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Jim D.

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Everything posted by Jim D.

  1. That's what I was guessing since (as I said) they mostly conform to the "fleur" theme. You are bolder than I am about asking them, so I thank you.
  2. On reading Greweling more closely, I found: "The shelf life clock effectively stops when the confections are frozen." Then later: "Freezing confections greatly slows, but does not stop, the deterioration of quality." I'm not sure those statements can be reconciled. The decision has to be yours, of course, but I would probably use the frozen truffles in a situation where they would be consumed fairly soon--if that is possible, given the impossibility (discussed previously in various threads) of controlling consumer behavior. A temperature between -12 and -18F is really low, as is the Aw reading.
  3. Greweling says that vacuum-sealed chocolates can be kept frozen for 4 months without loss of quality. You have a very low temp in your freezer, so that should help. Depending on what the ingredients are, you might stretch that some, but a year might be too much. I can't imagine there is anything harmful about them, but there is the quality issue.
  4. The Fuji has many great qualities--speed being the best from my point of view--but if you think your LVLP gun had overspray, I suspect the Fuji puts that to shame. I am using a lot of cocoa butter. I'm not sure if there is something I can do about that. I tried lowering the amount of "paint" coming into the gun with the knob at the back (I think all spray guns have this), but it didn't help. I tried lowering the air pressure (the adjustment at the bottom of the gun), and that produced too much "orange peel" effect. I am going to continue my research on this subject after Christmas, watching all the Fuji videos I can find. Surely in actually painting with a Fuji, there are occasions when the painter wants less paint coming out of the gun. I just don't know how that is accomplished. Fuji could really improve their outreach to chocolatiers; I suppose there just isn't enough business in that field.
  5. This is not the main point of your post, but how do you know your cream ganaches last only a week or two? And under what conditons/temperature? That is a very short period of time.
  6. I do not use the filter in the mini-HVLP gun I have. With cocoa butter, you need as few obstacles to the flow of the material as possible. From time to time, as the cocoa butter crystallizes, you will need to warm up the gun and cocoa butter in the cup (using a heat gun is the easiest way).
  7. Just for the record: here is where gfron1's comment on matcha can be found.
  8. Take a look at this thread, which includes my adaptation of the strawberry marshmallow recipe posted previously on eGullet. Keeping it pipeable depends on temperatures and the time you beat the marshmallow before piping it. If you beat it to the regular consistency for standalone marshmallow, you will go crazy trying to get it into a pastry bag. A recent trick I have learned to get the temperature down to the point that the marshmallow can be piped without melting the chocolate shell (and keep it from getting too thick as you wait for it to cool) is to put some ice in a bag and hold it against the side of the stand mixer as you beat the marshmallow. All that being said, piping marshmallow into a chocolate shell is a messy job.
  9. How true. Just outside the city where I live is one of the largest Hershey factories in the U.S. The big excitement is that they are going to start making Reese's Cups there! I recently raised my prices to the point where they almost cover my expenses, and, as I predicted but knowledgeable customers assured me would not happen, sales have diminished.
  10. I guess I assumed they would not wish to reveal their source. As I think more about those particular transfers, I'm wondering if they have them custom made. It's obvious they are applied to dipped chocolates, not used in magnetic molds, and each is 1" x 1". The fact that the shop is named Fleurir might explain why most of them have a flower motif and could argue for custom transfers. I was struck by the self-confident statement on the guide to the flavors enclosed in the box: "probably the most delicious box of chocolates you have ever eaten." They did make the New York Times list as creating one of the "10 best American small-batch, chocolate-covered salted caramels" in the USA (obviously the Times didn't sample Seattle's best )
  11. I find that using magnetic molds with transfer sheets is a useful shortcut to supplement other more time-consuming bonbon decorations when dealing with what are for me large numbers of Christmas chocolate orders (certainly faster than getting out the airbrush equipment and tempering cocoa butters). But finding decent transfers is another matter. Many of them have beautiful colors (such as red) which turn brown when placed on anything but white chocolate (never mind the fact that the online photos from the vendors show a vibrant red atop dark chocolate). Many of the designs are too large (that is, the "repeat" of the pattern is too high and so you end up with a snippet of the design on each chocolate). Someone just gave me a small box of chocolates from a shop in northern Virginia that are, IMHO, strikingly beautiful (I ate one of the pieces before I decided to try finding the transfer sheets used). Has anyone seen any transfers like this:
  12. I am not sure, but I think @gfron1 posted on the subject of matcha (perhaps in this thread) saying that he had found the amount that would be palatable (maybe "tolerable" is a better word).
  13. The only time I use a heat gun on a mold is to run it over the tops of filled caramels as I prepare to seal them. I'm not at all sure this does any good at stopping caramel leakage, but now it's become a superstition. The theory, of course, is that it slightly melts the edges of the shell to make it adhere better to the chocolate that's about to be ladled over it. I did, however, see a worker at The Chocolate Lab in Alberta, Canada, heating the tops of all molds before capping them.
  14. The BBQ mitts are just too thick to have any dexterity at all. I know I don't need much since I am just stirring, but the hand gets very tired from the effort of holding the spoon and stirring, esp. since the gloves make it difficult to grasp the spoon. I have others intended for BBQ called Pit Mitts, and they are thinner, thus allowing for more dexterity, but they have some sort of fiber on the outside that I feared might come off and drop in the caramel/raspberry purée. I need to check on the gloves Chocolot mentioned previously and make sure they don't have such fibers. I'll also look into what minas6907 described--perhaps using the gloves he recommends will also confer his confectionery skill and artistry on me?
