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Everything posted by Nyago123

  1. I subscribe to Pastry & Baking: North America. It's a great magazine with great production value... their website has a digital edition of Volume 2 #1 online if you want to check it out. My only note is that they claim to publish 6 issues per year, but so far I've only received 2 (Volume 2 #1 and Volume 2 #2) dating back to late 2007.
  2. Another vote for El Rey (Icoa) here too. I've tried Callebaut which is smooth, and Guittard which I find too sweet for my palette (though I don't remember exactly which Guittard white I tried), but I just like the faint cocoa notes in the El Rey. I don't use white chocolate much in desserts myself, but I do really like the Triple Chocolate Terrine, from Ann Amernick's "The Art of the Dessert", which uses white, milk, and dark in individual layers.
  3. I use Aura Cacia's Bourbon Geranium when making rose caramels (bon bons), an oil which you can find at major supermarkets or the likes of Whole Foods, in the aromatherapy section. This is the oil of pelargonium graveolens. This is extremely potent; I'd use only one drop per 2 cups of sugar + fat (e.g. butter or cream).
  4. LOL same here... don't tell my g/f until the book arrives and I get to keep it I have JPW's other two books and I agree Greweling is the standard... and still a Recchiuti fan too.
  5. Drifting a little off topic, I'd say that sounds consistent with my first hand experience. I've used the El Rey 73.5% Apamate and it has a strong earthy + tangy acid flavor. Additionally, I've been told by a professional chocolatier who uses Venezuelan chocolates that El Rey can be a little inconsistent in their production and that off-flavors can appear from time to time, depending on the batch. So when coating and/or in a ganache, the El Rey "tang" and other flavors can potentially drown out or conflict what you are working with. At the same time, El Rey is still great to eat out of the box as opposed to a "straightforward" chocolate, like Guittard, Callebaut, or Felchin. Which means that it's also good where just plain chocolate is the dominant flavor, such as in a chocolate cake, glaze, mousse, or terrine... and it'd probably be fine in something like a mendiant as well.
  6. Ah, yes, mine is 110V... didn't think about that. But I hope you can find it. The compressor does make a little putt-putt noise, but nothing so bad that I'd be afraid to use it late at night even in an apartment complex. A big compressor is liable to be loud. Of course, I learned that even with a "work box" to do the spraying in, it's probably better to do it outdoors. A fine mist of cocoa butter & white chocolate floated through the air as I was working. Thanks for posting your Wybauw pictures. I even learned something about the dipping fork from it.
  7. This is probably heresy around here, but I'm finding ganache is not universally ganache. Between Shotts' book, the Greweling book, and Rechiutti's book, you can find a variety of textures in the outcome, largely varying on the % use of butter and "second sugar" content. Additionally, there are two major approaches (roughly speaking & depending on recipe): 1. Boil the cream/corn syrup and pour it hot onto the chocolate and let it sit 30 seconds - 1 minute and then stir, finally adding (softened) butter 2. Melt and temper the chocolate, add the butter, boil cream/corn syrup, let cream cool to 105F or so and add it to the chocolate mix In the end, everything ends up all together but I find #2 leads to a smoother ganache, on average. IMO the easiest book to use (well, if you have invert sugar and a ton of butter laying around ) is Rechiutti's, and he frequently uses a stick blender. Seems almost impossible to break a ganache if you follow his steps. Though if you get his book you'll eventually want to practice your caramel skills... Also his ganaches and caramels lean towards the soft side... more difficult to work with when hand rolling/dipping but it can be done. But I'll agree that the fundamentals are probably just 1 decent sauce pan for heating the cream & stuff, one mixing bowl, and a spatula or wooden spoon. I guess if you ever infuse tea or lavender or something into the cream, you'll need a strainer. If you want a recommendation on spatulas, I say get the Zyliss silicone spatulas for stirring. The only other thing is you might get is some piping tips & bags if you decide to do something like a butter ganache piped onto a chocolate disc or you just generally get tired of the scoop & roll bit. If you go beyond the basics and start getting into molds: - Immersion blender can be useful, but we rarely use one. Ours is a Cuisinart. - Heat gun (I use a mini Hello Kitty hair dryer ) - Heavy sauce pan for caramels, and bowl of ice water - Many Silpats! - Laser/infrared thermometer, though I only use this when all hell breaks loose and I forget where I am - Metal offset spatula for scraping the molds (I like this better than a table scraper) - Disposable vinyl gloves, for handling finished chocolates or sculpted intermediate pieces - Aztec or Mayan God statue, kept nearby to increase the chances your chocolate won't bloom
  8. You'll have to share your Wybauw experiences with us... I think there's a thread elsewhere about him teaching. I have a (similar) Badger 250-3. I bought a 180-10 compressor off of eBay for around $55 before shipping. If you bid carefully you (or your friend in the US) might be able to do similarly well. There is a Michaels in my neighborhood but even with the bi-weekly 40% off coupons, eBay worked out better. And on my first try, I did get (white) chocolates with that showroom finish, but I was keeping it simple.
  9. It's not exactly maple, but when making confectionery fondant, I've substituted Lyle's Golden Syrup for glucose/corn syrup as the "alternate sugar", though this was for a specific purpose. Very yummy and maple-like. I also like John's suggestion of darkening the chocolate as well.
  10. I want to second that opinion. One of the reasons I stopped using a thermometer when hand tempering is not because I'm showing off my skills (well, maybe a little ) but because here even in the temperate (no pun intended) weather of San Diego, as humidity and other random conditions vary (air pressure? butterfly flapping its wings nearby?) , how long the chocolate is usable and how well it otherwise behaves (e.g. issues with sugar bloom) also varies, plus its a good way to learn how far you can go... even though the window is indeed narrow, it's not as inflexible as you might worry about. Also, sometimes I'll semi-randomly mix couvertures to vary intensity or just to average taste. (For example, I've learned some batches of El Rey don't taste exactly the same as the next batch... I still like Venezuelan chocolate the best, but their at-site cacao farmer quality control is probably random.) In that case, my mix may not be at the exact temperature specifications given... in fact, I may have no way of knowing. Also, being able to work with the chocolate by hand also allows you more flexibility in how you temper, because really there are a million ways you can get there. For example, Michael Antonorsi of Chuao Chocolatier once suggested to me & my classmates that instead of seeding with discs, seed with a giant block of chocolate and stir until tempered. Then just fish the block out when you're ready, which avoids having to worry about unmelted chunks. If you can recognize the temper by feel, it's much easier to pull something like that off. Just blindly raising to temperature X and lowering to temperature Y and agitating, and/or mixing N grams of melted chocolate at temperature Z is a recipe for self-torment in the long run. Besides, playing with melted chocolate should be FUN.
  11. I am gonna follow the spirit of this thread and toss out any chocolate specific baking books, which I do have a few of. As hobbyists, my g/f and I are also big fans of the Recchiuti book, which you can buy in a special pack with another book for only $13 here : Amazon offer We like it because you can make some smooth, professional-like good tasting ganaches at home. The Schotts book has fallen out of favor for multiple reasons (sorry Andrew, if you're reading this). My personal favorite is the CIA "Chocolates & Confections" book by Greweling. I think if I could only have one book, that would be it. The Chocolate Decorations book by Wybauw is a fun addition if you're into sculpting or just looking for something totally different, but it is somewhat focused on those who might be throwing/catering a party where you'd be doing a big presentation... and you better have a lot of time. If you're looking to make "chocolates with that showroom finish", the eGullet thread in the Pastry & Baking forum is the place to go. I think we're at the point where just practicing and experimenting teaches us the most, though it sure ain't cheap.
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