Author Topic: SUGAR BRICKS  (Read 10847 times)

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Offline riverbee

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SUGAR BRICKS
« on: November 02, 2016, 10:12:22 pm »
i promised neil i would post a sugar brick recipe i recently tried.  i am not sure where i found this.......somewhere on the net.  it beats mixing up fondant  and is rather simple. i have tried all sorts of methods for winter feed on the bees, fondant, winter patties, and a microwave sugar recipe.
mixing and messing with fondant is time consuming. winter patties ordered from my bee supplier is convenient, but can be expensive. the microwave recipe works good, but not for 5 hives. i had a number of 10 pd bags of sugar leftover from last year just waiting for an experiment............ :D

one observation over the years using sugar in any form to feed bees during winter months, i think the bees tend to drag crystals out the front door if the sugar is not in a 'solid state'.  yes, sometimes they don't need it and drag out and they can chew and drag it out, but i see less 'waste' on the bottom board or out the front door if the feed is in a more solid brick/patty, etc.  i have posted two recipes.

the original recipe i knabbed somewhere off the net:
1st recipe:
BRICK SUGAR RECIPE #1

small batch:

1 lb. cane sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt  (sea salt has natural occuring vitiamins and minerals, not sure if needed, but gave it a whirl)
1 1/2 oz. water
1 drop of lemon grass oil or whatever.......HBH...........or no essential oil, just skip the essential oil part.
   • mix sugar with the sea salt and set aside.
   • in a blender mix water and lemon grass oil on low for 4 to 5 minutes.
   • add water and oil mixture to sugar and salt mixing well.
   • press mixture evenly into a wax paper lined small cake pan.
   • cut into squares while still soft.
   • set aside and allow to harden.
       
large batch:
5Lbs. cane sugar
7 1/2 oz. water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 drops lemon grass oil, HBH, or just skip this
   • mix sugar with salt and set aside.
   • in a blender mix water and lemon grass oil on low for 4 to 5 minutes.
   • add water and oil mixture to sugar and salt mixing well.
   • press mixture into a wax paper lined 13″ x 9″ x 1/2″ cookie sheet.
   • cut into squares while still soft.
   • set aside and allow to harden.

here's how i did this. first off, not sure the essential oils/sea salt is necessary.  i just added it anyway.  bees like feed of any nature when they need it.
i did the large batch for 5 hives. i used a large cookie sheet, and a sheet cake aluminum pan you can buy from the grocery store........i liked this better.
one batch of the large goes into the cookie sheet, and two separate mixes of the large batch went into the aluminum cake pan.

i mixed the whole mess up with a kitchen aid (makes for quick work), (and did use the blender for the lemon grass oil/water).  dumped the sugar mix into the pans lined with wax paper (don't do it without the wax paper) and flattened out with a rolling pin.  cut slices.  do this before the sugar hardens or you will be sorry you didn't............. :D

i put both pans in the oven at 170 d F, for about 6 hours. it wasn't enough. (the objective here is to dry out the water from the sugar so that the brick doesn't crack, break or crumble).  i left in oven overnight with just the oven light on.  this worked for the smaller cookie sheet, but not for the large sheet cake pan......this is about 1 and 1/2 inches thick? i put back in the oven just with the oven light on overnight........not dried/hardened, so i left the pan out for several days. (had the time and experiment).  once the sugar is completely hardened the slices can be lifted out.  (might have to slice again with a thin sharp knife to cut through the original slice and wax paper).

i think one can use the smaller weber aluminum grill pans, pie tins or even better paper plates.  just pile your mix on, and let dry in the oven either with some low heat for a number of hours or in the oven with just the light on. 

BRICK SUGAR RECIPE #2

a beek friend of mine uses a sugar recipe mix of 12 pounds of sugar to one cup of water. he mixes it up with or without essential oils, piles the sugar mix on pie tins/paper plates; forms/presses it down and leaves in the oven with the oven light on for 10-12 hours and the 'bricks' slide off the paper plates. 

i have not tried this yet.  again, i would guess it depends on how much sugar is in the tin/plate for the time to dry down so is easily slipped into a hive without breaking up and crumbling.   

hope this helps, and hope anyone who trys either of these methods will add to the thread..........!




