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Chopping chocolate

Chocolate

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53 replies to this topic

#31 chefcyn

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 08:57 AM

Believe me, this is a very efficient way to chop chocolate with the most uniform pieces.  Smashing it with a rolling pin will produce an uneven product...


Smacking it with the rolling pin can also put dents in your rolling pin--even a good hardwood pin wil dent if hit just right.
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#32 jsolomon

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 09:10 AM

I've always melted the chocolate into a bust-mold of my nemesis, then I break it up with a baseball bat.

Saves on therapy sessions, too.
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#33 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 09:29 AM

I like the idea of the wrap and drop to break it down into smaller pieces.

I haven't chopped large blocks of chocolate in years, but when I was in cooking school, I used to kneel on a stool when I chopped chocolate. People used to laugh when I did that, but I'm on the short side, so the majority of counters aren't designed for people like me. By kneeling on a stool, I could use my upper body strength to bear down on the chocolate, which made chopping those large blocks much easier.
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#34 tammylc

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 07:21 PM

When I first started playing around with truffle making, I was using the Michel Cluizel pastilles. These are a dream to work with for making ganache, because there's no chopping required and all the pieces are the exact same size. But, the store where I buy them sells them for nearly $17/lb retail. Looks like I can get down to about $13/lb buying online in bulk, but then there's shipping too...

My other quibble with the Cluizel is that it's actually a little too high in cocoa butter, I think, as I was having a lot of cracking and leaking problems with my truffles, even when the centers were not too cold.

So I've been looking for alternatives. Right now I'm trying the E. Guittard wafers. These are fine for melting (although I have yet to try tempering any of it), but the wafers are not small enough for ganache making, so I'm stuck with the chopping thing again.

Are there tricks for easily chopping large quantities of chocolate and getting a consistent size so I don't end up with unmelted lumps in my ganache? Or is not chopping worth the extra money per pound to buy the Cluizel for my ganache making, and I can use something else for couverture?

Thanks.

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#35 Samaki

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 07:40 PM

It won't give you evenly sized chunks, but the fastest and easiest way to "chop" chocolate is to wrapit up well in a plastic bag, set it on a hard surface and whack it with a hammer. It you whack it enough all the chunks will be small enough to melt easily.


That's what I used to do anyway, on the occasions when I had to deal with 5 kg bars.

#36 Irishgirl

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:51 PM

Are there tricks for easily chopping large quantities of chocolate and getting a consistent size so I don't end up with unmelted lumps in my ganache?  Or is not chopping worth the extra money per pound to buy the Cluizel for my ganache making, and I can use something else for couverture?

Thanks.

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For chopping large quantities of chocolate quickly and evenly....

Depending on the size of the block....

If it is 1kg or larger, this method works well.
unwrap the block so that the end of the block is still in the wrapper.
Turn the block so that it is standing on its thin side.
Support the block by leaning it up against your body and securing the wrapped end under your arm.
Use your other arm to use a STRONG BREAD KNIFE (or serrated) to push down through the end of the chocolate that is on the cutting board.
Adjust the size of the pieces by how wide you slice down. (You can go as thin as shavings if need be.)
Be sure to use the part of the bread knife closest to the handle to achieve the best control.

(I had people take issue with this method before, as they felt that putting the chocolate "under your arm" was unsanitary.....but believe me, this is the most effective way to achieve consistent pieces. A Chocolatier taught me this method, and I still use it to this day.)

P.S. Cluizel may taste great, but is a #$%@%&* to temper without cracks in final product!

Good Luck!

#37 rraaflaub

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:09 PM

If you are using wafers, it is difficult to obtain anything both fine and consistent. However, I find blocks far more convenient...cutting them is much more under your control, and they oxidize slower (and take up less storage space). If you do try blocks, I also use a serrated knife and slice off appropriate thicknesses...it is quite fast and easy. However, rather than balancing the block on its edge, I simply cut it while it lies flat. The issues with this are...it takes more force to slice the entire width of the block at once, but you quickly get used to it...also, it is difficult if you do not own a decent and fairly long serrated knife. Otherwise you can cut the corners back, switching between sides when the edge is getting too long for your knife.

All in all I like this method the best, and it is extremely fast...I often finely chop up 5-10kg at a time this way...however, if you don't have a heavy & long serrated knife, the on-edge idea may well work better.

Happy chopping,
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#38 Desiderio

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 11:00 PM

I use Eguittard and I never had problem form making ganache with it (the button size right?).
I chop the 5 kilos bars with a big ( not too big ) serrated knife that isnt too ragged etc and it works very fast I usually chop more and just bag the rest in zipplock.
Another this is that you can actually use the melted button to make ganache , is another method used , just melt and add to the cream or whatever.

Edited by Desiderio, 22 September 2006 - 11:02 PM.

Vanessa

#39 tammylc

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:59 AM

I use Eguittard and I never had problem form making ganache with it (the button size right?).
I chop the 5 kilos bars with a big ( not too big ) serrated knife that isnt too ragged etc and it works very fast I usually chop more and just bag the rest in zipplock.
Another this is that you can actually use the melted button to make ganache , is another method used , just melt and add to the cream or whatever.

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The discs I'm using are between the size of a nickel and a quarter. I didn't try making them into ganache as is, because they just seemed too big.

I've never tried making ganache from melted chocolate, but I was just reading a long post Steve Klc wrote about it a couple days ago, so perhaps I'll give it a try.

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#40 tammylc

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:01 AM

P.S.  Cluizel may taste great, but is a #$%@%&* to temper without cracks in final product!

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Glad to get some confirmation that it's not just me!

