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Jim D.

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Everything posted by Jim D.

  1. I guess I don't yet have your skill (or your equipment). The problem occurs more in the second scraping--that is, after the mold is filled, tapped, turned upside down, emptied, then turned right side up. By then the chocolate has begun to harden and the mess tends to occur. That procedure certainly takes more than a few seconds.
  2. With dark choc., the test firms up in ca. 2 minutes (starts to look "right" in about a minute, getting that matte look as opposed to untempered, which stays shiny and liquid); with milk, it takes several minutes, maybe as much as 4-5. In your procedure, about how long does it take before your choc. gets too thick to work with? I realize that you are undoubtedly much quicker than I am. I have to reach a balance between continuing to clean off the mold on one hand and, on the other hand, having the choc. get thick enough to become a hindrance to further cleaning (in other words, it makes more
  3. Most of the time I am using a Chocovison machine for tempering. I followed Peter Greweling's suggestion for adding cocoa butter to thin out chocolate that is too viscous--so I don't think the mere addition of cocoa butter should make the choc. tend toward overcrystallization. The machine calls for putting in the seed choc. after all the choc. has melted; it lowers the temp. to 90 degrees F., then tells you to take out the seed, then continues to lower the temp depending on the type of choc. I would estimate that only a few ounces of seed melt. The machine allows for the possibility of rais
  4. Pastrygirl, Thanks for the encouragement. Since I promised my sister three different chocolates for her party next week, I have no choice but to press on. And if there is an undertaking that brings out one's OCD tendencies more than chocolatiering, I don't want to know what it is. I guess what bothers me the most is that when something unusual happens with chocolate, you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is some reason for it, but there are so many variables and so many unknowns that it is sometimes impossible to figure it out. I have done a lot of computer programming, and in t
  5. Chris, Thanks for all your suggestions. I appreciated the insight that adding cocoa butter might be causing my chocolate to thicken sooner. I just watched the video of Greweling making rabbits. Unless it was a video timing trick, he seems to be using the same bowl of quite fluid chocolate the whole time. Mine starts thickening as soon as it hits the mold, sticking to the scraper immediately. Maybe I should return to using the Callebaut without adding cocoa butter to see what happens. But I am getting very nice and thin shells at present. I do work on one mold at a time, but your idea abo
  6. Yes, I have read about that argument over whether or not to wash. I must confess that I can't yet clean enough of the chocolate off (in the process of making the chocolates) and must wash them. I use hot water, usually no soap. I did plan to try a version of what you describe, however, the next time I do some work, namely, "greasing" the molds with a little melted cocoa butter. A number of people recommend this. Just to make the whole situation more ridiculous: Today I unmolded some plain chocolates (no decoration, but a fairly intricate mold), and they came out without a hitch. As far
  7. Thanks for the perpendicular suggestion. I think that may help. Could you estimate how clean your molds are when you finish scraping? I've seen videos where the molds are almost as clean as they were before use (as in: ), others where there is some thin covering of chocolate.
  8. Thanks for those tips. I knew you would have some good ideas. Responses to the two paragraphs above: So you put the molds with the choc. shells in the refrigerator before you fill them? I had thought that shells and filling were supposed to be at room temp. Greweling even calls for warming the shells a bit before filling them--so that the bottoms will stick to the sides, he says. For the cocoa butter: Using the microwave I partially melted the CB in the plastic bottle, then shook it (as many people advise), then poured out the melted portion into a small plastic cup, which I use to store
  9. Thanks you very much for that information. It really helps.
  10. I am a beginner at molding chocolates (have made about 10 batches) and have some questions on technique. I realize that practice is required, and I think I am getting a bit better at the process, but am still having some issues and so seeking advice from those with more experience. I apologize for the length of the questions and will appreciate any help at this busy time of year for confectioners. I find cleaning off the mold (both when initially filling the mold and especially when capping the chocolates) a problem. I have a long flat spatula as well as a broad scraper (a drywall tool actu
  11. I have been using some recipes in Ewald Notter's book and have come across a puzzle. In two recipes (key lime pralines, page 178, and mint pralines, page 186) he uses what he calls a "cracker," more like a cookie, made of chocolate and feuilletine, which eventually becomes the base of the praline. This part of both recipes calls for chocolate, cocoa butter, feuilletine (or corn flakes as a substitute), and butter. But he never mentions adding the butter. Instead he calls for adding the cocoa butter twice. I would assume the second mention is meant to be the butter, but at that point in the
  12. Thanks. That sounds delicious. I like raspberry and kirsch together very much. I see that you use both fondant and chocolate.
