My first few batches of MMF were perfect, which was totally shocking since I had no clue what I was doing. I got all confident on my next batch, and thought I could use it without refrigerating it first. Boy, that was a mistake. It shredded to no end and was lumpy with PS clumps - the cake was a trainwreck.
The recipe I've been using is to melt 1lb MM with 2 TBS water in microwave; add 2lb PS, grease hands and counter with crisco. Knead til pliable (about 8 minutes), grease outside of ball with crisco, cover w/plastic wrap and put in ziploc; refrigerate at least 24 hours. I've not had any issues with lumps or shredding as long as I stick in the fridge for the 24 hours. In fact, I'm shocked at how reliable this recipe is.
Without knowing how you make your MMF, are you kneading it long enough? Are you using pure cane sugar PS? I've heard that PS made from sugar beets and other substitutes doesn't work as well...just a thought.
I always sift my powdered sugar, no matter what grade. I now always just use inexpensive sugar from the bulk store- so I do sift that for sure. I have no problems with clumps. With the recipe I use you can use it after letting it rest for one hour or refrigerate overnight. The recipe is similar to Kim's but mine has Clear corn syrup in it which makes it very pliable.
Just another hint Sandy...hope it is of help.
I never refrigerate my mmf. I always just leave it on the counter. I found that if I use my kitchen aid mixer I get clumps. If I kneed it by hand I don't get clumps. I also kneed in quite a but of crisco to my MMF. It seems to work better for me the next day. Some people even use their MMF right away. i find this will work in an emergency but if you can leave it over night it is better.
MMF is very frustrating! One minute you love it and you can't see why anyone would ever buy their fondant and the next minute you swearing to yourself that you will never make your own again! LOL (until financial reality sets in of course! LOL) Also Walmart's crisco still has trans fats so it seems to be smoother and easier to work with. Not sure if that can affect the MMF but it sure does effect the BC.
There was a discussion here a few weeks ago regarding the PS balls on MMF. (Tried to find it but I couldn't locate the discussion). I don't make MMF but I seem to recall that the conclusion was either the brand of PS or a change in the humidity. Be sure to let your fondant rest before you use it - overnight if possible.
FYI - This won't have any effect on your fondant but the Walmart shortening has more air whipped into than some other generic or store brands. The extra air may cause bubbles if you use it in buttercream.
I almost always make my own MMF. I use the same recipe as Kim. The taste is much better and it's so much more economical! Especially when I use the 7 lb. bags of PS from Sam's. Sifting is a must, and I always let mine rest in the refrigerator overnight before using it (take it out at least 2 hours before you try to use it though or it is a LOT tougher to knead)! I will sometimes notice the PS balls in the fondant when I'm kneading it, but find if I just keep working it they will work themselves out. Also - add your PS slowly, not all at once. I use a wooden spoon to get as much of the PS worked in as I can in the bowl, then turn it out into the remaining PS on the counter and work it in slowly - almost like making biscuits. I also don't scrape my bowl, but let any stuff that is stuck to the sides stay in there as it tends to be too stiff to work in. Good luck!
you can also microwave your MMF for 5 seconds at a time until it becomes more pliable.
If your MMF gets dry you can kneed in more crsico and then microwave it for 5 seconds knead in more crisco and then microwave. You continue this until the fondant becomes the consistency you want it. It can take a long time but it's better than having elephant skin fondant. :)
Also you should use cornstarch to roll it out. Powdered sugar makes it to dry and Crisco makes it to soft.
I've had that problem too, when I got to investigating more I found my ps to be slightly lumpy. Now i sift it before making the fondant. It gets the lumps out. Some of the ps I buy doesn't have them so i'm guessing its a manufacturing prob? Anyone else have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear them too