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24 Karat Edible Gold Leaf - A Beginners Guide

Slofoodgroup Team January 19, 2020

A Beginners Guide To Working With 24 Karat Edible Gold and Other Metal Foils 

So you got your first order of edible gold leaf and you are ready to rip the package open and start using it...wait! Please read this article first. There are several things we would like to share to help you get the most out of your gold leaf purchase.

This gold leaf guide is intended to help you choose, and enjoy your gold leafing experience. Whether you buy your gold leaf from Slofoodgroup or some other gold vendor, we're here to help.

Choosing the right type of gold leaf 

Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? Well, the truth is there are a lot of options out there when it comes to gold leaf.  The most important aspect, as with anything, is safety.  Make sure your gold leaf is edible. Edible gold leaf must be 22-24 karats. This is a purity level that is safe to consume. If you are working in a Kosher kitchen or have Kosher clients, we have you covered.  Both our edible gold and silver are Kosher certified by EarthKosher.

Next, you literally have to choose what is the right type of gold leaf for you

Choosing the right type of gold leaf for your project

Gold leaf comes in many different types. Choosing the correct type of gold leaf for your intended application will make a world of difference in your end result and overall satisfaction. When choosing the type of edible gold you wish to use, always consider, how you plan to use your gold leaf.  Do you want to cover a surface area such a large cake or simply plan to use in small garnishment pieces that are sporadically placed on your chocolate desserts or other creations? Below we have listed a brief explanation of the types of gold leaf.  

Types of gold leaf

Here is a list of serval common types of gold leaf that can be found worldwide for both edible art and gilding craft purposes.

Loose-leaf gold - this is gold leaf sheets that are loosely laid inside of a book ranging from 10 pages to 25 pages and ideally for small garnishing and accenting of dessert pieces.  Loose-leaf gold is extremely fragile, delicate and can crumple over when working with it if you breathe directly on or even near the product.  If you are a heavy breather, we recommend wearing a mask. When working with loose leaf gold it is important to have patience. Gold is a conductive metal so static electricity can also cause gold to stick to unwanted places.  You will face some challenges but this is normal.  Remember working with gold is a craft and technique.  It takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it things will be fine.

Soft press transfer gold leaf - a happy medium for those who like the freedom of semi-loose leaf individually placed between layers of transfer paper.  Soft press transfer gold is ideal for covering small to large surface areas such as soft serve, enrobing chocolate, and other quite delicate pieces. The gold leaf is lightly attached to the transfer paper, making it a touch easier to work with than loose leaf gold, depending on your intended use.

Hard press transfer gold leaf - firmly attached to transfer paper, this gold leaf that has been applied to a sheet of transfer backing by mechanical force for a period of at least ten hours. The gold is "firmly" attached to the transfer paper making it easy to move from its book. The great thing about hard press transfer gold is the ability to be transferred to another surface area safely and applying to the intended medium by pressing and lightly rubbing the back surface area of the transfer sheet. Hard press transfer gold is not suited for all gold leaf applications and is primarily used for large surface areas and arts and craft projects such as furniture and woodworking.  

The best part about working with edible gold leaf 

After all the fuss, the gold that got everywhere, and the panic when you think you might not have got it right, what is left is smiles on everyone's faces when they see what you have created. You might not get it exactly right the first time, but that edible gold leaf sure does look good and that in itself is enough reason to give it another try.