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Jim D.

society donor
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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. I must confess I had to look up what a "cl" is and discovered it that is less than 1/3 of a fluid ounce. That's practically nothing. I am quite surprised that so little cocoa butter works. But I imagine that cleaning out the container is quite a job--compared to the little cup on an airbrush. Is there some setting on the HVLP itself for lowering the pressure and/or doing splatter, or was this just experimentation on your part? I don't think manufacturers of HVLPs probably foresaw this use of their product!
  2. Thanks for that intriguing idea. So he dipped the head of the airbrush into the CCB? Did you see if he lowered the pressure? I'm glad you mentioned Savour because it reminds me that I am going to sign up for the videos when I have some free time in the near future. Do you think this video is part of the Savour online courses?
  3. @Rajala, and @julie99nl: Do you have a link to a photo of the type of HVLP gun you have? I began a look on the Wagner site but was overwhelmed by the selection. They mostly appear to be the siphon type.
  4. Good point. So the HVLP does not have a needle? I'll see if I can find one that has a paint container with a small capacity--perhaps a wild goose chase?
  5. I already have a 0.7mm nozzle on the Grex (the largest they make).
  6. Thanks for that information. I don't see any reason why my Grex airbrush (or any airbrush, for that matter) can't do the same. I have a pressure regulator installed between the hose from the compressor and the airbrush itself, so changing the pressure is easy. I will have to try again. I tried the spraying with a wooden stick or spatula between the brush and the mold to create splatter, but it is erratic (I have seen it done successfully in person, so I know it's just a matter of technique). I think the drop-cocoa-butter-from-the-bottle-and-spray-it-into-the-mold technique would be something that would take (for me) a lot of practice. Sad to confess, but the best I have done so far has been with a toothbrush.
  7. I just read through this entire thread. You said you got an HVLP paint gun and also mentioned at one point that you had ordered an airbrush, but never said what brand it was. I bring this up because I am wondering whether you used the HVLP gun or the airbrush for the splatter. I have seen the Fuji in action, and it does splatter quite well. But most (if not all) paint guns have a rather large container for the paint. The ones I have seen would take a great deal of cocoa butter just to have enough to cover the bottom of the container. That is what kept me from buying one. So if you used the paint gun for the splatter, could you describe what amount of c.b. you used for the job? If you used an airbrush, I would love to know how you made it splatter. I am finding with my new Grex gravity-feed airbrush, I am using much more c.b. than I did with the siphon-style Paasche airbrush I used formerly. I can't quite imagine using a paint gun for just a few molds, considering how much c.b. it requires and how difficult it must be to clean out the container.
  8. How did you get the nice even splatter on those molds?
  9. Favorite white chocolate

    Thanks, @paulraphael, for the link to the very helpful article. @Pastrypastmidnight, I don't know where you live, so can't say much about where to buy chocolate. My impression, though I don't know for sure, is that the manufacturers don't sell directly to customers. In the U.S., Chocosphere has an extraordinary selection; they sell both retail as well as wholesale to businesses (that's where I got the prices I mentioned). They also repackage many chocolates so as to sell them in smaller quantities. If you are a business, you have many other options for wholesale purchases, but these are often regional companies that sometimes require large purchases.
  10. Favorite white chocolate

    If El Rey Icoa is the chocolate I think it is, then I tasted it and hated it, so you will have to take the rest of what I write in that light. I tend not to like whites that try for a chocolatey taste because I think they taste like washed-out milk chocolate. Obviously a "favorite" white chocolate is a matter of very personal taste. My favorite white, without any question, is Valrhona Opalys; second choice is probably Cacao Barry Zephyr. Both are less sweet than many other whites. Besides the usual dairy and vanilla flavors one expects, it seems to me (again, very personal taste) that Opalys has a hint of something citrus. I know this is unlikely to be true, but whatever it is, I think it gives Opalys a taste beyond just cocoa butter + dairy (the norm). I use Opalys for molding and for making ganaches. As for how it handles, well, that is a different story. It is very challenging to use for molding. After it is in temper, it starts off rather thin. You have to look carefully at any shells to make sure they are not too thin (and sometimes fill them again). After about the fourth or fifth mold, however, Opalys thickens rather suddenly. The clue is that after scraping the top of the mold, the edges of some cavities fall inward, forming a too-thick shell. To make sure I wasn't just incompetent, I took some Opalys to the 2017 chocolate workshop, and Kerry Beal tempered it. It behaved exactly the same way, and was so thick at the end that it was almost solidified (I suspect those standing around must have thought I was insane to use such a chocolate). Previously Kerry had asked the people at Valrhona about my difficulties with Opalys, and, to my relief, they confirmed that it could be a problematic product. But the good news is that Opalys can be tamed: If I am doing more than 4-5 molds, I have a second amount set aside, initially raised to a high enough temperature that it cannot be in temper and then held around 90F. When the over-crystallizing begins, I stop and pour in some of the extra Opalys; if I have been successful, the chocolate returns to a usable state. Why go through all this? Because I think it tastes that good (for a white chocolate, of course). If you think Icoa is expensive, however, then I'm afraid you will find Opalys astronomical (about $72 for 3-kilo bag wholesale, about $96 retail). As for Cacao Barry's Zephyr, it costs about $83 for 5 kilos (dramatically lower, I would say), and I think it tastes almost as good as Opalys. I have tasted some other whites, including new ones Valrhona has released, but did not care for any of them. I thought the Callebaut W2 was much too sweet. Probably more information than you wanted, but finding a good white has been a goal of mine.
  11. I just made some of Kerry's strawberry butter cream. I sometimes make raspberry. In both of those I substitute some plain cocoa butter for part of the white chocolate, allowing more fruit flavor to come through. When making a non-fruit one, I have found that it takes too much whiskey to give any flavor, so use dark rum. I also make a creme brûlée filling, adding a layer of crushed caramel below the vanilla-flavored butter cream--for reasons that mostly escape me, people love it. So I use Kerry's basic recipe rather often. The problem is getting enough flavor without making the filling too thin to set up.
  12. No, I haven't used fruit powder. Might make a difference. By the way, I find that even vanilla fades somewhat--even though I use a lot of it to mask the unpleasant flavor of the gelatin. Another possibility is to add concentrated flavoring. Amoretti has some natural ones. I have tasted the pineapple and mango, and they are delicious and powerful. As for blueberry, after making my own purée and concentrating it to make a ganache for chocolates, I eventually gave up because the flavor was too muted to be recognizable.
  13. Beautiful job of making and dipping the marshmallows. I have had the same experience with the flavored marshmallows. The strawberry ones (nightscotsman's recipe) retained a little strawberry flavor, but only a little. Passion fruit ones (I think of passion fruit as a very assertive flavor that overpowers almost anything else) lost all taste of the fruit after a few days.
  14. Chocosphere has Abinao in 1 and 3 Kg bags. In looking for it, I see that they now have the new Valrhona "Inspirations" that you pointed out a while back.
  15. Another try proved more successful (one on the left, stripe left clear; on the right; red cocoa butter, which unfortunately does not show up well in a photo): The photo shows more imperfections than there actually are, so I think these would be usable. The difference between these tries and the preceding one was that I did not let the c.b. dry completely, just until it was set and no longer runny. The problem is with doing these in any substantial numbers. I would have to airbrush one mold (tape in place), wait just the right amount of time for the c.b. to begin to crystallize, remove the tape, then do the same with the next mold. If others have had success with letting the c.b. dry completely before removing the tape, I would love to hear about it and know what you did differently.