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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A silly idea - can I make a gingerbread spinning wheel?

 
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I'm toying with a crazy idea and trying to figure out the logistics of it.  Is it even possible?  Can you help plan this to see if it's within my skillset?

I'm thinking of making a spinning wheel out of gingerbread.  It doesn't have to spin yarn, but it does need to look like a real spinning wheel.

So how do you do this?  Do you cut out the bits then bake or bake then cut and dry somehow?  How do you get them not to warp when baking/drying?

What recipe do I use?

I know nothing.  help?
 
r ranson
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Thinking about this some more, what I need is a recipe that can stay at room temperature for about a month.  

The old style gingerbread houses of my youth were so dry they just dried out more as they stayed out as decoration.  Then got nibbled on after new years.  
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm toying with a crazy idea and trying to figure out the logistics of it.  Is it even possible?  Can you help plan this to see if it's within my skillset?

I'm thinking of making a spinning wheel out of gingerbread.  It doesn't have to spin yarn, but it does need to look like a real spinning wheel.

So how do you do this?  Do you cut out the bits then bake or bake then cut and dry somehow?  How do you get them not to warp when baking/drying?

What recipe do I use?

I know nothing.  help?



There is a ferris wheel made out of gingerbread, on this website: https://mcnair.sd38.bc.ca/gingerbread-house-competition-2
However it doesn't tell you how to make it. It just tells me it must be logistically possible, with a lot of gingerbread that you bake then cut into the shapes you need, then glue together with icing.

That's how I would do it, if I was going to.

Hope this helps.
 
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I have an "Old fashioned Pepperkaker" recipe that might fit the bill. If you're interested, I'll post it later.
 
Lana Berticevich
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Jay Angler wrote:I have an "Old fashioned Pepperkaker" recipe that might fit the bill. If you're interested, I'll post it later.



Yes, I'm interested. Thanks!
 
Lana Berticevich
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However, I think you were asking if R Ranson was interested.
 
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This sounds like something that you would cut pieces out of the dough then bake. The glue to put the pieces together would be icing.

I watch the shows on Food Network that might be called Gingerbread Wars.  They make all kinds of ornate "gingerbread houses".

Best wishes for a beautiful spinningwheel.
 
r ranson
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I'm interested.
I'm in the information gathering stage.  I want to know everything!  
 
Jay Angler
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This is a recipe for a rolled and cut *very* crispy cookie:

Old Fashioned Pepparkakor

Bake @ 375F for 8-10 min

Sift together;
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp Baking soda
2 1/2 tsp ginger (I use fresh ginger finely grated because I like it better)
2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp cardamom (this can be harder to find - I get it in the Indian spice section of our independent grocery and it is the whole seed which I powder in my spice grinder)

Add rind of 1 orange or lemon

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
Add :
1 unbeaten egg
3/4 cup molasses

Stir in dry ingredients gradually until thoroughly blended. Cover and chill overnight. (this is important!)
Dough may be used in small amounts and will keep for a week in the fridge.
Roll out on a well floured surface, 1/3 at a time to 1/8th inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on a greased cookie sheet.

I have not done a Gingerbread house with this recipe, as I'm past that stage. However, I did use this recipe to make Zombie Gingerbread for a friend and the picture is posted here: https://permies.com/t/25058/zombie-attacks-gardening#1028125
 
r ranson
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Ohh... that looks yummy.

I've used this recipe in the past: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/35826636/lee-valley-tools-gingerbread-mold

It's quite firm and the gingerbread stays good for about a month.  But it expands a bit when I cook it so it's going to be hard to get the pieces just right.  
 
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I'm a structural type person. If I were making a spinning wheel, I'd make the spokes of the wheel (is that the right word for them?) with a metal or wood core, with the gingerbread over it. I'd probably for each spoke, cut two pieces the same shape, bake them, then icing them together on each side of the metal or wood. Clothes hanger wire or shishkabob skewers come to mind for the core. Could even make the round of the wheel out of wire, and glue the parts on it with icing the same way, two matching pieces.  Might be a good way to keep it from collapsing, I can't imagine gingerbread is very structural. On the houses, the walls support each other, spinning wheel wouldn't have that.

Hmm... now you have me thinking...
Just looked at the Ferris wheel link, that's not what I'm visualizing, that's small, and not self supporting.
I'm visualizing a spinning wheel with at least a 10 - 12 inch diameter.
 
r ranson
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I'm wondering about making a soild disk then add the spokes topically... on top?  Whatever.  

I want to make this 100% edible.  But I can't see what would be strong enough for spokes that I can eat after.

Some wheels do have solid wheels... but it's not common in Europe.  
 
