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Everything posted by Chocolot

  1. I have a home based business also. I just have them come into the chocolate room and start sampling. I don't refrigerate my chocolates, so that isn't an issue. When they choose, I pack them right then or if they are in a hurry, I write it down and pack them later. I keep my chocolates in individual drawers and just open them up and select. I have a few boxes ready to go, but like to keep everything fresh, so usually pack as needed.
  2. Good idea Kerry!! Where do you buy it in syrup?
  3. I remember a while back someone was talking about rinsing crystallized ginger and letting it dry before using. I am wondering why you can't just add it to the heated cream when making a ganache? Wouldn't the sugar wash off into the cream, leaving a nice flavor?
  4. There is no fat in it, so I don't think it can go rancid.
  5. The more cocoa butter, the thinner it is (less viscous). It is good for molds because it can flow into little places. More cocoa butter usually means more expensive. The "c" of Callebaut is an all-purpose viscocity. I prefer a thinner chocolate--"A" or no letter. I have been using E Guittard and really prefer it to Callebaut. It is all personal taste and budget. R
  6. Not to add more confusion, but in the Callebaut 811, you need to know if it is straight 811, or A,B, or C. Actually, the A might be the basic one. Each letter represents less cocoa butter. The Callebaut 823 and white chocolate have the same letters. I think it is about 1-2% less cocoa butter for each letter. No one said this job is easy, but it sure is fun testing:-) Most of the chocolate companies will send you samples to try out. Just call customer service and ask. Good luck. Ruth
  7. My advice--if you use a fan for air circulation, DON'T stand downwind while working with chocolate
  8. I just brought these 3 beauties home. I have them cleaned up and just waiting for some instructions on how to use them. They are Savage tempering melters. Anyone have any experience with them?
  9. Hi, have you asked the couple about the alcohol? I am a Mormon, and it wouldn't be a problem with anyone I know. Unless they are really out there, it shouldn't be a problem. Heaven forbid, I actually cook with wine It isn't like sneaking in pork at a Jewish wedding.
  10. Another question on melters. I have an 80# Hillliard that I have had for almost 30 years and I love it. I need/want another one. I have a chance to buy a used Savage 50# tempering melter for about half the price of a used Hilliard. Does anyone have any experience with a Savage?
  11. I make that recipe all the time and it will set up when the room is cool enough. I sometimes have to put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Even though my room is about 70, it still seems to like it cooler. I have piped it into shells when it is really soft, and it always firms up.
  12. Can you just buy smaller cherries? I can buy them in small, medium or large sizes. I prefer medium for hand dipping, and haven't tried molding them yet.
  13. I just talked with Art. He is out at the Bonneville Salt Flats sending rockets into space. I think he is a bit of a mad scientist!
  14. Very cute, Kerry. How much chocolate did it take?
  15. Glad you like them I used 2 colors. alabaster white and topaz yellow from Chef Rubber
  16. Here are todays attempts. The first one is with a gloved finger, the second one was with a cotton ball. I had some extra ganache from filling some molds, so I hurried and colored these, made the shells, filled and closed, all within 30 minutes. I did 3 trays. Much faster than spraying.
  17. THis sounds pretty cool, do you mind answering a few questions 1. you say the blade is on edge. THis sounds like vertical, correct?? Yes 2. You say you spray the end of the spatula. Are you aiming for the center of the spatula or slightly off? Do you get any spray directly into the mold accidently? The spatula (or plastic spoon) is pretty small, so I just aim for the end of it. Yes, I spray plenty accidently 3. The mold is on edge, so I assume that means vertical rather than horizontal, correct? Yes, sometimes at a bit of an angle. I will post another photo and hope it doesn't confuse you further. In looking at it, I realize I really need to do a better job of cleaning off the gun!! It is hard to see, but I have the mold on an edge so it is vertical. I try to aim the color into the cavities, but I'm not always successful. I usually end up with a lot on the flat part and have to scrape it off. I hope I haven't confused you further.
  18. I hold the spatula in my left hand, and have the blade on edge. I spray the end of the spatula by holding the gun in my right hand and holding it very close to the spatula. The mold is sitting on edge. I usually end up turning the mold to get all the areas splattered. The cocoa butter sprays on, rather than drips on. Not a great description. I hold the gun and spatula real close to the mold. I still have a lot of work to do on it before I am consistent. It uses a whole lot less cocoa butter than throwing with a brush (at least the way I throw:-)
  19. Thanks for your feedback. I bought a bunch of junk candy to see how the "big boys" label colors. Very interesting!! Many of them just list red 40, etc with no mention of color, artificial or otherwise. Not a lot of consistency. I'll work through it and be better educated in the end
  20. Kerry asked me to tell you all about a little trick I am learning. It is spraying the cocoa butter onto a small spatula or even the back of a plastic spoon. The cocoa butter builds up and eventually splatters. I will attempt my first posting of pictures I use a detail gun as I find an airbrush is just too small. It would probably help a ton if I ever had a lesson or knew anything about spraying!! This is the angle I try to maintain while spraying. The cocoa butter builds up and you sort of use a sweeping motion with the air to get it to splatter. I usually hold the spatula vertical, but change it up when needed. I am still messy, but not as bad as splattering with a brush. These were the results today. I mostly find out what doesn't work, rather than what does work I sprayed and shelled 8 trays in about 90 minutes using the gun and spatula. I also tried taking the nozzle off the gun and spraying with just the needle. It actually worked but you have to fiddle with the air mixture a lot. These are some that actually turned out. I have a lot to learn and really appreciate all your help.
