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Jim D.

society donor
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  • Website URL
    www.santiagochocolates.com

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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. In spite of the current uncertainty in the world, I pressed on with my plans for Easter chocolates. Below are the eggs. The fillings (clockwise from top) are all simple, mostly traditional ones: (1) strawberry pâte de fruit & strawberry cream, (2) dark caramel with sea salt, (3) coffee ganache with Kahlúa & rum buttercream, (4) crispy hazelnut gianduja.
  2. Thanks for your good suggestions (as usual). How do you know so much about so many things? Rhetorical question. As for the quote above, when I was investigating installing a range vent during my kitchen renovation, I came upon the term "makeup air." It's just what you are discussing. Some localities even have laws requiring a certain amount of makeup air brought into the house to balance what is sucked out by an exhaust fan. I am, however, working in an old house, with many, many cracks, and the basement is even more "ventilated." Do you mean the "in vent" needs some sort of power to bring in air or is it just a passive vent to the outside? If it's the latter, then I (unintentionally) have plenty of those in the basement. In any videos I have seen of spraying booths, I have not seen one that has such a vent or mentions it.
  3. I'm continuing to think about the issue of airbrush overspray and using colored cocoa butter. Even my 3M respirator and the homemade spray booth (box with cutout for filter and fan behind filter) are not dealing effectively with the cocoa butter spray. I used white a few days ago, and there is a fine white mist on just about everything around the area. There is also ample evidence from my nose that my efforts are not proving successful. I suppose COVID-19 has made us all more sensitive to respiratory issues. In any case I am looking into a real spray booth with fan to draw spray to the outside. I have in the meantime at last found a handyman who an do just about anything with quality workmanship and at a reasonable cost, so am looking on Youtube for useful videos to show him what I want. I would be interested in knowing what others on eG have done on this topic and whether venting to the outside makes a significant difference. I assume it does, but so often things don't work out the way one expects. I have always thought there was no way I could cut a hole in the cement wall of the basement where I airbrush, but just today I noticed an obvious solution: There is a room AC in a window, and the unoccupied part of the window has pieces of wood fixed in place--lots of room for a vent. I just don't want to go through this if people haven't found it really useful. Dying is one thing, but to have the autopsy say something about multi-color lung disease is another.
  4. Yes, but don't you have to pay some attention to the chocolate, such as stirring it from time to time so that it doesn't become overtempered too quickly and so that the temp is constant throughout the bowl? And to @curls' point, indeed the round nature of the bowl is an issue. I have, through trial and error, found a method of dumping the contents of molds while holding them almost vertically over the bowl. Supposedly a chocolatier in western Canada was inventing something like the Rev machines but designed so that the whole bowl is available to be "dumped over." The real solution: Someone needs to invent a tempering machine with a square bowl. Sounds like a challenge for a "chocolate doctor"?
  5. I am also an owner of an EZtemper, but I would just add that while it can be used to temper chocolate, it does not deal with the issue of what to do with having a large amount of chocolate ready for making shells or dipping centers. For that, of course, one needs (on a large scale) a full setup such as a Selmi or (on a smaller scale) a large bowl and some method of keeping the chocolate within a temp range or a melter or a tempering machine. The advantage to me of a Rev machine is that, unlike the other smaller-scale methods, it automates the maintaining of the temp through many hours of making shells or dipping.
  6. If you mean praline paste from hazelnuts, I would guess that the paste would overwhelm the speculoos flavor. I think you need to add some chocolate, or the mixture will never firm up. One time I made my own "cookie butter," grinding up speculoos cookies and adding coconut oil. It was not pleasant tasting, and I had to keep adding more cookies. Now I have discovered jars of cookie butter (from the makers of speculoos cookies). I add milk chocolate in a 50-50 ratio, and it's delicious. I prefer the crunchy version of cookie butter for this.
  7. I've gone ahead with the production I had planned. I'm making an assortment of 9 flavors for the various sizes of boxes I offer and 4 flavors for decorated eggs. Orders are down by something approaching one half. One regular customer emailed to explain that he didn't want me to think he is one of those customers who order for a while, then just disappear. But he works in a field where close contact with clients is essential, so all work has ceased. I can easily freeze the boxes for future use (there is nothing Eastery about them); the eggs are a different story. I suppose I could use them to make myself a spectacular omelet for Easter breakfast. I'm guessing that some people, when Easter itself arrives, may feel more of an interest in getting chocolates. And there is always the argument that in Christian circles, the Easter season lasts 50 days, so there is even more time to feel the chocolate urge. As a last resort, these eggs would make very good approximations of Christmas ornaments.
  8. When you get the bug, there's no turning back. I know you work with AUI, which carries the delicious chocolates from Felchlin. Try some Maracaibo Clasificado. With your cake skills, you would be terrific at chocolatiering.
  9. You are a genius. But then, that's hardly news.
  10. That's it, but I'm not sure how that happened. I added the file as an attachment to an eG post, did not include that web link at all. Maybe the eG tech support people can explain this? When I include an image file in a post, the image itself shows up.
  11. I'm surprised the attachment shows up. When I click on it, it just goes to my computer to find the file. And under the name of the file here on eG, it says "Unavailable." When I have added other types of files (such as photos), they appear in the post. Maybe somebody can explain this. In any case, I'm glad you can see it. If you need to order the parts, the best place I found is Jerry Carter Air Tool (since Grex doesn't sell anything directly). I've been using my Grex quite a lot lately with smaller chocolate orders, and I really like it. As long as it's kept warm (I keep it in a dehydrator), it performs very well (and uses much, much less cocoa butter than the Fuji).
  12. I'll post a PDF diagram provided for me by Grex tech support. I'm not sure how well it will show up here. If it's not legible, let me know and I'll try something else. airbrush_setup_diagram.pdf Correction: The PDF did not post, but the diagram is available on my website. airbrush_setup_diagram.pdf
  13. I'm not Bentley, but I have a 2HP compressor. A more powerful one would have made it easier, but my compressor always managed to produce a supply of air for the HVLP gun. The issue was that it had to keep running almost all of the time.
  14. When your skin turns orange, you will know you have a Vitamin C overdose. What's the opposite of scurvy?
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