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Jay your pepperkaker recipe (pepper cake) has no pepper in it!

I use pepperkaker as well,  I've made everything from lighthouses to tie bombers, don't glue it with icing it's way to weak for what you want, use caramel instead.
The recipe I use is my mothers who is Norwegian.
200ml sugar
150ml light syrup (golden is close enough)
3 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper
150g butter

Boil everything above together, let cool and then add 1 egg 500g flour and cook for 10 minutes at 150C (fan) this makes 1 medium sized house.
If you want to eat it as a nice cookie, cook for 7-8 minutes at 160C instead.

It will shrink a little when you cook it it will not spread at all. If you want to strengthen the wheel bake it as one huge piece and use some form of clear boiled sweet in the spokes, As if you were doing stained glass windows. This is made with the recipe above, it survives indefinitely in a centrally heated house.


Just reading some actual Norwegian recipes they all seem to be boiled and then add flour but they also have cloves in, I suspect my mother dropped that bit as she doesn't like them.
lighthouse.jpg
[Thumbnail for lighthouse.jpg]
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm wondering about making a soild disk then add the spokes topically... on top?  Whatever.  

I want to make this 100% edible.  But I can't see what would be strong enough for spokes that I can eat after.

Some wheels do have solid wheels... but it's not common in Europe.  


What about making the center disk solid, and color it a color that makes it obvious it's not the important part of it....
I'm thinking VERY dark brown, with the spokes in light brown that match the rest of the wheel. It would look good, but be sturdy and edible.
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

Jay your pepperkaker recipe (pepper cake) has no pepper in it!

I thought the same thing when my friend insisted we make it. It's apparently an old German recipe and since I've now got 3 friends who adore it just as it is, I will stick with it!
 
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How large were you planning on?

I think if your goal is about 12" tall, I'd just make mulitple layers and icing them together to get the strength. The spokes might have to be a little chunky rather than delicate, but I think if you make enough of them, it would hold together if you made the spokes and sandwiched them between two rings and two centers.

The good thing here is that if you start experimenting early and are prepared to eat your mistakes, you could try several options and decide which works/looks the best?
 
r ranson
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A foot tall would be more than big enough.

I'm feeling the size will depend on how easy it is to make.

With the price of butter going up quickly, is there a way to substitute with lard?  It's going to be stale by the time it's eaten anyway, so might as while use the cheaper stuff.  
 
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r ranson wrote:With the price of butter going up quickly, is there a way to substitute with lard?  It's going to be stale by the time it's eaten anyway, so might as while use the cheaper stuff.  

I don't buy lard as I don't like the way most pigs are treated, however I'm happy to use Muscovy Duck fat or venison fat. I have some local lamb, but I tend to use that fat for Yorkshire pudding where the flavor is an asset. Organic coconut oil might also work, but it might not be any cheaper???
 
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I use butter and lard interchangeably I can't see why there would be any issue with swapping.
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I use butter and lard interchangeably I can't see why there would be any issue with swapping.



awesome!

That makes things better.

Now to start planning which style of wheel I want to make.

 
r ranson
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Assuming saxony style spindle wheel, my parts list looks like

Table
Wheel
wheel uprights x 2
legs x 3
maidens x 2
spindle
spindle whorl
distaff
drive band
fibre

Goal: 100% edible.

Assume mistakes so I will have to make at least one spare of each.  

Do I want to assemble with purely icing as glue?  

Or... make it more like a real spinning wheel where there are holes in the table for the things to slide into?

The things that will have the most strain are the legs, wheel uprights, and distaff.

Another option is to make a flyer wheel, but difficult.

And... if I make it a spindle wheel, should I make the spindle out of something else?  A candy cane so it looks like it spirals?  
 
r ranson
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Anyone else have a desire to make crazy things out of gingerbread this year or is it just me?
 
Skandi Rogers
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r ranson wrote:

Do I want to assemble with purely icing as glue?  



I really really advise you to use caramel not icing, icing is fine for houses but anything that requires a bit more structure will be a problem. For my tie bomber I used caramel it sets fast so you don't have to support bits for hours waiting for icing to dry, it's much stronger and can be built up on joints to help support corners, and while it will absorb water from the atmosphere it will last longer in a damp place than icing.

I would love to make something, but what... that is the question.
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

I really really advise you to use caramel not icing, icing is fine for houses but anything that requires a bit more structure will be a problem. For my tie bomber I used caramel it sets fast so you don't have to support bits for hours waiting for icing to dry, it's much stronger and can be built up on joints to help support corners, and while it will absorb water from the atmosphere it will last longer in a damp place than icing.

I would love to make something, but what... that is the question.



