How Edible Paper is Made
Also known as “wafer paper,” rice paper is a traditional form of edible paper first popularized in Asia. Unlike icing sheets, which are another form of edible paper, rice paper can be used in savory recipes, such as spring rolls as well as confectionary craft projects.
The art of using rice paper and other delicate foods, such as phyllo dough, is part of the curriculum taught to those studying to become a pastry chef.
Things You’ll Need
- Rice Flour (1 cup)
- Oversized Stockpot
- Quilting Hoop
- Rolling Pin
- Cooling Rack
1. Pour a cup of rice flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in just enough water to form a smooth paste.
2. Tighten cheesecloth over the quilting hoop.
3. Fill the stockpot half-full with water and bring to a boil.
4. Place the cheesecloth-covered quilting hoop over the top of the stockpot.
5. Spread the rice flour paste over the cheesecloth using a spatula. Smooth it into a thin layer.
6. Cover the stockpot with a lid. Let the mixture steam for a few minutes.
7. Carefully remove the lid from the stockpot along with the quilting hoop.
8. Roll the steamed rice paper with a rolling pin.
9. Using the rolling pin, unroll the steamed rice paper onto a cooling rack.
10. Let the rice paper cool for at least 12 hours before using.
Printing on Rice Paper
Once the rice paper has cooled, you can use it to make a wide variety of edible art. One of the most popular art projects for rice paper is edible printing – printing an image on rice paper to create your own personalized photo cakes, cookies or cupcakes. This process allows you to create an edible masterpiece even without a formal education in art.
Edible ink printing requires an inkjet or bubblejet printer (not a laser printer) along with edible ink, which you can find at most arts and crafts stores. Edible ink is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; however, it’s important to thoroughly clean your printer before inserting an edible ink cartridge to avoid contamination. Be sure that your hands are dry when loading the rice paper into the printer so that the paper doesn’t stick to your hands and break.
Once a printed piece of rice paper is laid on top of a cookie, cake or cupcake, the paper itself dissolves, leaving the photo impression on the icing. The icing should be slightly moist so the rice paper sticks to the cake and absorbs the image. The most popular images printed on rice paper include photos of people, flowers and nature images.
The thin, delicate texture of rice paper lends itself to replicating shapes such as flowers and butterflies. Those who are especially skilled might also want to try sculpting tied ribbons or origami cranes from rice paper. All of these shapes make beautiful cake toppers – just be sure to fold the paper into the shapes prior to letting it cool.
Cake Central (2012)