  15. I am seeking gloves that are good as protection in working with sugar and, more precisely, caramel. In doing a search, I assumed there would be something called "sugar gloves" or some such name, but the only specific ones I located appear to be discontinued. I am preparing once again to make Wybauw's banana and passion fruit caramel, and I am tired of getting burned when the liquid in the fruits starts spattering. It also happens when I am reducing raspberry purée. I have heavy, thick BBQ mitts, but they make it quite difficult to work for very long. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
  16. About the Dubovik course: If you look back through this thread, you will see examples of what we learned in the course, and perhaps that would help determine whether you would find the course useful. None of us on eGullet really mastered the famous "eye" technique, but some came close (closer than I did, sad to say), and there have been explanations and Instagram videos on eG since then on how it can be done. It's still very time-consuming (definitely not to be tried during the runup to Christmas!). Another thought about the course: It is not required that students submit photos of their work; it is possible to watch the demos, work at one's own pace, and not be concerned with taking dazzling photos. The only part that will be missing is the certificate given at the conclusion.
  17. Did you intend to link to a source for the tape?
  18. In the responses you have received so far you can see how widely opinions differ on your question--35C, 30C. Some people think cocoa butter gets tempered as it is airbrushed; others insist it must be in temper first. I go for 30C (86F) and test it for temper before using it. That said, however, it is very difficult to keep cocoa butter in the temper range during use. It seems to be forgiving in regard to temperature, but you will know when it has stopped being forgiving when it sticks to your mold. Always make a few extra bonbons to allow for cocoa butter's fickle side.
  19. Sorry, I don't have formulas. I just experiment. I have discovered that the mixing of cocoa butter colors is unpredictable, and when I keep adding one color, then another, I end up with brown. Mostly I buy the already-mixed colors (such as purple). With purple in particular, I should add that mostly it turns out looking too much like chocolate--so what's the point? The Chef Rubber amethyst is the best purple I have found so far. I share your fear of wasting too much money with too much cocoa butter (those $19.95 bottles go entirely too quickly). But when I tried mixing my own, I didn't see a lot of difference in cost between the powder and the already-mixed colors--and mixing the colors is a lot of trouble!
  20. For eggnog I use Peter Greweling's recipe calling for nutmeg and dark rum in a white chocolate and butter ganache. If you have his book, he also has a gingerbread ganache that I like a lot and make for Christmas. In the U.S. at least, pumpkin is also a holiday flavor, and he has a pumpkin ganache. In addition to those, I make a ganache with fig, anise, and port and a similar one, based on a Jean-Pierre Wybauw recipe, with dried plums (alias prunes) and port--sort of a plum pudding.
  21. If you add white (or just titanium) to get opacity, you are (of course) going to make the color pale. It shouldn't, however, be gray unless you have mixed colors that end up being a sort of brown/gray color. For colors that do not already contain titanium (such as red), the only way I know of to get a bright color and still have opacity is to use the straight color in the mold, then airbrush with white; it's a nuisance, but there aren't any shortcuts if you are molding the chocolates in dark or milk. Companies that make transfer sheets often display a beautiful bright red design on a dark chocolate, but in real life that won't happen--the red will become brownish. IMHO, this is really a kind of false advertising. As for getting translucent colors: I use purchased colored cocoa butter and add additional cocoa butter. If you are mixing your own colors, add more cocoa butter to your proportions (I don't know of any strict proportions--just keep adding cocoa butter until the mixture thins out some). I am continuing to learn the importance of having translucent colors when making a layered effect. For example, I was trying to get a mix of red and green in a mold which would eventually contain pistachio and cherry, but if you use regular red (without any effort to make it translucent), it will block out the green and the final effect will not be what you might have in mind--there won't be any blending of the two colors. So it's worth experimenting to get translucence.
  22. Thanks for the link. Do you have a brand you would recommend? The prices suggest these blenders are indeed heavy-duty appliances--or at least should be.
  23. @Bentley, I've been waiting to post regarding your technique of using an immersion blender to add the butter at the end of making a caramel as a way of avoiding the issue of having the butter separate out. I wanted to make sure I had given this idea a fair test. So now I am writing to thank you for this suggestion. I have used a blender for every caramel I have made since then, and so far there has been no more separation of butter. It helped to think of adding the butter as similar to making a ganache, adding fat to the caramel, which does have some fat in it but is basically a liquid. My only concern is how robust my blender will prove to be since the caramel thickens as time passes. Maybe I need to look for an industrial stick blender if there is such a thing. Thank you very much for this suggestion.
  24. @spennie, I'm glad you posted again about the Fuji because I have been thinking about how useful it would be to have a central place where Fuji users could exchange information, ask questions, etc. My impression is that there aren't many of us on eGullet, but there are at least a few. I thought about starting a separate topic but don't think there would be enough traffic. Perhaps we should enlarge the potential participants to all who use HVLP guns to spray cocoa butter. So if you are interested, let's do it here. I am confident that you will have many questions. I know I still do after using the Fuji for over a year, and new things keep coming up. One issue is that with the Fuji you will use a lot more cocoa butter. That's just the nature of an HVLP gun. I keep trying to find ways to cut down on the flow. I have learned that with Chef Rubber's metallic colors, which are very thick, it helps to add some plain cocoa butter. Yesterday I decided I would go back to my airbrush for a job, but after a long period of heating and reheating the airbrush and still getting very low flow, I brought out the Fuji and did the job in a couple of minutes.
  25. Go to HVLPTek. The remote is part #3072, wireless remote. As I said previously, this site has great customer service and can answer any question about the Fuji, including using it with cocoa butter.
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