Bubbles in My Icing

Any ideas why I continually get bubbles in my RI? I tried making it thick and adding water like several have said, I've tried mixing it with all the water a full 10 minutes and it gets peaks like meringue!  Then other times one RI icing bag will be great and another has bubbles! Does anyone have any ideas? I have watched videos on Royal icing by Ali Bee,  Montreal Confections, SweetSugarbelle and I can't remember all the rest. I use a spritzer bottle to add moisture. Also my icing seems to dry so fast. I know that means it needs more moisture, but I when I add water to make it more runny, that seems to be when I get bubbles. Hoping someone can help. I will still continue to try new consistencys! I just takes so long to make cookies when I can't get the icing right. I figure ways to cover it up or fix it, but doing it right the first time would be so nice! I have even painted water over the top of single colors to smooth over flooding that has dried too fast. It has to be on a single color though. See the face and the arrow. It actually helped the hair though! He is a warrior after all! 

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Jamie Larson

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I've always accompanied bubbles in icing with whipping up your icing on too high of speed and incorporating air pockets. I've also noticed mixing in too much water into an already incorporated batch of icing can be risky business cause it weakens it. 

 

Just my personal experience though, I'm no professional! 

I appreciate any comments. I keep trying different ways and this seems to be a recent thing. In the past it didn't happen. I love your work. Would you ever consider allowing me to watch you decorate sometime? And make your icing? I am self taught on everything and even though people seem to love my cookies, I know I can do better if I get the icing right.

I agree with Mallory. I only whip my icing on high speed for 1-2 minutes and at a very thick consistency. I gently stir in additional water to thin it for various tasks. The operative word is "gently," because if you stir too aggressively when the the icing is loose, you'll kick a lot of air into it.

 

Some air bubbles seem to be inevitable even if you mix this way. Some cookiers let their icings rest for a few hours or overnight before they use them, or even vibrate them on top of compressors so the air bubbles quickly rise to the top (then they break them once they do)! I am usually in too much of a rush to add these extra steps, so I ice right away with freshly mixed icing and will pop any really offensive air bubbles with a turkey lacer (or a toothpick) before the icing sets up.

 

Best of luck! 

 

P.S. A couple of air bubbles never hurt anyone! We cookiers tend to be too perfectionistic!

When I am making a large batch of flood icing, I vibrate it. I use my compressor from my airbrush, but anything that vibrates will do. The vibration causes the bubbles to rise to the top.
You can also buy a dental vibrator on ebay. I would hot glue a lid to it and set your covered bowl on top. The lid prevents it from vibrating off.
Another option is to bang your bowl on the counter after mixing in your water. I've also found a hand mixer to work well for adding water, without air because it is not being folded in like it is with a spatula or spoon.
I have been doing this for almost two years now and very seldom have bubbles.
Hope this helps.

Thank you so much for the input. I wonder also, if putting rubber bands on my icing bags keeps the air in instead of letting it escape? That thought just occurred to me. I don't have a vibrator right now, so maybe until I can get one, letting my icing sit overnight.  Usually, because I have a full time job, I try to ice once I have the icing ready. I already make the cookie dough one day, roll it out and bake it the next and usually start icing the next day. This helps me, especially to know it isn't just me! 

I can't comment on the rubber band issue. I use parchment cones and rarely mess with pastry bags - can't stand all of the setup and cleanup. I think if you mix carefully and let the icing rest a bit, you'll probably be fine.

I tried parchment bags once and made a mess. I am going to re-watch your video and try again. I like that idea very much! I delivered my bubbled cookies today and the customer loved them. Everyone at work thought they were great and even called them "Perfect!". I guess they aren't seeing all the great cookies out there! I am happy they liked them, however will still strive to have nicer cookies. In a few days, I will try again on a new project. Thank you so much for all your help!

