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gap

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  1. You seem to have moved on from the use of alcohol to loosen the PDF, but FWIW, my understanding is that alcohol increases shelf life but that it is not reflected in the aW reading. (Ie., aW is not the only input into calculating shelf life for a chocolate - it might be the primary driver, but it is not the sole driver) Having said that, other than a "test the chocolate every week" scenario, I don't know how you could evaluate the impact of alcohol on your shelf life.
  2. Luke - glad to hear that it worked out for you
  3. Cooked to the normal temperature. Let it set and cool. Then blitz. When we made large chocolates (eg., large bars or domes that were 5cm diameter etc) we didn't add the alcohol. You could still pipe the blitzed PDF. When we were piping into smaller chocolates then we added the alcohol to help it settle into the cavity. From memory, it wasn't a lot of alcohol we added.
  4. The technique I have used is to let the PDF set. Then blitz it with a small amount of alcohol to loosen it (which wont affect shelf life). We used an alcohol which "paired" with the PDF so the taste wasn't noticeable.
  5. This isn't an issue I've (thankfully) encountered before, but I did find this online: http://candy.about.com/od/carameltoffee/f/separate_faq.htm It lists separation as potentially being caused by: - abrupt temperature shift - not melting everything evenly at the start (medium/low heat) - not constantly stirring if the recipe calls for it - hot spots caused by too thin a bottom on your pan - humidity
  6. I can't help with your specific question, but one of my (favourite) fillings is a dark chocolate ganache made with 65-70% chocolate and lemon curd. I'm guessing that adding chocolate to the curd to make a ganache is only going to help shelf-life of the filling.
  7. PDF are sweet by nature, so I think peach might be too subtle a flavour to try. Passionfruit, raspberry, cassis, lemon have all worked well for me. In terms of piping, you can blitz the PDF after it has set and then pipe it. Some people also add a little alcohol when blitzing to loosen it even further.
  8. Favorite Molds

    Is this the mould do you think? http://www.savourschool.com.au/chocolate-moulds/figures-objects-and-miscellaneous/ma1627-triangular-sloped-sides/product-detail.aspx They look similar, but I can't tell if it's the same. If it is, I tracked down this on the Martellato website: http://www.martellatous.com/productinfo/arrow-top-polycarbonate-mold-403-25 (Not available in US, contact them in Italy for direct shipping)
  9. Jam to Pate de Fruit?

    I don't know for sure, but I always thought you got jam if you cooked your PDF too long?
  10. My understanding is that chocolate needs to set on something smooth and shiny to come out smooth and shiny (I'm sure its more technical/scientific than that, but I don't know). So if you spray a chocolate that is already out of the mould, the chocolate will not set against something that is smooth/shiny, so it wont be. If you spray INTO the mould and let it set, it would have set against the plastic and should come out smooth/shiny. That's why people who spray chocolates that have already been unmoulded go for the flocked look. I agree with pastrygirl, it's amazing what metallic powder/luster dust/sparkle dust can hide :-)
  11. FWIW, my thoughts: 1. Define affordable :-) Jokes aside, they are expensive, but you can't do large volumes without them. I use a Mod d'Art 6kg tank and have found it invaluable to the point of getting a second one. I got both of mine second-hand, so I haven't had to pony up full price fortunately. 2. If you want to make moulded chocolates, you need polycarbonate moulds. As others mentioned, pick simple designs that will release the chocolate easy and be quick/easy to clean & polish. 3. I live in Australia and do not even try and make chocolates if my room temperature is above 23C (73F) 4. Chocolate is international and there are a lot of common words which have slightly different meaning in different countries - for most things there is not one definition that is correct everywhere ("praline" is a good example of this). I have seen various ways of people trying to differentiate cocoa and cacao but not everyone uses the same definition. At the risk of attracting the ire of the board, they generally refer to the same thing.
  12. Can't disagree with Kerry above. Re 5: For me the biggest thing was learning hands on from classes or demonstrations. It wasn't even the big things like the recipes - it was watching how someone held a mould while filling with chocolate and how they tapped it out/scraped it down - those are the little things which I think you need to learn hands on if you want to get really proficient. I also found I came along in leaps and bounds when I got my own melting tank at home. As Kerry says above, trying to work with small amounts of chocolate is very hard work. With a melting tank I could use a large amount of chocolate (say 3kg), melt it and temper it and the tank could hold it in temper. That meant I could slow things down and take my time when enrobing or moulding rather than trying to rush because I was worried the chocolate wouldn't hold temper.
  13. Homemade Chocolate

    An Indian wet grinder (something like this: http://www.buyindiankitchen.com/premier-wonder-grinder.html) will get pralines or chocolate very smooth with enough time. A robot coupe or thermomix or equivalent will not be able to produce the same smoothness.
  14. Homemade Chocolate

    keychris is correct - lecithin wont help. You need to "refine" the particle size of the sugar/sweetener (break it into very small pieces that are too small to notice) rather than "dissolve" it.
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