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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 08:55:18 am »
I am ready to make sugar bricks!  I have my honey b healthy freshly purchased and think I might try Jen's method of adding back honey into the sugar brick.   I have some honey that I harvested from last year that came from brood boxes.  I realized afterwards those frames had probably been exposed to mite treatments. So I have been saving it to feed back to the bees.
Not to get off subject... :o
I grew a bunch of lemongrass this year and wondered how to extract liquid from the stalks.  The only thing I can think of is grinding or pulverizing like sorghum.  I don't have a way to do that, soooo suggestions would be welcomed.

Offline Jen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 11:56:19 pm »
Thanks River  :) 

Baker, I'm liking this recipe as well, and will add some honey too. I like the fact that this recipe will not be at boiling point which is kinda dangerous. I will be adding my own Honey Be Healthy too. I'm wondering can this recipe be made now, and then put into the freezer for use in December?

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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 02:55:53 am »


Baker, I'm liking this recipe as well, and will add some honey too. I like the fact that this recipe will not be at boiling point which is kinda dangerous. I will be adding my own Honey Be Healthy too. I'm wondering can this recipe be made now, and then put into the freezer for use in December?

I think it will take longer in the oven as you will be adding more moisture.

river, is the blender really necessary for mixing lemon grass oil and water?

Offline riverbee

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2016, 07:12:33 pm »
bakers~
let us know when ya figure out how to extract the lemongrass oil...........i googled it...... :D

jen~ the recipe can be made now; not sure of the need to freeze really because sugar doesn't go bad, it just hardens even more; just place in zippies in a cool dark place? (after they have hardened).  mine might go in the freezer as well, or i will just store in garage until needed.  my garage works for me, (unheated) not much room in the freezer.  extracts/oils do have a limited shelf life, but so very little in this recipe.  i would think, the bricks stored in a cool dry place you would be good?  i made mine sometime ago. when dried and hardened, placed in zippies; they have been stored in my garage since.  i just opened a couple today (out of the zippies) smell great! nice bricks! will be able to slip these in quickly without falling apart.

make sure they are dry before placing in the zippies and if you do, leave the zippies open until they are dry and hardened. 

i read this, does this make sense?........... :D

bakers~ the blender........
extract oil and water seem not mix well, (HBH probably no problem ?) i tried a hand mixer and then resorted to the blender.  not sure what the heck the blender does, but at 4 or 5 minutes seemed that the lemongrass oil mixed well and wasn't floating around on the top or as if not mixed in.

one drawback........if your blender is not glass, i discovered it stained it................AND my husband went to use it a week later and asked me if i had been drinking margaritas all day.......... :D :D :D

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Offline CBT

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 08:09:27 pm »
I would like to try to make a cake with no water just honey, sugar honey bee healthy with no cooking.

Any  thoughts.

Back when I used to make HBH the glass blender emulsified the lecithin, and oils breaking them down to the point they won't separate.

Like the Brick #2 recipe. I'll let the honey be the liquid. I like the oven light. We use it to make yogurt.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2016, 09:03:40 pm »
I thought I would share my experience making sugar bricks this weekend.  My first attempt was Riverbee's Recipe #1 Large Batch.  I pressed the sugar into pie tins.  All was fine, except for my crummy oven, and I set the smoke detector  off when they burned. My oven needs work.  It doesn't hold a steady temperature.  So, wanting to get some sugar bricks on the hives out in the country, I tried Riverbee's Recipe #2.  I adapted the recipe and used 4# of sugar, 1/3 cup water, 5 drops of Honey B Healthy and drizzled a little of my girl's own honey in as well.  I pressed my 2nd attempt into pie tins and barely turned the oven on.  This time I kept a close eye on the oven, used an oven thermometer, and propped the door open when it got too hot.  After about an hour or two, I shut the oven off and left them there to dry further and cool off over night.  Perfecto! 
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2016, 11:35:32 pm »
Bakers;
    I stick a spoon or something to keep the oven door cracked open. Set it to 200 for an hour or so, then just shut it off and let everything cool overnight..
   The idea is to make it hot enough to evaporate the moisture.
  Glad to hear the second attempt worked!
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Offline riverbee