  13. I just tried some lemon juice in the pear fondant. It improved things, but more of it, and the mixture starts tasting of lemon. When you have some time, could you let me know some of the fondant fillings you use? Greweling has a mint one that looks interesting, but not too much else.
  14. I thought I would provide an update on today's experiments: I made the Greweling pear ganache with white chocolate. The pear flavor comes through much better, but it is still weak. So my next thought is to decrease the amount of chocolate and add an equivalent amount of butter (which this recipe does not include at all), on the theory that both choc. and butter will cause the ganache to thicken, but butter has a much more neutral flavor. I also plan to increase the amounts of pear purée and eau-de-vie slightly. The other plan was to try fondant, so I made some fondant (Greweling recipe).
  15. Do you know where I might find the Geerts book? Amazon says it is out of print, and I could find no other reference to it.
  16. I was thinking of using white chocolate. Today I tried a Greweling recipe for pear ganache (had a container of pear purée and a bottle of pear eau-de-vie); the chocolate was milk. There was absolutely no hint of a pear flavor in the final product. I will give it a try with white choc.--I didn't buy the purée and the brandy to have them disappear. How do you think this would work with fondant?
  17. I am fairly new to chocolate work and have been spending a lot of time looking at possible fillings. I have Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, Shotts's Making Artisan Chocolates, and Notter's The Art of the Chocolatier, have made a list of all the fillings that seem interesting, and have now experimented with some of them. Obviously ganache is the standard type of filling, and some of the options have been delicious (Greweling's pumpkin caramel is the winner so far). But I am feeling some limitations of the medium--the chocolate, especially if it is milk or dark, tends to overwhelm the
  18. Thanks very much for that information. You do appear to know just about everything--at least in the realm of chocolate! I do plan to get both a regular dome and a flattened one. It appears that the simpler molds are much better for decorating than the otherwise more interesting ones. Jim
  19. Thanks for that info. The problem is that when I contacted Tomric today with a rather long list of the molds in which I am interested, they did not have a single one of them in stock. Unfortunately I need these for Christmas, so their 3-4 week delivery time won't work. Among other molds, I am looking for a simple dome, and it's surprising how difficult it is to find. Prince doesn't carry one at all (just a flattened dome). I found one at Chef Rubber, but they don't say if their molds are polycarbonate or not, so I have inquired about that. Jim
  20. I was concerned about how to tell the difference in the types of molds carried by Tomric, but I just learned from Lois in their office that all the ones with an "I" in the item number are imported polycarbonate ones. So they have a huge selection. The 3-4 week availability applies to the molds they don't happen to have in stock, so they really shouldn't say all the molds take that long to arrive. But it is a big advantage that they provide the volume/weight of the individual cavity, something that J.B. Prince does not. Thank you for your help in this process. Jim
  21. Kerry, In trying to determine the size of molds I want, I was browsing through the "Chocolates with that showroom finish" thread and came across some of your chocolates (page 14). If you have the time, could you let me know what molds you used for those? That would give me an idea of what I am looking for. Thanks.
  22. I was once again looking through the "Chocolates with that showroom finish" thread and came across some of your chocolates (page 19). If you have the time, could you let me know what molds you used for those? That would give me an idea of what I am looking for. Thanks.
  23. I am in Staunton, Virginia (moved back to the family home after 50 years in Boston--so quite an adjustment). After renovating the house, I needed something to do, thus chocolate. Welcome Jim D.! Staunton seems like a wonderful area; I went to their Hot Glass Festival this year; great glassblowing studio and gallery. I was at that festival also, took some Boston visitors to it (one of them bought some beautiful and huge blown martini glasses). I hated this town when I was growing up; it has recently acquired cachet--there is even a chocolate shop here (is that the ultimate sign that a commu
  24. I am in Staunton, Virginia (moved back to the family home after 50 years in Boston--so quite an adjustment). After renovating the house, I needed something to do, thus chocolate.
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