That sounds like the voice of experience talking. Thank you for sharing that tidbit - I don't know that I'd ever have thought of it, and yet, it's perfect, in not disrupting the colors on the gingerbread, too. The icing has always seemed... too... comical(?) looking to me, for anything but Hansel&Gretal-style gingerbread houses.
 
r ranson
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

r ranson wrote:

Do I want to assemble with purely icing as glue?  



I really really advise you to use caramel not icing, icing is fine for houses but anything that requires a bit more structure will be a problem. For my tie bomber I used caramel it sets fast so you don't have to support bits for hours waiting for icing to dry, it's much stronger and can be built up on joints to help support corners, and while it will absorb water from the atmosphere it will last longer in a damp place than icing.



Royal icing (icing sugar and egg white) makes a good glue.  It sets rock hard but it takes about 12 hours to cure per 1/4 inch thickness.  The trick is to use as little as possible.

When we make the houses for the friends kids to decorate, we have to make the house a few days in advance so it is solid.

I can imagine building this in stages over a few days so that everything can cure before it needs to hold up a load.  


I would love to make something, but what... that is the question.



I hope you make something.  I would feel less lonely.  
Crazy loves company.  
 
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If I can get past my time constraints, I might! I love the spinning wheel idea, and hope you'll be sharing pics and maybe even a video!
 
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I was already picturing that your drive band might need to be shoe-lace licorice. I think it only comes in red or black, neither of which are ideal. Maybe someone else has a thought on that?

My sister used to heat sugar in a heavy fry-pan until the sugar melted and then would dip the edges of the pieces in the melted sugar and quickly stick them together. It cooled *very* fast and made a decently strong house. I suspect that's a version of what Skandi's suggested.

I'll be happy if I just manage to get cookies made this year - major building projects will be out of wood and glass! But I, too, would love to see what all of you come up with for building.
 
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r ranson wrote:I'm toying with a crazy idea and trying to figure out the logistics of it.  Is it even possible?  Can you help plan this to see if it's within my skillset?

I'm thinking of making a spinning wheel out of gingerbread.  It doesn't have to spin yarn, but it does need to look like a real spinning wheel.

So how do you do this?  Do you cut out the bits then bake or bake then cut and dry somehow?  How do you get them not to warp when baking/drying?

What recipe do I use?

I know nothing.  help?



Hi! Use construction gingerbread, it’s what the professionals use. Just google “construction gingerbread” and you’ll get a bunch of recipes. Alton Brown is usually pretty good. A hint for the dough, I like rolling the dough out on a cookie sheet and cutting out the parts needed, leaving the good parts and the leftover parts in place and bake it all. When done, go through the cuts with a knife and let cool on the cookie sheet. You’re waiting for them to cool and firm up so that you don’t warp the gingerbread. Also, if you use caramel (homemade) on the edges as glue when you’re putting your it together, it dries quick and strong. Good luck, I’d love to see a pic of what your end results look like.
 
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Lucia has fairly well nailed it.  Gingerbread will slump as it is cooking so the shape you start with will be slightly off when it get out of the oven. We have a friend who makes numerous gingerbread houses for Christmas, on commission.
She makes the pattern out of light card.  After rolling out the gingerbread to 1/4" thick, she cuts out the pattern and places the pieces on baking trays so they have plenty of space between.  After baking and before the ginger bread cools, the pattern parts are put over the respective shapes and the gingerbread is re-cut to size.

When making any gingerbread structure, it is like building a normal house.  There needs to be structural supports. R., you are correct,  royal icing is a great glue.  As a suggestion for the wheel, Make up two wheels the same then cook and trim to the pattern.  To give the wheel a real lift, put a thin bead of royal icing on the wheel rim part and around the centre spindle only and put together so there is a gap between the spokes - don't forget to put the spindle hole in the centre of the wheel to start with.  The other thing that can be used is melted marshmallow.  pack some toasted coconut between the wheels outermost edge so you have a groove.
This is a link to some good drawings that may be useful to make your pattern from: https://www.craftsmanspace.com/free-projects/spinning-wheel-plan.html
The metal wear can be made with finely rolled structural gingerbread that otherwise needs a craft saw to cut.  Roll out very thinly and roll to the required thickness

https://thecraftcrib.com/
   has some great ideas and different recipes.
Happy constructing.  It will look fabulous when you are done.
Good luck with it all
 
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As already mentioned, the spokes/legs/etc... i.e. anything that needs tensile strength is going to be the tricky part. Could you substitute candy canes, or some similar hard sugar based stuff for those pieces, leaving the gingerbread for the flat parts? Along thonse lines, I imaine the wheel may be best done with a number of short flat segments that aproximate round, but are not really curved.
 
