Here's my mental notes. I am sure some are wrong.
Will post pics and vids later.
day 1, demos with chef Amanda Haba and Chef Briea Nathan
of Albert Uster.
- they used convection oven. no mention of leaving door
open a crack or anything like that.
- Chef Haba tried lots of recipes, had lots of failures.
Kind of reassuring, actually.
Like this recipe she gave, almost fool proof. Somebody mentioned
PH. Supposedly, somebody who has worked in PH's shop said
he does not use the recipe in 'Patisserie'
nor the one in 'Macaron'
- Asked about whites. Chef Haba said she will take out whites
morning of (rather than days before or week before)
- making of italian meringue - Incorporation was slow,
mixer speed was medium or so (not high). vs. Fast incorporation
and high RPM. At one point, felt bowl was too cold, used torch
to heat it up and correct, preventing syrup
from sticking to sides.
- To mix dry, used food processor instead of sifting technique.
- Chef Nathan likes to use a scraper to make Meringue/nut paste.
Better feel of dough, better control of process.
- Favor silpats over parchment.
- Piping Macaroon Dough - pipe, stop piping, circular motion,
finish going forward. Maybe not totally going forward, but think that way -
pulling backward gives unwanted peaks in dough. Chef Nathan
uses middle finger in off-piping hand to gauge distance from
silpat. Piping too close = no feet on macaroon.
- Albert Uster has a nice luster dust spray product
- with airbrushes, cocoa butter should go in at 95 F, which will come out
at 85. Going in hotter than 95 will result in runny airbrush
effect. Used an infrared reader to measure temperature, decreasing
messiness by a lot.
- when doing finger technique, temperature not as important
because finger will create temper
- Be sure to keep the airbrush warm - If you need to cool it,
do not put airbursh into the fridge along with jar.
- Immediately after airbrushing, wipe mold face down against
a paper towel to clean. This prevents cocoa butter
from getting into the chocolate (extra important for white chocolate).
- They did not go over tempering, they had tempered chocoalte available.
- Used standard ladle filling technique.
- In absence of vibrating table, used a more violent rocking technique to air out bubbles.
After filling, rocked hard back and forth, then turned mold 90 degrees asn
rocked hard back and forth. Much more active and noisy than
just rapping it against the table or tapping it a few times.
- After dumping, Chef nathan uses a scraping angle where you are pushing excess out
(vs pulling) with the spatula.
- We asked about tempered vs. non tempered chocolate. Chef Haba did
not feel strongly that you needed tempered chocolate to make ganache.
- their chocolate salted caramel recipe subbed ~10% milk for cream.
Chef Haba said for fat % reasons.
- They used immersion blender for all ganache
- when using jam/marmalade + ganache, jam/marmalade goes first.
- After piping, they wait for 24h for evaporation. This prevents
gap between ganache and bottom, better for shelf stability.
did not take extensive notes at capping or popping out stage.
thermometers - reinforced that IR thermometers are the way to go.
Going to get one on ebay for sure.
On overseeding the melt- Steve: It's above 80, it will melt.
Kerry - Immersion blender. Can strain if necessary (we strained
as immersion blender was in use and we were short on time).
On overfilling molds. Kerry - use finger to get out
On gaps after backing - Kerry: To prevent, vibrate more after backing.
Can repair in variety of ways.
On dipping: Jim (form Steve): Wicked 'hard', almost redipping
the piece, where surface tension helps pull off excess chocolate.
Much faster than vibrating it by hand or wicking just the very
bottom off, with no loss in finished product.
Chris: use cake cutter wire to scrape bottom of praline.
Kerry: Not necessary to use knife to scrape top of praline
(as I saw once on food network competition).
Fruit purees, my opinions. Steve brought 4 and we tried
them all. Frozen Raspberry puree and passion fruit were not superior
to a good frozen raspberry at whole foods or passion fruit concentrate
in chinatown. Cherry and mango were definitely superior to whole foods frozen equivalents,
For me, still not worth it for chocolate work, but possibly worth it for pastry work.
flavor preferences. Taste really subjective.
Example: mango bonbon that we made .
Susan loves it, Mary and I think alcohol is strong,
Chris and Jim hate it (too much mango).
For me, reminder of two things:
1. taste is subjective even among experienced chocolatiers
2. a reminder to pay attention to molding and shelling technique
since unlike taste, technique is universal. Kind of like
playing defense in basketball - even if offense is up and down,
defense is consistent.