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#41 Kerry Beal

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:11 AM

I don't bother to chop chocolate into small bits. I take the amount I need by weight, what ever the size of chunk, put it in a pyrex bowl in the microwave and heat it first for a minute, then 10 or 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until just melted.

When I temper chocolate for dipping the chunks I break the bar into might be as big as 500 g. The only reason I sometimes use a chefs knife or a chocolate chopper to get slightly smaller chunks is so I can fit more in the bowl.

#42 adegiulio

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:13 AM

As a few people have mentioned, using a serrated knife makes life much easier. Each cut into the block creates a shaving action, which helps break each "slice" into small shavings.
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#43 MichelleGL

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:11 PM

Tammy--

A quick and easy way to chop up large quantities of chocolate...

Buy an awl at your local hardware store. It looks like a small screwdriver with a pointy (not sharp) tip; should cost a few bucks. Just press down into the chocolate and chip away. It won't give you consistently finely chopped bits (like you'd get from using a grater or cutting with a serrated knife), but I use this method whenever I want to melt down a lot of chocolate starting in big tablets (I use 1 kilo Valrhona bars). Very fast and easy. Just place the chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper, chip away and then lift the paper and pour it all into a bowl and you're set to melt away.

Oh, another thing-- this will only work well with dark chocolate. Milk and white chocolates have too much milk/liquid in them and they're too soft for the awl to work.

Edited by MichelleGL, 23 September 2006 - 06:16 PM.


#44 Patrick S

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:40 PM

Has anyone ever tried freezer the chocolate and then hitting it with a hammer? I wonder if the freezing would make the chocolate shatter in small pieces like glass.
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#45 David J.

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 08:34 PM

I used to use a knife until I found one of these chocolate chippers at the local Bed Bath & Beyond stores. It was by the bar supplies and labled as an ice chipper.

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B00005NUVX

I found that it works well with dark, white, and milk chocolate slabs.

I used to finely chop the resulting chunks with a chef's knife, but now I just use Kerry's method of getting a basic melt in the microwave. It's a lot less effort and you don't risk getting lumps.

#46 Pam R

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 04:35 PM

My mother likes to whack the 10lb. blocks of chocolate against the edge of a butcher-block table. Never warns any of us and generally scares the crap out of me.

For melting I'm not concerned with chopping it - and do much the same as Kerry. But we do a torte that's finished by sticking chunks of chocolate all over it and it's a pain to get the chocolate cut properly. I usually use a chef's knife..

#47 Anna N

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:05 PM

I never have to deal with huge block of chocolate but for the 1lb blocks I found my crinkle cutter works like a charm. This is a wavy blade that you usually use to cut vegetables for garnishes.

Here's one similar to mine.

Edited to add link.

Edited by Anna N, 24 September 2006 - 05:07 PM.

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#48 tammylc

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 05:12 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I should clarify that it's not chopping chocolate for *melting* that was an issue for me - it was trying to get even pieces for ganache making that I was talking about. But I'm thinking that I'll just make my next ganache out of melted chocolate instead of just pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate, which is what I've been doing up until now.

Now I just have to figure out which big bars of chocolate I want to buy.

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#49 Marlene

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 08:12 PM

I never have to deal with huge block of chocolate but for the 1lb blocks I found my crinkle cutter works like a charm.  This is a wavy blade that you usually use to cut vegetables for garnishes.

Here's one similar to mine.

Edited to add link.

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Thanks for the link Anna. Somehow I ended up ordering a stovetop popcorn maker and popcorn. :blink:

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I should clarify that it's not chopping chocolate for *melting* that was an issue for me - it was trying to get even pieces for ganache making that I was talking about.  But I'm thinking that I'll just make my next ganache out of melted chocolate instead of just pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate, which is what I've been doing up until now.

Now I just have to figure out which big bars of chocolate I want to buy.

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I always have trouble getting even pieces, so I gave up a while ago and now just use melted chocolate for ganache.
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#50 reenicake

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:31 PM

A serrated knife and the corner-chopping method described by RRaaflaub have always worked for me. On the other hand, if you make ganache in the food processor (great for always getting an emulsion)you don't need any smaller than 1-2 inch pieces. The processor does a fine job of chopping the buttons too.

#51 jgm

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:45 AM

As a home baker, I occasionally have to chop up chocolate bars to make chocolate chips, chunks, and dice small enough to melt eaily in hot pie fillings.

I found out that my food processor isn't much help. It just rounds off the corners of the pieces as they bounce off the blades.

I usually get out my chef's knife and just start trimming off corners until I work my way through the whole thing.

Any tips, hints, or tricks for making this job easier?

Edited by jgm, 18 September 2007 - 07:46 AM.


#52 judiu

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:48 AM

Double heavy duty plastic bag and a hammer? Maybe a "rubber" mallet, like the body shop guys use, so as to not tear the bag? HTH :biggrin:
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#53 Anna N

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:51 AM

I use a junk chef's knife that has a fine serrated edge. Picked it up for $1 at a garage sale but I have seen them in dollar stores and such. They are utterly useless as real knives but seem to cut through chocolate reasonably well.

I know there are also specialized tools for chopping chocolate and I am sure someone else will soon offer better suggestions. But I doubt that chopping chocolate will go very high on your favourite list of things to do!
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#54 patsikes

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 08:14 AM

Yep. I have a couple serrated 14 inch chefs knifes for the job. The ones I have came from the restaurant supply store with a white plastic handle in the 4-6 dollar range.

If you use those flexible cutting boards, which we do when working with chocolate as it is easier to transfer the shards, use two at a time or put a flexible one on top of a regular cutting board otherwise your counter could be full if little pin holes from the serrations.

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