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    Orange County, CA

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  1. I understand the thickening problem with the wheel machine, especially if you walk away from the machine for too long. But like most machines, regardless of how automated, you do have to babysit it. Whenever I run into thickening, I just bump up my temperature a few tenths of a degree to break some crystal down for a while then bring it back down once my chocolate has thinned down as needed, and continue the day on.
  2. You can get a non-automated tempering wheel melter for $4200, and a vibrating table for about $950. With two wheel melters you can work dark and milk, capacity is about 25 pounds each. This is enough to work all day and you can add chocolate if needed. Way easier than Mol’d’art melters because you have the wheel and spout-constantly stirs for you and filling molds is much easier than ladling. Contact BAKON USA in Torrance, Ca. These are a great starting point without too high of an investment, and a good company too. I have been doing business with them for years.
  3. Heavy copper kettle is best. 😀
  4. What’s the purpose of the chocolate? Is this for simple tastings, or for making ganache, or for making filled chocolates? I think you’ll find that with a lot of the small chocolate makers, they do not have enough science and quality control to get you good covertures with the right viscosity for production if that is the case. If you’re just looking for a chocolate for tasting, then you were on the right track with many of the recommendations I’ve already seen here.
  5. Check the water activity level, also known as Aw.
  6. Yes, I have use this quite frequently with success. Make sure to use the absolute minimum required because even though it seems like a very very small amount, it can affect the taste of your ganache. Of course, to the average pallet, most people would not notice it all.
  7. Have you tried getting down to 27c? I know you’re having problems bringing it down but your thermometer could be off or you just need to take it lower.
  8. I would suggest either using the powdered form directly, or using the fresh root grated and making an infusion with hot cream (then strain out root) which will then be used in your ganache.
  9. All Guittard chocolate is now soy lecithin free. It’s excellent quality. Try that!
  10. For sure, just freeze it, keeps for weeks.
  11. Did it successfully for years. Maybe it depends on the yogurt maker, but I kept my colored butters in the same bottles that my airbrush used. Yes, I did have to let them cool down a little before use, but a few minutes and a few good shakes and it was in temper and ready to go.
  12. It's also helpful to know the minimum price you will sell your product at first off. Then figure out all your overhead expenses that are fixed-your labor, rent, equipment, insurance and other business related payments that you must absolutely pay every month to stay in operation. Figure your material costs per unit. Then figure out what is the minimum number of units you have to sell to cover all those costs. Once you know that, you know what your break even point is and each additional unit beyond that number of units increases your margins-economy of scale. The first "x" number of units is going to pay the bills and keep the business running, each additional unit of production is going to have a lower marginal cost. Does that make sense?
  13. Here´s some good discussion on this topic http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/store-markup-on-chocolate-bars http://www.thechocolatelife.com/group/startupcentral/forum/topics/wholesaleretail-pricing?commentId=1978963%3AComment%3A20643&groupId=1978963%3AGroup%3A17188 http://www.thechocolatelife.com/group/startupcentral/forum/topics/pricing-thread?commentId=1978963%3AComment%3A50392&groupId=1978963%3AGroup%3A17188 there´s more on the chocolatelife.com but those will definitely get you started. There´s also a good tiered pricing spreadsheet I´m also attaching
  14. I use an IR/Laser thermometer all the time with success. I'm also at 9,000 feet. I know water boils here at 90C or about 191, and so adjust all my sugar temps down appropriately. I get perfect chewy caramels every time using an IR thermometer and pulling off the heat right around 220F. Of course, this is not a clear product like a syrup is. I wouldn't trust it on a plain sugar syrup-though I do use the IR for cooking fondant and have good results too.
  15. Yes, you are definitely messing with the chemistry of the fat (cocoa butter) by adding vegetable oil. I can't say exactly how, but you're not going to get a good temper or shine. There is no quick fix for properly tempered, pure chocolate.
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