BPA 105 Day 5: Buttercream Rosettes and Borders

BPA 105
Day 5, Thursday
Lesson 5: Piping with Buttercream

Since the buttercream was slightly cool still, I put it in a mixing bowl to fluff it up a little bit before piping with it. You don't need to whisk it again, the paddle attachment for the mixer is best. I started on a low speed and mixed it until it became a nice creamy texture that would flow evenly from my piping bag. If I had a good emulsion when making the buttercream the other day I should have no problems now. An emulsion is a mixture of fat or oil and water. In our case butter and egg whites; there is water in the butter, egg whites, and sugar syrup. By whipping them the milk fats in the butter were forced to clash with the water. The protein in the egg whites help absorb some of the moisture, aiding in thickening process.

I filled my piping bag, ready with a star tip, about half full so as to not loose frosting out the top. This frosting was good to practice piping with because it could be scraped off the parchment and be used again.

Rosettes take a lot of practice to get right. I began by holding my bag directly above the area I was piping in, with my palm controlling the pressure on the flow of frosting. The fingertips on my other hand gently guided the tip as I flicked my wrist in a counter-clockwise motion. When coming around to the point at which I began I stopped piping and pulled the tip through the rosette, virtually closing the circle. You are looking for a nice circular, even rosette that has a slightly rounded top without trails of frosting that come from pulling the bag straight up instead of pulling through.

Next were shell borders. These two take a lot of practice. It seemed that with each row my shells were loosing their shape. By this point I had been piping for at least 2 hours and my buttercream was getting soft. To keep the buttercream piping smoothly and evenly you can put it back into the cooler for a couple minutes, to let it set a little. The key to the shells was again the movement of the wrist. It is an up and down action of the hand, not of the arm or whole body. The tip should be at a 45 degree angle following a "pipe, move back, then move forward" action. The next one in line should be started 1/3 of the way on the one before. I also attempted a tear drop border which like the shell took concentration and precision. The key to the tear drop was that you wanted it flat, no height because the bag was moving horizontally not vertically. Most of my problems came from pulling the tip to abruptly down after piping, making very deep lines that were rather unattractive. This skill will definitely take more work to master!

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