Hi Jamie, if you haven't seen this one already, Sweetopia has a great post on getting rid of air bubbles.  http://sweetopia.net/2012/09/h...bles-in-royal-icing/  I now use a dental vibrator when I'm doing a lot of cookies (I don't bother if I'm just doing a couple of dozen) so I don't have to spend so much time popping bubbles with a toothpick.  It doesn't get rid of all of them, but it definitely reduces the amount.  Hope this helps!

  1. Thank you! I haven't checked that one out yet, but love Marians blog and definitely will. I don't have an agitator or vibrator like Ali suggested, however, I did not want to throw out all the icing I made and was trying to think of what I could do. Then I remembered I have a Homedics back massager and although I had to hold it and my bowl of icing (small bowl), it worked! I was able to vibrate my icing to get most of the bubbles out! Enough that I have very few bubbles to contend with. So I am attaching a photo of the same Indian without many bubbles. So much better. I wish I had figured it out before I had to deliver my order of cookies! Thank you to all who have responded to the post. I appreciate all the help!  

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Originally Posted by Cookies and Cakes by Jamie:
  1. Thank you! I haven't checked that one out yet, but love Marians blog and definitely will. I don't have an agitator or vibrator like Ali suggested, however, I did not want to throw out all the icing I made and was trying to think of what I could do. Then I remembered I have a Homedics back massager and although I had to hold it and my bowl of icing (small bowl), it worked! I was able to vibrate my icing to get most of the bubbles out! Enough that I have very few bubbles to contend with. So I am attaching a photo of the same Indian without many bubbles. So much better. I wish I had figured it out before I had to deliver my order of cookies! Thank you to all who have responded to the post. I appreciate all the help!  

Thanks so much for all your help, I too am self taught and these crazy air bubbles are ruining my work! I have a little hand held back massager that vibrates quit a bit. I'm going to try it under my bowl today to see if it works out. Thanks for all the helpful advise!!!

 

Go to Sweetopia's website and search for "Getting Rid of Air Bubbles".  She has the link for the dental vibrator I bought from Amazon.  Make sure you keep the packing foam that is used to pack the vibrator in the box.  I use it to hold my bowls or bottles with icing.  Otherwise they fall off from the vibrations.  I also dry my cookies with a fan as Sweet Sugarbelle suggests in her Blog site.  I have read many blogs about air bubbles, the one tip everyone talks about is consistency, consistency.  I am also going to try Julia's tip of drying cookies with a heat gun for problems with craters.  Just saw her YouTube on how to ice a cookie and that tip was in there.

So glad to know I'm not alone in disliking the added labor of icing bags. I fiddled with them at the start, got thoroughly frustrated, then tried small baggies but hated the plastic waste.  Then I remembered my cooking school roots, and practiced with parchment cones til it became easy...and I love that they go into the compost when done.  No muss - no fuss - no waste.
 
Originally Posted by Julia M. Usher:

I can't comment on the rubber band issue. I use parchment cones and rarely mess with pastry bags - can't stand all of the setup and cleanup. I think if you mix carefully and let the icing rest a bit, you'll probably be fine.

 

Hi Everyone,

I have air bubbles and craters! I mix a big batch of RI very slowly in the KA mixer. Then I start to add my color and mix for consistency. I tried using a small vibrating back massager to eliminate the air bubble problem but when I ice small details like a dot I don't see a air bubble but a crater instead! How does this happen? When I first put the dot down it looks perfect but in a few minutes I see it start to sink in and there's a hole! what's up with that? Help me please!

Originally Posted by Christina:

Hi Everyone,

I have air bubbles and craters! I mix a big batch of RI very slowly in the KA mixer. Then I start to add my color and mix for consistency. I tried using a small vibrating back massager to eliminate the air bubble problem but when I ice small details like a dot I don't see a air bubble but a crater instead! How does this happen? When I first put the dot down it looks perfect but in a few minutes I see it start to sink in and there's a hole! what's up with that? Help me please!