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2016, 11:41:10 pm »
bakers, thanks, does the HBH mix well, or did you use a blender like cbt mentioned to 'emulsify'?
i have used HBH in sugar syrup, but not sugar bricks, thanks in advance. did i make sense with my question? the lemon grass oil does not mix well so therefore the blender and my husband asking if i had been drinking margaritas when he took it out to use it...lol.....

i am getting ready to prepare a 2nd batch of sugar bricks, a just in case thing. my hives are still pretty heavy and have the 1st round of sugar bricks on in the shim. i might try your adaptation of recipe #2.

we have a newer kitchen aid oven, it did very well with temp at 170 d F for 6 hrs or so, and drying overnight with the light on.  my one batch of bricks were pretty thick, and i became impatient with having them in the oven (so as not to turn it on, forgetting they were in there and start the place on fire), so moved them out to dry just sitting out. i just kept the thicker bricks (formed in sheet cake aluminum) out for several days. recut the squares when i thought they were dry, and set them out on paper plates lined with wax paper to dry out even more.  i did this because i do not like trying to shove sugar bricks in a hive if they are crumbled in cold or very cold weather.  i want these bricks solid so i don't have to stress or mess with crumbling sugar trying to shove them quickly into a hive at temps below 40 d F. get in, get out.  i wanted these bricks in one piece, and they are.

also, i thought i would try using dixie brand/generic paper bowls (20 ounce) to pile the mixture in, press down even with the top, dry them out. when dried, these should flip out quite easily without breaking.  i can probably slip into the hive as i did with the original squares, just no cutting from a sheet and no wax paper. 

here are some pix i meant to post. these are the thicker bricks, (1 3/4 "  or more) once i dried out and cut, placed them on paper plates (to carry to the hive) placed in zippies and stored in paper box lids:





then i discovered i have a place to dry sugar bricks out and also store them, it will probably hold about 22 bricks or more, either to dry down or store.
don't complain about your oven bakers.........lol!
this is an old windsor desoto we have in the old farmhouse:


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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 08:34:36 am »
riverbee, I used my antique Sunbeam mixmaster mixer with original glass bowl.  4# of sugar is about the limit the bowl will hold.  The mix fit nicely into 4 pie tins about 3/4 inch thick.
I first added the water and HBH.  Not much mixing was required.  At least, I didn't do it.  Then I added the sugar.  I had to beat and scrape the sides of the bowl.  The honey was an after thought.  Next time I will add it with the water and HBH.  I bet I can incorporate more honey into the mix that way.  I beat until the mixture was equally moistened. 

I left the cakes in the pie tins until I reached the hives.  No crumbling.  I did notice the aroma of the HBH dissipated a little in the baking process.  I could still smell the HBH, as I drove, with the bricks in the trunk.  A bee picked up on the scent of the sack I had the tins in and tried to come home with me in the sack.

20 oz bowls sound pretty deep.  Will your shims accommodate something that deep?  I liked the idea of no cutting.  That's why I used the pie tins, which I had a bunch of old ones in the cupboard.  Also, I wanted to be able to install the bricks the next day and thought about 3/4 inch thick would be faster drying.  The weather was in the low 60s.  The next day the temperature dropped closer to normal.

Love that oven, river!  Does it work? 

