The crowd is around you, the ferris wheel makes it round, as you spend a fun-filled night at the fair. But the night would not be complete without that sweet melt-in-your-mouth confection we call cotton candy. As you enjoy your cotton candy have you ever wondered how it is so light and fluffy? Cotton candy is spun into strands after sugar composition is melted. Cardboard tubes are used to collect these strands or they can be bundled together to form a large mass. To begin the manufacture of this sweet confection sugar is solid and in granules. The sugar is melted and granules become mixed making a thick syrup. Next in the process, syrup is spun out making thin strands that harden. After this process the strands are collected with a cone. The strands are not packed in tightly causing air to get tapped between the strands resulting in increased volume. Increasing the volume makes the cotton candy light and fluffy.
Floss sugar is the kind of sugar used to make cotton candy and is extracted from sugar cane. To make cotton candy with a machine in a manufacturing plant, sugar granules are made into strands, these strands are pulled on a conveyor belt then transferred in a container for sizing. In this container, the strands are put together to form a bundle. To get flavor and color into the cotton candy dyes and flavors must added. Dyes must be added to give the cotton candy color. Normal dyes for cotton candy or Red dye #40, Yellow dye #5, Yellow dye #6, and Blue dye #1. Using these dyes cotton candy can be almost any color you want it to be. Cotton candy is made in many different flavors. In order to attain these flavors artificial and natural flavors are used.
To make cotton candy in a machine, first solid sugar is put into a steel hopper. The hopper is tapered at the bottom which allows the sugar to funnel into the extruder. An extruder is a metal cylinder that heats and rotates. It also has holes around its side. When the sugar comes into the extruder, it is melted and becomes a molten liquid. The extruder begins to spin throwing stands of the liquid sugar out of the holes in different directions. These stands then exit the extruder and the sugar cools to create solid strands. After this process, the strands end up in a large circular pan around the extruder. To prevent sticking together of the strands moisture is minimized during this stage.
To shape the cotton candy, the strands or then pulled onto a conveyor belt and moved into a sizing container. In the sizing container, the bundle is formed into shape by rollers that are on top and sides of the belt. Cotton candy can stick to the rollers so to avoid this they are most often coated with Teflon a non-stick substance. Exiting the sizing container cotton candy is the shape of a block.
After shaping is complete, candy is transferred to a knife blade and cut into segments of a certain length. This knife is vertically above the conveyor, and as candy goes through it slides down and is cut. After the cotton candy is cut, the knife pulls away. And segmented candy is moved along on a conveyor and passed under another roller to help keeps its shape and avoid sticking. The cotton candy then goes to the packaging machine.
To be able to remove the cotton candy from the machine will take practice. The best way to achieve this is by taking a cotton candy cone which is made of paper and rub the end that’s open lightly against a wet sponge or cloth. Position the cone so that the pointed end is in your hand. Place the cone into the bundle of cotton candy and move it back and forth. Do this until the candy strands adhere to the cone. Lift it from the pan and twirl until you have a ring of cotton candy on the cone. The next time you at the fair and get some cotton candy to enjoy you will know how it is produced and why it is so light and fluffy. The next time you have the opportunity to eat this sweet confection enjoy it as it melts away in your mouth.