How do you roll your fondant?

Ron started out in this business rolling all of his fondant by hand – he actually did this for 10 years.  Then his friend Buddy Valastro (yep – the Cake Boss himself!) got a new machine at his bakery.  A new fondant “sheeter” from a company called Somerset.  Ron would visit Buddy over at the bakery in New Jersey and play with his new fondant sheeter.  (He was very envious of Buddy’s new “toy”.)  Then Ron started doing demos for the RBA Conferences and met “Mr. Somerset” himself, Nick Meimaris.  Whenever Ron did a demo at the conference, he called up Nick and asked if he could use a sheeter to do his demonstrations.  In the fall of 2006, (and after saving a few thousand dollars) Ron bought his own sheeter for his bakery.  And a very strenuous part of his production process changed forever.

Ron's first rolling pins. He bought various lengths of PVC pipe in a plumbing store in Chinatown. The Granite counter tops that we have in the bakery were "leftovers" from a kitchen renovation that Ron was able to purchase from a stone vendor.

The results were instantaneous.  Ron was able to roll the fondant to 1/16th of an inch. (We still use this standard today.  No need to have thick fondant on a cake when this machine can handle the workload for you.)  Also, Injuries weren’t as prevalent, workman’s comp claims went down and the work got much faster. The other perks of having these machines, they are very easy to clean and have great safety features.

Our small sheeter that we use in the production room. This one sits on Ron's work table. (You can see the bigger one we use for fondanting our cakes in the window behind the little one.)

We now have three Somerset sheeters in three different sizes.  A small and medium sheeter in our production room that we use to roll out sugar paste for flower production and the large one we use in the kitchen to cover the cakes in fondant.

One of our artists, Julia working on some sugar flowers, the medium sheeter is behind her.

Because of the investment Ron made in his equipment, his bakery runs more productively.  Before, to cover a 9-inch round tier, rolling out the fondant and covering the cake, took about 10 minutes.  With our Somerset machine, our head chef said it takes about 30 seconds to roll out to 1/16th of an inch and about another minute and a half to cover the 9 inch tier.  So let’s do a little math – if you were covering ten, 9-inch tiers, the old way would have taken us approximately 90 minutes.  Now it takes about 18-20 minutes.  With the saving in time, our staff can now spend more time decorating and perfecting techniques.

Our largest sheeter in the kitchen, this is the one we use for fondant to cover all of our cakes.

Please keep in mind that I am not “plugging/endorsing” a particular product – I am coming at this from a business perspective.  We need the tools to able to do our jobs – efficiently , effectively and safely.  It’s amazing that one machine can accomplish so much in productivity.  In order to achieve a good product, you need to the tools to do so.  This is a great investment and one that has paid for itself. So, thank you “Saint Nick”, for putting a product out there that meets the high standards of many baking professionals.  I know that these are machines are used everyday and my staff really appreciates them.

Ron and "Saint" Nick Meimaris of Somerset. Thanks Nick for such a great product!!! (photo by Rob Northway for Christian Oth Photography)
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7 thoughts on “How do you roll your fondant?

  1. I wish I had one! I don’t mind the rolling so much, and like you, I try to stick to 1/16th of an inch as well for most cakes. It’s almost like there’s no fondant at all!

  2. We have had the big 30″ for going on two years but we still rolled our fondant too thick until I learned to use Italian meringue buttercream as the base. I had read that Ron used Swiss meringue buttercream (same product, different prep method) so I figured, “Why not?”. Taking a three day class in March with Ron at Custom Cakes in Savannah, I learned so much from Ron about how to get that great finish on the buttercream. Minette told me that she rolls her fondant at the number 2 position on the sheeter, perfect 1/16″. I had been using number 3. Once back in our bakery, I started using the thinner setting along with the tips Ron taught and my cakes have been exponentially better ever since. The only time it was not was when the client insisted on American buttercream. Bleck….never again! Italian meringue buttercream from now on, on all cakes.

    People tell me all of the time they hate fondant. We use Satin Ice and I tell them if they don’t like it, especially since it is so thin and we put a really thick layer of buttercream on the cake, they can peel the fondant off. I also ask them that if you eat a piece of grilled chicken or baked acorn squash, do you eat the bone or the skin of the chicken or squash? The Satin Ice tastes good, and it is not the whole eating experience, but it is the only way a decorated cake will leave our bakery. It is part of what makes a cake look professionally decorated.

    If you have the chance to take a class from Ron, do it. Don’t hesitate. You will learn SO much!

  3. I just wish you could get Somerset products in the UK 😦 However as per usual, the UK does not stock the best of pretty much anything to do with cake decorating! oh well, I’ll go back to rolling my fondant by hand…………………..is anyone feeling sorry for me yet?? 😉

  4. Im also in the uk and have been looking for a fondant sheeter iv looked at dough rollers however the rollers on them are ridged so would leave lines in your fondant. Does anyone know how much a smaller somerset fondant sheeter would cost in the uk??

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