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Everything posted by gap

  1. From what I have been taught, there is no need for a stick blender ... you can emulsify with a spatula or whisk - especially if the ganache is well balanced. As you get higher fat ganaches (eg., using a dark chocolate with high cocoa butter content), a stick blender (or using a food processor/robot-coupe) can give a better result.
  2. I've had success putting them straight into the fridge after moulding (no wait time) and letting them completely set in the fridge. Idea being to cool as quickly as possible given the large volume of chocolate in the mould. Alternatively, painting a thin layer of tempered chocolate into the mould first can help keep a smooth looking finish. Or spraying the mould first with a chocolate/cocoa butter mix (60% chocolate/40% ccb ... use at the working temp of the chocolate) can give a fantastic gloss ... but it does mean more time.
  3. I've seen a few places do them with moulds like this https://coco88.com.au/products/caramel-chocolate-freckles Obviously the hundreds & thousands are on the other side though . . . not sure if that's an issue
  4. Yep - that sounds like plenty of fat for the recipe. Maybe a bit of moisture as you suggested above.
  5. Hi - another thing to check is the total fat content of your chocolate . . . not enough fat (from nibs, added cocoa butter and milk fat) and the grinder potentially has to work too hard to keep moving through the chocolate and that can heat things up. I aim for fat content of 30%+ for my machine. 147F is 64C if my maths is right which is getting to the upper range of the epoxies used in a lot of the grinders . . . ie., it can start to melt the glue.
  6. My family bought me custom transfers from them 11 years ago and I still have them/use them!! I store them in a room that often gets to 28C+ (it's hard not to in summer Australia) but they lie flat and in the dark. They still work perfectly.
  7. If you follow the link to the other discussion in Jim D's post above, I've posted my technique for freezing chocolates. I have used this technique for 4 months in a normal home freezer without any issues and see no reason I couldn't have left them longer.
  8. gap

    Freezing bonbons

    I've done this for literally over ten thousand chocolates. 1. Pack the chocolates into a single compact layer in a low profile plastic box. 2. Lid on and cover with several layers of gladwrap/plastic wrap 3. 24 hours in the fridge 4. Into freezer 5. When ready to come out, 24 hours in fridge 6. 24 hours at room temperature (still fully wrapped) 7. Unwrap and enjoy!! I do this because Christmas is in summer in Australia and I have to make my chocolates ahead of time (usually ~1000 a year). I often keep some frozen for 3 months. I airbrush my chocolates and they do not lose shine. All manner of fillings and they're fine (I eat plenty myself) - you honestly wouldn't know they had been frozen.
  9. No better way to build inventory before the hot weather in Melbourne!
  10. You can freeze chocolates to stop them ageing. That is the benefit of storing by freezing. I have successfully used this technique for 10+ years without a single fail and it is recommended by commercial chocolatiers: - Put your chocolates in a plastic container. Try and fill the container as full as possible and use a "low" lid height container to minimise the amount of air in the container after it is filled with chocolates. I use a container that is about twice the height of my moulded chocolates. - Wrap it in gladwrap/plastic wrap. I do several layers. Press out the air as much as possible that the plastic wrap traps. - Put in the fridge for 24 hours. This stops the chocolates being shocked when put in the freezer - After 24 hours in the fridge, transfer to freezer. - When you are ready to defrost, transfer to the fridge for 24 hours - After 24 hours, take out of the fridge and let them stand for 24 hours at room temperature (still wrapped in gladwrap/plastic wrap) - After standing at 24 hours, the chocolates can be unwrapped and used as normal I have literally done 1000's of chocolates this way without a problem.
  11. 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.
  12. Luke - glad to hear that it worked out for you
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. gap

    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)
  19. I don't know for sure, but I always thought you got jam if you cooked your PDF too long?
  20. 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 :-)
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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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