Gingerbread Construction Dough

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Baking Time

20-25 minutes




Sift flours together to blend, set aside:

  • 12 cups Pastry Flour

Combine spices, set aside:

  • 2 Tbsp. ground Ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. ground Cloves
  • 2 tsp. ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Combine in another bowl. Set aside:

  • ⅔ cups Lemon Juice
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 2 Egg Yolks beaten

Melt over medium heat:

  • ½ cup Butter
  • 1 ⅓ cups Honey
  • 3 ⅓ cups Sugar


“Gingerbread Construction Dough (also known as oven-plywood)

Stir until butter and honey are melted and then add sugar. Continue to combine – the sugar does not need to dissolve. Remove from heat.

While butter/honey/sugar mixture is sill warm, place in mixer bowl, add lemon juice/egg mixture. Mix until well blended using paddle attachment. Slowly add the flour and spice mixtures. Dough will be sticky at first, and then becomes very stiff as you continue adding the flours. Knead the dough until it makes a smooth ball. Keep the finished dough at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap. The dough is very difficult to roll if it becomes cool/cold. If the dough cools down, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and microwave 15 – 30 seconds at a time. This re-heats the honey slightly and makes it easier to handle.

Dust the rolling surface and rolling pin, roll to desired thickness. Cut pieces and bake at 350 degrees for 15 min for ¼”” thick, 20 – 25 min for 3/8″” thick. Check pieces – different sizes may need different settings.

Tips for Rolling, Cutting and Baking Construction Gingerbread

Use a rolling pin with rings so that the dough is all the same thickness.

Lightly wipe the er with water then spread a sheet of aluminum foil down (the water keeps the foil from moving). Roll dough directly on foil – place on baking pan and cut pieces. this prevents the pieces from becoming misshapen as they are being moved to the baking sheet.

To make melted candy windows, allow the piece to cool completely. Lay on sheet pan on top of a piece of lightly greased foil. Fill window with crushed candy pieces (Jolly Ranchers work really well). Place back in the oven and heat only until candies melt and fill corners (use a toothpick if necessary). If you use different colors in a window, you can swirl them while
it’s hot. Let the candy harden. Remove foil from back.

Larger structure/support pieces should be rolled 3/8″”. Pieces that are not support can be rolled ¼”” or thinner.

Dough rolled paper-thin must be watched closely while in the oven – maybe 5 min. Thin dough can be used for shingles.

Use a small cutter.

Anytime BEFORE you apply any royal icing, if a piece is not completely dry or you see that it is slowly bending out of shape at room temperature, PUT IT BACK IN THE OVEN at 250 – 300 degrees. Pieces that are draped over a mold may need to be set at 200 for about 45 min – 1 hr. They MUST be completely baked or they will cave-in. The low temp will dry, but not brown the surface.

DO NOT REFRIGERATE THIS DOUGH. It is tough and dense so must be warm to knead and roll. Your hands and arms will thank you.

Reasoning behind the ingredients

Pastry Flour: low gluten (protein) content which makes the dough more dense. Kneading develops the gluten.

Honey: does not soften after baking like molasses does, if baked completely. In fact, it hardens. It is a primary binding agent.

Spices: create the darker gingerbread color in place of the molasses.

Eggs: the yolks and small amount of whites are binding agents and add moisture.

Leavening Agents: All leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda, excessive egg whites) have been eliminated. This greatly reduces the amount of spreading or rising as the dough bakes.

Butter (fat): is minimal to prevent too much spreading, but provides moisture.

Lemon Juice: is additional moisture. It enhances flavor, as does the salt.


This is the recipe that Bronwen Weber and Jennifer Bartos used for their award winning Food Network Gingerbread Incredible Edible Mansion Challenge. The recipe was modified from Deni’s very popular gingerbread recipe. It makes an excellent, stiff gingerbread dough. It is NOT your basic gingerbread dough – it is meant for construction – not really eating (all ingredients are edible, it is just not a great flavor). This recipe is a bit of work unless you have a big commercial mixer. If you don’t, divide the recipe in thirds to make in a regular Kitchen Aid mixer. You can make it by hand – it just takes a bit of time and kneading – you won’t need to go to the gym the day that you make it!


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