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At first I imagined the question to be how to make a gingerbread dough that would work on a pottery wheel—which is a very interesting thought!

Former pastry chef here, and wanted to say you’re on the right track with your brainstorming! Lots of good advice on here. I know it’s idealistic to use only royal icing (which does indeed dry like cement), but as you even have noticed, it takes a while to dry and there could be some shifting during that time. What the Europeans in this thread are referring to when they suggest “caramel” is just sugar heated until it’s molten and when you use it to stick your gingerbread pieces, it dries incredibly quickly like hard candy. You can always pipe royal icing over it as decoration if you like the aesthetic. But for something structural like this, using royal icing exclusively will just make a complex job harder for you! That’s just my opinion.

As for other pieces, if you wanted a different material, you could always play with modeling chocolate or with pastillage (an edible structural dough made with powdered sugar and gelatin that’s snow white and dries incredibly hard and lasts virtually forever).

You’re doing great!
 
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Congratulations on your first post Jessica. It is a great thing with Permies that we get to know what different things are called in different parts of the world.  I was thinking caramel as a soft gooey chew not a firm toffee like substance. Thanks
 
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I think that as many pieces should be cut out before baking to reduce the "glue up". Depending on which aesthetic you are going for, the spinning wheel would be one piece and the frame only two to four pieces. The bobbin and whorl could be a rolled log or a series of small round cookies on the same axle.

Here is a video for a simple ferris wheel build that demonstrates what I mean. The spinning wheel could be built the same, only with more stuff and more complicated cutouts.

https://youtu.be/QHcxJAi-Cz0
 
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So I'm looking up competition gingerbread and I see a lot of these recipes have eggs and butter.

How are these going to hold up for 6+ weeks at room temperature?  

I want something edible and not too rancid at the end of the season.  
 
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r ranson wrote:So I'm looking up competition gingerbread and I see a lot of these recipes have eggs and butter.

How are these going to hold up for 6+ weeks at room temperature?  

I want something edible and not too rancid at the end of the season.  




If kept dry, the amount of sugar used should keep the eggs from turning. The butter might oxidize but if you replace the butter with margarine or another fully saturated fat you'll get a lot longer shelf life.
 
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Memory lane... A friend and I made a gingerbread cathedral with sugar candy stained glass windows about 30 years ago. He was the cook and I was the architectural designer, so I couldn't give you recipes, but that seems well in hand. Our cathedral dried hard and strong, but when we presented it for a midwinter feast, the candles we used to light the windows softened it so that when the crowd finally attacked and ate it, the gingerbread was wonderfully soft and chewy. We kept the remains for months to snack on, and a friend's baby used it for teething.
 
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I enjoyed reading this review of 6 different gingerbread recipes  https://thecraftcrib.com/popular-gingerbread-recipes/

For my first test, I'm going to go with a modified version of https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gingerbread-cookies-2125548?soc=sharepin

So I can remember some of my changes...

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening lard
1 cup corn syrup (light or dark) molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 Tbs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 Tbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice


The spices are an extreme adjustment but it's closer to what I'm used to.

I like that this doesn't take any egg or rising agent.  So it should last longer.

This time of year, I struggle to have enough eggs for the icing as everyone wants to bake and the chickens don't want to lay.  
 
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We do gingerbread structures every few winters or so, and what I've found that I like to use for "glue" is candy melts/almond bark/melting chocolate or whatever it might be called.  The stuff frequently comes in wafers with instructions on how to melt it on the package.  It sets up quickly enough that the small people in the household don't get impatient waiting for royal icing to harden, it is easy to "make" more if you bought enough up front, and you can pick your choice of colors, if you care about such things.  To keep it at a workable temp I store it in squeeze bottles and stash those in a metal mixing bowl that I've lined with a heating pad.  

And while candy canes may be a traditional winter snack, any hard candy stick would work.  ...I'm thinking about the kind I see in places like Cracker Barrel, I think they're a little shorter than canes, don't have the bend, and come in myriad of flavors, including chocolate, raspberry, bubblegum, etc.  A quick google search tells me "Gilliam Old Fashioned Candy Sticks" is what I'm thinking, or something else like them.  If you were wanting an edible wheel spoke or support they may work.

Just some ideas, take 'em or leave 'em!
 
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Tested the recipe yesterday!  It's brilliant!

Needs to be worked while warm and extreme care taken how it cools so it doesn't warp, but when dry it is rock hard.  

But delicious.  
 
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Could cotton candy spun into yarn be used for the spokes?

I only ever touched that stuff once so I cannot attest about its tensile strength, but I would expect it to be sufficient.
 
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
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