Offline riverbee

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 02:57:26 am »
thanks bakers!

gotta love the mixmasters!  i am not sure what ours holds, it's a newer one, but i think about the same... 4 lbs? it sure 'beats' mixing this stuff up in a big bowl without it.  i might try the hbh, and i might try mixing some honey in the next batch. 

the 20 ounce bowls!  yes, i did think about whether the volume of a sugar brick of these would fit!..............my feeding shims/rims are about 2" deep.  these bowls are perfect. the depth?   to the top of the bowl, probably 1 3/4" -2", and the diameter about 6".  i wouldn't have to fill to the top. just fill to desired depth, no cutting!

the desoto?  (oven).........i am not sure if it works.......lol!  it's sort of an antique 'decoration' or conversation piece!  not even sure if i know how to work the thing!!!
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Offline Jen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 12:29:42 pm »
River and Baker ~ I don't have a mixmaster or kitchenaide. But I do have a good quality hand mixer that can mix as slowly as I want it to... would that work with #4 of sugar?
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 02:59:56 pm »
I am sure it will.  It didn't really take that long either (thinking of your arm getting tired).   :)
My mixer was my grandmothers.  If it can do the job, a modern hand mixer should do the trick.

Offline Barbarian

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 04:18:07 pm »
This week I made some winter candy blocks from an old recipe.

By weight. 1 part water and 5 parts sugar.
Bring the water to boil then add the sugar. Whilst stirring continue heating until the sugar dissolves and the solution boils.
Boil for 2 minutes then test the solution by putting a little on a cold plate. If the cooled sample is sticky then boil a bit more. When a test sample is plastic go to the next stage.
Put the pot in a bowl/sink of cold water and stir the syrup vigorously.
When the solution starts to thicken, pour into some containers.  Allow to set and cool.

If I find a hive light when hefting, I will put a candy block over the open hole in the inner cover.
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Offline Jen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 05:30:28 pm »
Baker... Boy! that mixer could tell some stories  ;)  I would love to have one just like that. As a matter of fact, I try and find my smaller appliances at thrift shops now. The last blender I bought at Walmart was a cheap mess. I tossed it into the garbage and went to three thrift shops here in town and found an awesome Waring Solid State blender for $5. Purrs like a kitten, doesn't walk all over the counter and has a heavy glass pitcher. Ba Da Bing Baby!
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 08:05:14 pm »
Jen, I know what you mean.  Stuff today is just cheap plastic.  When I spot glass milk bowls that go with this mixer at thrift stores, I almost always buy them.  Glass gets brittle with age, kids break them, you know the rest.  I am on my second set of beaters.   There is an appliance store that stocks parts for all kinds of appliances.  If they don't have it, they will order it.  I ordered my beaters there and it took at least 3 months for my beaters to come in.   ???

Offline neillsayers

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2016, 08:17:23 pm »
RB,
When you first posted this I copied and pasted it into a wp program.

I just realized I never got back to the thread and thanked you for it.

Thanks! :)
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Offline Jen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2016, 10:17:53 pm »
Baker, my fav find is anything vintage Fire King, now there is a kitchen ware that really holds up.
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Offline riverbee

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2016, 11:50:01 pm »
neil, you are welcome! 

jen, about the hand mixer.......lol, slower speed i would guess! it should work!  like bakers said, i would think if mixing by hand, your arm would get a little on the tired side, the mixture....... it's just making sure the water and whatever you add is evenly distributed into the sugar. 

thats a great old sunbeam mixer bakers!!! 
the kitchen aid we have now has 3 different types of 'mixers/beaters', and the bowls are stainless.  i lent my mother mine from 30 years ago,(i think it was a sunbeam? haven't seen it since......... :)  had to get another.........amazing how many kitchen implements one collects just to make life simple in keeping bees! mixing syrup, candle making, sugar bricks............etc!

bakers, i was looking at these 20 oz bowls again, i think they will work! will let you know! beats cutting slices in a sheet and/or using pie tins. might have to not fill them so full, just enough to fit in the feeding rim/shim. 
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Offline Jen

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Re: SUGAR BRICKS
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 12:13:15 am »
River and Baker, I'm following along with your conversation regarding bowls and how tall to make the bricks. Can you please explain a little more about what you guys are pouring the sugar mixture into to get it to set overnight?

And how does it beat pie tins? Thanks
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