  21. I am in the process of setting up my ingredients list for my boxes. These will be for retail packaging. The state lady in charge of labels is giving me fits over the colored cocoa butter. She wants every FD&C color listed that is in the box, regardless of the quantity. This means I will have a long list for perhaps 1 or 2 chocolates in the box. She even said that if it is a natural color it still has to be listed as artificial because it is not natural in chocolate. What have the rest of you done? Is she just being extra picky, or is this just the way it is? In checking with the supplier, he says to just list it as color, but she isn't buying it. Any suggestions? I know I could just eliminate those pieces, but that is what makes the box unique.
  22. My pots are stainless steel, and I'm using the same ingredients, scaled-- milk solids are cream (organic valley) and butter. It's so odd, my smaller batches always turned out about the same, and now my larger batches are, too... only soft! I'm also making the larger batches into thicker layers (1/2" instead of 1/4" inch), but I can tell by the caramel that sticks to the thermometer and spatula are softer to begin with, too. I'm familiar with the cold water test, but what's a slab test? Thanks for helping! ← Slab test is spreading a small sample of the syrup on a cold surface ie granite, marble or even SS. If it is spread thin enough, it does the same thing as the cold water--it cools it down quickly and lets you see the finished texture. Are you using any milk besides cream? You usually need some milk solids to give caramel stand up quality. I'm wondering if you are cooking the larger batch longer (because of limited heat capacity) and more of the sugar is inverting, causing a softer finish? How has the weather been? If you are in a low pressure, the thermometer can be off several degrees. That's about all I can think of. Good luck on the next batch.
  23. What materials are both of your pots made of? Are you using the same ingredients, i.e. cream same percent? What milk solids are you using? Caramels are tricky on the end temp. I often do a slab or cold water test to verify final temp. It isn't the size of the batch that is causing the problem. I make the same recipe, scaled of course, in a 3 qt pot and a 30 inch copper pot.
  24. The class was great. Learned a lot and took lots of pictures. If it is ok, I'll post my blog address, if not, if someone can tell me how to post pictures, I'll do it here. Here are some notes from class. I just jotted down as fast as I could, and some might not make sense. If you don't understand, just ask and I'll try to remember. Patrick Peeters June 28, 2008 All ingredients should be at room temperature. Don’t have to boil UHT cream. Just bring to simmer and pour over callets. He always uses a Robot Coupe for ganaches. He says they are much smoother than by hand. He likes to use European butter. It is 82%. US butter is 72%. You can add butter with cream but he prefers to add it last for better mouth feel. You must know the cocoa butter percentage in your chocolate to calculate your formula. You can freeze your finished bon bons, but follow the normal freezing guidelines—thaw in stages and don’t unwrap for 48 hours. Invert, honey, and glucose all help water activity. Sorbitol is a sugar that binds water, but we are afraid to use it here, but it is normal in Europe. Greatly increases shelf-life. It also is a laxative if too much is used. You don’t have to table a ganache if you have prepared it properly. He used a can of Badger compressed air? and a little Badger siphon feed air brush. Don’t mix milk and dark chocolate. It throws off the melting point and messes everything up. Mycryo was developed as a substitute for gelatin during the Mad Cow scare. It is an insulator? Vegetarians like to use it. If it is past its due date, use it 2 degrees warmer—it has changed to beta 6, from beta 5 crystals. When using a transfer sheet with a layer of chocolate, first spray counter top or sheet pan with Pam. Smoothly roll out the transfer sheet. This makes a smooth area that won’t slide around. Spread with tempered chocolate and smooth to a thin layer. When just starting to set, use a toothpick to “cut” the chocolate. Top with parchment and roll up transfer sheet, chocolate and parchment. Put in fridge until set. Remove plastic and parchment and you have some fun designs in chocolate. When molding, don’t over-work the colored cocoa butter or it will over crystallize and not release. Vibrate the filled mold on the table top to release air bubbles. When you dump it out, keep it horizontal or the shells will be uneven. You only have to wait to close the molds until the filling is firm enough to cover. There is no reason to wait over night. Hit the filled molds very gently with a hair dryer to soften the chocolate and make it adhere better to the bottom. If you over melt it, it won’t release from the mold. Infusing tea in hot cream for more than 10 minutes leads to bitterness. Cold cream refrigerated over night is better. JPW designed the Mold d’art melter
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