A pasta machine is a wonderful piece of equipment for making gum paste flowers, ribbons, tissue paper and strips for design elements. It saves a great deal of time and is worth the investment if you are creating cakes with gum paste or fondant design elements.
A pasta machine is definitely not required for gum paste success but it is perfect for creating consistent thickness in the medium. You have to keep in mind that the machine will not make your finished strip wider than about 6 inches (which is standard for most machines) so if you need a piece that is wider you must use a rolling pin with rings or perfection strips.
Rolling Gum Paste and Fondant Through a Pasta Machine
- Always warm-up and knead your gum paste or fondant before running it through the machine. You should also color the product before rolling it through as well. You must roll the product out first to about an eighth of an inch thick taking care to remain within the width of the machine mouth. Dust the gum paste or fondant with cornstarch on both sides and the edges so it will feed through smoothly. Do not ever use shortening to help run the fondant or gum paste through because it simply gums up the machine, attracts dirt and is greasy.
- Run the strip through on the thickest setting and catch the piece on the other side taking care not to crease it. If there are creases or it is not as smooth as you wish it to repeat the step on the same thickness.
- Turn the control to the next thinnest setting and run the piece through again. Repeat this process gradually thinning the strip down until you have the desired thickness. You might have to dust the gum paste again during this process but try not to use too much cornstarch. Use the gum paste for your design elements taking care to keep unused pieces covered so they don't dry out and become less pliable.
- Take the time after to clean your pasta machine after using it with gum paste or fondant. There are many different schools of thought about the best way to take care of this type of equipment. It depends on what type of machine you have whether you want to roll towels or rags through the rollers to clean it. Take the time to read the enclosed instructions to see what is recommended and use your best judgment. A well-cared-for piece of equipment will be in use longer than machines that are gummed up with a product. If you invest in a pasta machine it is prudent to make sure you can use it when you need to do so.