Top 4 tips for working with gold leaf for pastry or other products
Anyone who bakes regularly knows that making things taste great is one thing, but that making your creation look incredible is an entirely different skill set. From carefully placed garnish to great looking plates, nothing will upgrade the look of your pastry like gold leaf does.
And before you worry about the health aspect of things; gold leaf is what they call “biologically inert”, meaning that it just passes through our body, without being absorbed. That means no calories, if you will. It is perfectly safe to use as an ingredient and will elevate your creation from “average” to “impressive”. For weddings especially, when a cake or other pastry needs to look like one-in-a-million, gold leaf is a great way to create a unique look that people will remember for years to come.
At Siam Sawadee, we have been selling gold leaf in different quantities for over three years now, and when we see some of the creations our customers make, it is easy to forget just how delicate the material is and how unusual it is to work with. The word “leaf” doesn’t really do it justice, as this is a precious metal and as such, the leaf is on the thin and fragile side of things. So applying some gold skin to your product, whether it is pastry, art or a simple picture frame, requires a technique that we had almost forgotten about. And best of all, it is so easy!
#1 Applying gold leaf is easier with tools
The number one rule is to keep the gold skin away from your fingers as much as possible, and to rely on tools instead. A sharp knife without any grease on it will do great, and small brushes will help you to transfer the gold to the surface you desire, gently pushing it into its final form.
#2 Be careful to buy sheets of gold leaf instead of flakes
Make sure to buy your gold leaf in sheets and not in flakes, which are notoriously difficult to work with. Siam Sawadee sells gold leaf as “loose “leaf”, meaning the gold comes off the sheet easy, allowing you to transfer it to another surface. Alternatively, you can cut up the gold in patterns you want to use, and gently transfer these to the object you have in mind.
#3 Eliminate drafts or currents
The thin gold leaf is susceptible to drafts of any kind, so before you start working, you may want to eliminate aircon drafts or open windows. The idea is to have a working environment where your gold leaf doesn’t move around and can easily be applied to your project. If you pick up a little gold with your brush or pencil and it moves, chances are there is a draft pulling through your working station still. Close the offending door or window and you should be fine.
#4 For edibles, use water
Applying your gold leaf to edibles is easiest out of any project and here’s why. Usually having the gold leaf adhere to a surface means carefully kneading it with a brush. But with edibles, all you have to do is brush some moisture to the surface before you apply the gold leaf. The delicate gold skin will practically stick by itself, giving your project that extravagant look in seconds.
So that’s it! nothing is simpler than working with gold leaf, all it takes is a little preparation, and you will be able to take your creations to “the gold standard”.