- shelling, after dumping out excess chocolate
Uster Chefs liked to put mold face down to create a lip.
Some egullet'ers like it on side. Tried both ways. I felt lip makes things later
easier (piping, capping), but face down reduces margin of error on shelling.
I thought putting on side was safer overall, and did not create a pool
of chocolate on the bottom. Pluses and minuses of both.
- Tried out single-use polycarbonate use that has cocoa butter
print on the inside. Donated by Linnea's.
Mold is floppy, so hard to use. I did not have the skill to use it.
Did give a great marble effect though that was accidental.
It should've been hearts, instead it looked like realy nice marble.
Kerry figured out it was from chocolate melting the cocoa butter
and the vibration smearing it. Pictures are taken, will post.
- Did not like the smell of any of the oils except for mints.
- Events of day 1 was reminder that mis en place is much
more important in unfamiliar kitchen and with unfamilir equipment
and unfamiliar recipes. At home, everything is second nature and error correction
is easy. In new kitchen with new equipment, margins are much smaller.
- Jim and I struggled to make a wet caramel at the scale of Schott's
book. We quadrupled the recipe on Steve's suggestion.
In future, we would make dry caramel or quadruple recipe.
- Steve recommends a perpendicular angle when scraping into bowl
(different technique from the Uster chefs)
- For molds, Steve recommends piping at lower tempeatures approaching 80(chocolate melts at 80),
Mike seemed to like 85 or so. I tried lower temperatures and higher temperatures with
the same ganache this day and have to admit
I still like piping at 88-90 or so in a cool room.
Don't know what others's experiences are here.
- Learned a neat airbrush concept from Mike on white chocolate.
Idea was to use an ivory cocoa butter, which is just enough contrast
with white chocolate and gave it a really nice pop. I would
not have thought white-ish on white would work so well.
- Also learned a good reminder from Mike to pay more attention to temper
technique in a foreign kitchen. Technique and error correction that is second nature
and automatic in your own kitchen is not so in new kitchen.
- Tried both giant revolation temperer and mol d'art, still think Mol d'art is easier to use.
day 2 talk
- Steve had nice easy way to think of preservation from Wybauw.
Wybauw's ideal ganache is 1:1 choco:cream. Remove some cream, add butter, increase shelf life. now add glucose (invert), increase shelf life. You're at 4-6 weeks now.
Now add sorbitol, increase shelf life again. Now add alcohol, you can get up to a year.
Wybauw didn't run AW experiments, so is not a rigorous study. But nice qualitative way to undersatnd it.
- Somebody (forget who) objected a little, shelf life (safe) vs. shelf life (taste) are not the same.
- Steve showed Shott's taste combo table. Then pointed out rosemary+caramel
is not one Shotts lists as OK, but many people use it (Elbow I think?). So taste
is subjective. Chris mentions a book, the flavor bible (?), where author goes through
flavor combinations and say what worked.
- Talked about the importance of naming. Steve had a "bananas foster" that nobody would try. But we couldn't imagine that "banana" or "banana caramel" or "banana rum" would have problems. But they're similar things. Hypothesis was that 'bananas foster' is an old dessert that nobody has anymore and nobody is familiar with it.
- Gold leaf on molded pieces - from Kerry. INstead of carefully
unfolding and putting in mold, use static electricity to 'stick'
it to the top after unmolding.
- Fruit powder can be substituted for luster dust for color.
Flavor is strong enough to give flavor.
- discussion on coloring molded pieces. Erica wanted to change things up
but customers still think blue = lavender and red = raspberry.
Mixing up colors ends up confusing customers.
Many note that airbrushing really attracts customer, taste
is sometimes secondary. Reminiscent of classic dilemma in the arts of
'artist' vs 'practical'. Mention that molds can be used
to reveal insides - examples coffee bean molds, cherry mold, etc...
- Kerry mentions one chocolatier who distinguishes flavors
by 2 dots. Every single chocolate uses the same mold, just
the two dots difference. lame - o.
- discussion of whether you sell stuff you don't like.
Steve says no - it's part of his value added artisanal story.
Others (I missed who) says yes. Example (I think): doesn't like cardamom,
but for people in other parts of world, no alcohol, cardamom is
a more familiar spice, why not?
Edited by ejw50, 18 April 2010 - 09:29 PM.