserted into the center of the cup and the warm Sugar is sealed around the copper tip. Slowly, air is pumped into the ball of Sugar, which inflates and can be formed into the desired object.

    Blown Sugar Air Pump

    Hot Sugar for Creating Blown Sugar

    Blown Sugar Apple

    Next - Session 93: Sugar Showpiece

    Previous - Session 91: Advanced Sugar Techniques - Rock Sugar, Net Sugar, Ice Sugar and Straw Sugar

    Take a look at the full syllabus

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