Hi, Christina - this sounds like cratering to me. There is another whole forum which addresses how to prevent/avoid cratering. Here's the link: http://cookieconnection.juliau...0#328791182530282350

 

I think you'll find some helpful tips there!

I found a new way to get almost all the bubbles out of my icing fast. Because I still use icing bags, I lay out a sheet of press-n-seal, sticky side up an put my icing in the middle. Then I smooth it out with a wide flat knife or off set spatula, but try to smooth back and forth, so I keep the icing kind of in the middle. Then i fold one side of the plastic over leaving about an inch from the other edge so I have sticky left, and stick down all sides except the ends (where I will later twist to go into my icing bag). Then with the plastic over the icing and sealed on the top to keep icing from oozing out, I start smoothing again with my hand or a spatula and easily go back and forth in the middle and out toward the edges and the bubbles move out. Then I roll up the icing in the plastic and twist the ends of the plastic wrap, so it will fit into the bag. I still get bubbles once in a while, but this has been my best way to get rid of them. When I am done with that bag of icing, if I want to keep the icing, I just take out the inside wrap, squeeze out the icing into a container and either toss the bag, or rinse it. It is very easy clean up. I got the bag idea from Sugarbelle and I believe I see many others using it. I still try the parchment bag once in a while, but have not mastered it. I think when I do, I will like it very much though. But for stopping the bubbles, this has been working very well!

On the topic of air bubbles…. after you make a batch of RI then we need to color it and bag it up. How to do I mix and color with out getting so much air incorporated into the RI. I do mix it in slowly by hand. What else can i do to reduce it while I'm mixing water for consistency and coloring it. You have to mix to do this. Is mixing slowly by hand the right way? thanks

Christina

Originally Posted by Christina:

On the topic of air bubbles…. after you make a batch of RI then we need to color it and bag it up. How to do I mix and color with out getting so much air incorporated into the RI. I do mix it in slowly by hand. What else can i do to reduce it while I'm mixing water for consistency and coloring it. You have to mix to do this. Is mixing slowly by hand the right way? thanks

Christina

Yes, mixing slowly/gently by hand is the best way to add color and water in my opinion. I don't bag up my icing the way Jamie describes - too much work for me - so there are always different ways to successfully do the same thing.

What a good idea about putting it ontop of your air compressor!! I think I'll have to give it a try.
 
Originally Posted by Ali's Sweet Tooth:

When I am making a large batch of flood icing, I vibrate it. I use my compressor from my airbrush, but anything that vibrates will do. The vibration causes the bubbles to rise to the top.
You can also buy a dental vibrator on ebay. I would hot glue a lid to it and set your covered bowl on top. The lid prevents it from vibrating off.
Another option is to bang your bowl on the counter after mixing in your water. I've also found a hand mixer to work well for adding water, without air because it is not being folded in like it is with a spatula or spoon.
I have been doing this for almost two years now and very seldom have bubbles.
Hope this helps.

 

Cookies From Home posted:

In this case your dough consistency should be thick.Use air brush while doing icing otherwise there are hand mixers available in the market you can also use them.

Cookie Gifts

Sorry, I don't understand your answer. The question is about bubbles in the icing, not in the dough. How would a thick dough affect bubbles in icing? And what do you mean by "airbrush while doing the icing"? Are you talking about setting the wet icing on the airbrush compressor to break bubbles in it before you ice the cookies, or something else?

It has been over 2 years since I first posted this question. I don't find that I have many problems with bubbles anymore. I still get bubbles of course, I don't think you can always be free of bubbles. Now that I use the tipless bags, I just get my hands barely wet and roll the filled bag between my hands for a little bit and that seems to push the bubbles out the top. I have also found that a good flood consistency, where the icing runs off the stir paddle like a ribbon, allows the bubbles to rise and escape easily. Practice makes everything easier and better! I love hearing everyones experiences and solutions. 

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