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Everything posted by dantodd

  1. The humidity problem is related to the "power" of the coils the fridge/freezer as well as ventilation. Since Edward's cases were made for display and have worked well previously just adding a new temperature controller wouldn't be a problem, the compressor is doing the same work no matter which thermostat is turning it on and off. What typically happens in a fridge or freezer pressed into less-cold service is that the refrigerant coils in the walls get very cold compared to the rest of the storage area whenever they are turned on. This brings the walls by the coils below the dew point of the air and causes condensation. In my beverage fridge they use coils mounted inside the case rather than in the walls like my regular fridge and freezers. The system turns on a fan to blow air across the coils whenever the compressor is on. This helps keep the temperature differential between the coils and the air minimized and therefore reduces condensation problems. On my freezer I typically just wipe down the interior walls a couple times a day if I'm using it heavily.
  2. I've converted many refrigerators and freezers for brewing which requires more accurate temp control and often at temps above typical temps. You can either wire a temperature controller into the display case or you can get a controller that has an outlet attached so the case plugs directly into the controller. One of the most popular versions for homebrewing is the Ranco 1110 controller. Here is an example pre-wired for US outlets for $75. http://www.rancoetc.com/ranco-etc111000000-prewired-digital-temperature-controller-p-87.html You can also get a PID-style controller many of which look quite nice. Here is an example of one, this can be mounted such that the display looks like an original part of your case. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200422738471&ssPageName=ADME:B:EF:US:1123 The problem with your system is almost certainly just a bad thermostat and if you have a friend who is good with electricity they can easily wire either of these directly into your system circumventing the existing thermometer for less money and with better control than the original.
  3. I am sure there are food service specific sieves but I've only ever purchased them (for other uses) from aggregate materials companies. I just did a quick google and found this company, there are tons more. http://www.humboldtmfg.com
  4. the hinge tweety used is called a piano hinge if you are looking for one.
  5. I really enjoy Recchiuti's Pates de Fruit http://www.recchiuti.com
  6. Not sure just how fine you are looking to grind but there are a number of mills available from homebrew shops. One of the more popular is the crankandstein mill http://www.crankandstein.com/ It is adjustable with a .025" to .065" gap with .005" change per detent. You'll probably want to sieve the end result no matter what you end up using.
  7. Wow, talk about great service. Rob Maffit, part of the Kitchen by the Hour staff, saw this posting and took the time to contact me. Apparently my Yahoo.com spam filter discarded the first response, they did not ignore my email query. I'm not sure if they are the right solution for me but I do know that the people at Kitchen by the Hour do care about customers and potential customers. I just wanted to make sure that anyone else reading this thread knows that my first post regarding their unresponsiveness was inaccurate. Still on the hunt! Dan
  8. One more quick note of encouragement. Please do keep posting your experiences, I find them entertaining and valuable as I embark on my own adventure.
  9. Thanks Folks, Mr. C's and Kitchen by the Hour were the 2 I found. Unfortunately Kitchen by the Hour didn't even respond to my email inquiry. LaCocina sounds interesting but the location is a little out of the way from here. I think I'll spend some time next week talking to local fraternal etc. organizations.
  10. The FDA has a Food Labeling Guide here: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/flg-toc.html I believe that most states use these guidelines when they are not already in the CFR.
  11. It should work out fine. You can often get food grade "popping sugar" or whatever it's called from soap suppliers. I like them because they are not flavored.
  12. sounds like a pretty good deal. I am looking on the other side of the Peninsula and Mr. C's in Campbell is charging $350/mo with only 10 hours per month plus $15/hr. I'm going to be looking at alternatives but that is my backup.
  13. Thanks Kerry and John.... I guess I better get in the kitchen.
  14. Your pates de fruit look wonderful. My wife loves Pates de Fruit and I have an apricot tree in the backyard. I think I'll be working on learning how to make good Pates de Fruit for the next harvest. Any recommendations? Does a refractometer really make a big difference in getting a consistent set?
  15. I know this is a little off topic for this forum, if it fits better somewhere else let me know and I'll be happy to switch discussion. I am interested in renting kitchen/storage space. Google has only turned up a couple options. Are there any resources out there for finding kitchen rentals? I am in San Carlos/San Mateo area on the San Francisco Peninsula but general resources are also most welcome. If you know of specific rentals let me know too.
  16. Thanks Jill. I found that making the colored cocoa butter (white chocolate in my case) and then mixing that was really easy. I always hate mixing colors that are really intense, like food colorings because it is hard for me to judge the final color otherwise.
  17. my bad. most whipping and heavy cream is "ultra-pasteurized" which is what extends its shelf life. I've never seen manufacturers cream that has been "ultra-pasteurized." Homogenization keeps the fat molecules apart so the don't separate and helps reduce likelihood of it tasting rancid.
  18. I use mfg cream a lot. It seems to be about the same fat% (based on the nutritional labels' fat and calorie values) It is much cheaper than heavy cream at Smart & Final. But since it isn't homogenized as well it will spoil much faster. I haven't noticed a decrease in bon bon shelf life but the whole cream definitely has a shorter shelf life. It will also separate a little over time so keep an eye on that as well. I also use it in sauces where it seems to make a smoother finish for me.
  19. I use a whipped white chocolate ganache in my key lime truffles. I also whip ganache being used for cake filling but that's a different creature.
  20. Thanks guys, I still need to work on the coloring. I'm pretty good with the shimmer dust but I used powdered coloring in white chocolate on that piece. I used way too much. I took a few shavings of the blue and a similar yellow to color an 8oz ganache a beautiful pastel green. I guess I used about 10X more than I needed for that color! LOL. Fortunately it didn't add any strange taste or texture. I picked the box up at Michael's for $1 and painted it myself. I used cello to line the sides and cut some regular confection padding. It turned out better than I had hoped.
  21. Well, I got my first little order for chocolates this Valentine's Day! Here is the result.... Dark chocolate truffles, Rum-Orange geodesic domes and Peanut butter ganache and Caramel.
  22. I usually soak mine in hot water, no soap, and use a dish brush on the back and sides (I'm neater than when I started but still get a bit on the rest of the mold) the mold cavities just get a quick swish with my fingers and I rub the top face down with my hand as well. I then dry the face and sides with a tea towel. Then the cavities get dried/polished with a cloth diaper. Then I set them cavity-side down to air dry the back. Works great, takes a little time.
  23. You are typically best if you drop the temp of your chocolate no more than 20 degrees F at a time. If you work in a 70F kitchen keep your cooling fridge at around 50F and as alana said, a fan will help reduce condensation.
  24. The percentage is, in fact, the percentage of cacao in the chocolate. There are 2 components though, one is cocoa mass and the other cocoa butter (the chocolate maker will use cocoa liquor and supplement with extra cocoa butter for the final ratio.) The main other ingredient in dark chocolate is sugar so if a chocolate bar states 65% cacao most of the remaining 35% is sugar. The other ingredients are typically an emulsifer such as lecithin and sometimes vanilla or other flavoring. so, in short, yes. Higher percentages have less sugar.
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