Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Make Salt Dough

Here's one of my latest videos. I really like making salt clay, you probably will tell.

How to Make Salt Dough

Salt Dough is a fun and easy recipe for a flexible playdough that promises lots of frugal fun for your family. Young and old will enjoy letting their creative juices flow with this art medium that you can make in your kitchen with little or no equipment.

As a child, I spent lots of time playing with plasticine and playdough. I would spend hours learning to mold flowers and roses and people and faces. Today these skills have developed a lot, as I keep improving on modeling with my bare fingers.

My mother disliked the oily and smelly plasticines. I enjoyed playdough, but it dried up easily and when dried, was not attractive and could not be kept as a decoration. Playdough and other commercial art mediums for children are so expensive. I would not spend the money on branded clays to spend my leisure time playing on and experimenting on.
This salt dough is both air-drying and oven-drying. It is child-safe, and very much edible, though not tasty. On hot days, I leave it by the windowsill, or on the barbecue grill to dry by itself. Usually with the tiny projects I make, I can put the tray in to bake while the oven cools after making, saving and making the most out of electricity. For large projects like bowls or vases, it will have to be baked at low heat (100-160 Celsius) for many hours.

This salt dough can be colored with food colorings, or painted over when dry. It can be kept in an airtight container, or cling-wrapped, to be played over and over again. Once your creation is completely dried, you will want to varnish it over with inexpensive clear or wood varnish, because I find that weevils love to burrow and eat up my creations. The varnish will also protect your keepsakes from humidity. You can repel insects by mixing in strong-smelling powdered herbs, like rosemary or cinnamon, in the salt dough. These can serve as sweet-smelling ornaments for your home.

You can measure the ingredients in plastic cups and have the kids help out. Make small amounts first, using a dinner spoon to measure the ingredients.

You will need:
1 part water -- plain water will do.
1 part salt -- the finer ground is best. Use the cheapest table salt you can find.
2 parts flour -- this is a rough measurement, so keep extra flour and water handy to get the right consistency because humidity and the age of the flour really can affect its properties. Use the cheapest and unhealthiest white flour you can find. Add in powdered herbs as you want, replacing part of the flour if you want. Using some high-gluten flour like high-protein will make your dough stretchier -- you may need more gluten if you are replacing large amounts of flour with powdered herbs.


An aluminum or silicone baking tray (somehow I spoilt some non-stick trays with this dough)
A bowl and spoon for mixing the dough
Play mat -- I use a large flat plastic mat for all rolling, shaping, and cutting. It's food safe, so I use kitchen utensils.
A dough scraper and cutter -- plastic is safest
A rolling pin.
Flour for sprinkling to keep dough from sticking.
A tea infuser works great for sprinkling flour.
Cookie cutters, clay tools, molds, etc. are all optional -- use your creativity here and try experimenting to make different textures.
A toaster oven or hair-dryer. My little toaster oven works great to quickly harden loaves of bread that I want to cut so that it stays in shape, strips of "bone" I want to harden before adding the meat, etc.

One lady called me the "Rose" girl. That's true. I'm a big fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum, and besides that I dream of making clay/fondant/chocolate roses that are unique and perfect. I want each of my roses to have a character uniquely own, yet be unmistakably a rose. I'm a rose-perfectionist and I will squish the clay many, many times because the rose petals are not up to standard. I think I got the trick a little better now, that is, in arranging the petals to gradually lower them as I reach away from the center and not to make center and outer petals equally tall. The clay has to be just the right consistency, because I shape each petal in the palm of my hand. They are so sweet... and they smell sweet because there's cinnamon in the dough. It takes so much time to make one roses, each rose can be cupped in the palm of your hand.

On a lighter side, pizza! Trying, trying to imitate peperoni pizza. Is it working?

1 comment:

  1. That imitation pepperoni pizza looks good enough to eat. CUTE!!! I love your roses.